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City Manager Taps Manley For Permanent Police Chief Gig; Council To Vote Thursday

Gabriel C. Pérez
Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley gives an undate on the bombing investigation alongside other law enforcment officials in March. At left is City Manager Spencer Cronk.

After roughly a month of collecting public feedback, City Manager Spencer Cronk has nominated interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley to head the department permanently. The appointment requires a City Council vote; members are scheduled to discuss it Thursday.

“[M]any of the residents provided positive feedback regarding Chief Manley’s character as an honest and trustworthy leader who effectively led the department through this interim period and noted his outstanding leadership in responding to the Austin bombings,” Cronk wrote in a memo Friday to the mayor and council members.

In his memo, Cronk said Manley had agreed to focus the department on four areas: safety, community policing and transparency, staffing, training, and equity and inclusion. All assistant chiefs and commanders would be required to attend training on recognizing racism and bias. In addition, Manley agreed to improve data collection.

“I am confident Brian Manley will meet my performance expectations in these critical areas,” Cronk said.

In April, Cronk announced that Manley was the sole finalist in the hunt for a permanent chief – but said he still reserved the right to open a national search for more candidates. Manley has served as temporary lead of the department since former Police Chief Art Acevedo left in November 2016 to lead the Houston Police Department.

“I am both honored and humbled to have this opportunity before me," Manley, who has been with the APD for nearly 30 years, said at the time. "To have been able to serve in this role for the past 17 months has been my greatest honor.”

The city hosted two public forums to gather input on the decision. According to a third-party analysis of the engagement process, roughly 275 people attended these forums and 347 people filled out an online survey. Six people who responded online raised concerns with Manley, including a lack of transparency from the department during the serial bombings. Several criminal justice advocates raised similar concerns.

Correction: An earlier version of this story left off the fifth area of policing Manley agreed to focus on.

Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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