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Austin Police Chief Brian Manley Wants Department To Be 'Trusted And Respected By All'

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Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
/
KUT
Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley speaks during a March 29 forum hosted by KUT about the serial bombings and how communities of color are treated in Austin.

Brian Manley is now officially the chief of police in Austin, after serving as interim chief for more than a year and a half. He says he believes he is the right guy for the job, though he admits there is challenging work to do in repairing relationships with some communities here.

Manley has been with the department since 1990. He grew up in Austin, graduated from Johnston High School and then UT Austin.

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Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT
Manley speaks to reporters near the scene of a fatal package bombing in East Austin on March 12.

Manley says he knew he wanted the chief's job as soon as he was appointed interim chief, but he didn't want to introduce a revised vision statement for the department in case someone else got the nod.

"We want a department that is trusted and respected by all and that collaborates with our community to make Austin the safety city in America," he told a community forum ahead of his appointment.

So, how is he going to do that?

Manley says "they only way we're going to get trust and respect is through the relationship building that we're working on and ensuring that our practices are procedurally just."

He says he is aware of concerns raised before and during the vetting process by activists and people of color in Austin regarding how APD treats citizens.

"There were concerns that were voiced by members of the community and members of the activist community," Manley says, "on either disparities in policing and the outcomes of the actions that we take as well as just the culture of the department."

He says department will continue to engage with members of the community "to make sure that changes that we may consider implementing will address the concerns that they brought forward."

KUT talked with Chief Manley recently about the challenges, satisfactions and "awesome responsibility" of serving as Austin's chief of police:

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