AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon is stepping away from the Austin Police Department after 25 years with the department and two years serving as its leader.
The City of Austin said in a press release Chacon on Monday morning notified Interim City Manager Jesús Garza, the Mayor, Council, and his team at APD, of his intent to retire effective the first week of September of this year.
“Chief Chacon has certainly made an impressive mark on the City with his effort to move the police department in new directions,” said Interim City Manager Jesús Garza. “We will miss his leadership and dedication but are confident that the team he leaves behind will be able to further the great efforts he started.”
Chacon said working at APD has been “the privilege of my life. Being the Chief of Police is something that I never thought would have been possible, and it has been the pinnacle of my career,” he said.
Chacon posted a full statement on social media, saying he’s announcing his retirement “with a heavy heart.”
He added that he’s leaving the department on his own terms.
Mayor Kirk Watson said his office did not place any pressure on Chacon to leave the department.
“One of those situations when you lose a stable leader that, where there’s a level of disappointment,” the mayor said. “The truth of the matter is he’s been at it for 25 years and two years as chief, and he deserves retirement, and I wish him well.”
Thomas Villarreal, president of the Austin Police Association, said he had a good working relationship with Chacon, despite moments where they “had to agree to disagree.”
“I think it’s been a hard time to be the chief of police,” Villarreal added. “My hope would be that we can get someone to come in and do the job of working with city council to get done what we need to get done.”
Working at APD with you, the sworn and civilian men and women of this amazing department, has been the privilege of my life. Being the Chief of Police is something that I never thought would have been possible, and it has been the pinnacle of my career and an absolute honor to serve you. I know that all of you will continue on this journey, and will make the city proud in your service. Please hold your heads up, keep fighting the good fight, and honor the profession by keeping the citizens of this city safe. Thank you for making this department look so good through your tireless and selfless service, and for making this one of the safest big cities in the country.Joseph Chacon
APD Chief of Staff Robin Henderson will step in as Interim Police Chief effective the first week of September until a search for a permanent chief is completed, according to the city.
Chacon has agreed to stay on to assist with the transition efforts over the next few weeks.
“I really appreciate Chief Chacon’s willingness to assist during this transition period to help set Interim Chief Henderson up for success while also allowing her the opportunity to choose her own leadership team,” said Garza. “She is passionate about public service, being a servant leader and mentor, and making a positive impact within the Department and the Austin community, which I know she will make evident during her service in this new role.”
According to the city, Chacon’s accomplishments as APD’s leader include the following:
- Implementation of the policy to provide a 10-day release on critical incident video.
- The rejoining of the Sexual Assault Response and Resource Team (SARRT) / Enhancements to the Sexual Assault Investigations Unit.
- Revision of Special Response Team protocols for crowd control, including the prohibition of the use of less lethal shotguns.
- Oversight of implementing the training paradigm shift at APD Training Academy, incorporating many facets, including:
- Adult Learning Theory
- Full implementation of updated Integrating Communication and Tactics (ICAT) Training
- Implementation of Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) training
- A focus on Resilience and Wellness
- The Addition of courses focused on Racial Equity, De-escalation, History of Race and Policing in Austin.
- The ongoing work with Joyce James Consulting regarding awareness and ultimate elimination of Institutional and Structural Racism.