City Manager lays out plan to involve the community at every stage.
The process for hiring a new Austin Chief of Police begins immediately and will involve extensive engagement with the community, Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk announced today.
Cronk set out the next steps of the search to fill this critical and transformative position in a memo to Mayor and Council.
“The role of Police Chief is incredibly important not just to the City organization, but to our community as a whole,” said Cronk. “I hope through this process that we collectively find the ideal candidate – one who collaborates with our community, instills trust in the workforce, works to achieve results from established Council policy, creates a culture of improvement and accountability, and is willing and able to lead the department in ways that lead to equitable public safety outcomes for all.”
The City Manager is determined that the search will be a transparent and inclusive process and rely heavily on extensive engagement with the community as well as with the City’s leadership, and the employees of the police department.
“My goal throughout is to ensure our residents are heard in who they want to see lead our police department,” Cronk said.
That process starts today. Community members may share their thoughts and ideas about the Police Chief search by visiting www.speakupaustin.org/YourNextPoliceChief, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or contacting Austin 3-1-1.
To lead the recruitment process, the City has brought in national executive search firm Ralph Andersen & Associates, which has assisted 35 other cities in hiring their Police Chiefs across the country since 2016.
The process to find Austin’s next Chief of Police will consist of three phases:
Phase I: Project Management & Candidate Profile Developed (March/April)
Creation of a candidate profile, the guiding document for the search, detailing desired attributes in candidates and challenges and opportunities for the next Chief.
Input gathered from virtual open meetings with the community and meetings with representatives of the many diverse communities and interests in Austin, including City leadership and employees across the police department.
Phase II: Outreach and Recruiting (April/May/June)
Input taken from the broader Austin community through a community survey, with the results informing next steps.
Search firm to conduct extensive recruiting and outreach across the nation and, where applicable, beyond, before evaluating candidates, conducting preliminary research, and making recommendations.
Phase III: Selection (July/August)
Top candidates interviewed by panels including community, City leadership, and police department viewpoints.
Finalists to participate in further interviews and meetings to introduce them to the Austin community, with feedback aiding the final selection.
Final vetting and selection of the top candidate.
The City Manager recognizes that the recruitment process comes at a critical time for the community and the Austin Police Department, as the City, Council and community work together to reimagine public safety and implement policy and cultural changes to address the disproportionate impact of police violence on people of color and other affected communities.
“While change can be difficult and uncomfortable, it also brings opportunity. Like so many communities across the nation, we have heard our community call for transformational change in the area of public safety,” said Cronk. “The Reimagining Public Safety process, budget decoupling and department restructuring and, most recently, the announcement of Chief Brian Manley’s retirement, provide a unique opportunity to work with our community to bring new leadership that aligns with our values and our commitment to equity and community engagement.”
He added: “I am looking forward to engaging with all of you to ensure our next Police Chief will align with our collective vision for public safety and will be instrumental in leading us through, and taking us beyond, the transformational change we have already embarked on with community.”
Following the retirement of Chief Manley, Cronk has chosen Assistant Chief Joseph Chacon to serve as Interim Police Chief while the process to find a Police Chief gets underway. Assistant Chief Chacon, who will assume that role following Council confirmation, began his career with APD in 1998 and served in various assignments including Director of the Austin Regional Intelligence Center, Investigations Bureau Chief, and Headquarters Bureau Chief. He currently serves as the Central Bureau Chief, which oversees the Downtown Area Command; Special Events, Parks and Lakes; and Special Operations.