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Crime & Justice

At Least Three Dozen Candidates Seek To Be Austin's Next Police Chief, Officials Say

Two Austin police patrol cars.
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
At least three dozen people have applied to be Austin's next police chief, city officials said Monday.

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At least 36 people have applied to be Austin’s next police chief, officials said Monday during a meeting of the city’s Public Safety Commission.

Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano told the commission he expects to have two to three finalists by late July or early August.

Arellano said he did not know whether any of the three dozen candidates are internal.

Former Austin Police Chief Brian Manley announced he was stepping down from the top police job in February. At the time, City Manager Spencer Cronk said he would immediately start the search for a new chief and promised to have final candidates by the end of the summer.

Joseph Chacon is currently serving as the city’s interim police chief.

The city’s next police chief will inherit a department whose role in the community has been under scrutiny by City Council members and residents. Some activists for racial justice called Manley a barrier to change within a department that has been accused of undue violence and racism. Some council members felt he was too slow to implement their progressive policy directions.

“We really want somebody that’s adept to change, excited for change, maybe even has experience with change,” Commissioner Nelly Paulina Ramirez said Monday.

Classes for Austin police cadets restarted this week after a pause to make changes to police training. Some of those changes include 30 more hours of community engagement training and a new class on the history of police and race in America.

The City Council's decision to pause cadet training came in 2019 after the city received complaints of alleged racism, sexism and intimidation within the department.

Got a tip? Email Audrey McGlinchy at audrey@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.

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