Former Austin Chief of Police and current Houston Chief Art Acevedo tweeted his support Wednesday for APD Interim Chief Brian Manley to become the next chief of the department. Hours later, an Austin city council member announced a measure for the council to approve his appointment if the city manager seeks that approval.
Manley has been interim chief since December 2016. He was named to the position when Acevedo departed for Houston.
The search for a new chief was delayed by the departure and search for a new city manager, the person who would search for and recommend a new police chief. The Austin City Council hired Spencer Cronk as the new city manager in December 2017.
Council Member Delia Garza wrote her thanks to Manley and other responding agencies and said she planned to write a resolution to approve his appointment and negotiate and approve a contract with the Austin Police Association.
Garza doesn’t want to look anywhere else for a better candidate. She says we already have the best person for the job.
“He’s a born and raised Austinite. How many times do we have the opportunity to find a born and raised Austinite,” Garza said of Manley.
Despite her call for action, the power for this decision is in Cronk’s hands.
“We’ve been waiting and waiting for the city manager to get up to speed on certain things. It is his appointment to make, but we to get to affirm it. I thought what better time than now,” Garza said.
City Manager Spencer Cronk told KXAN his decision could take weeks but he’s seen Manley’s leadership through the bombings.
“Throughout this incident, I’ve witnessed incredible leadership throughout our public safety departments. The trust and relationships they have with the community and our partner agencies is unquestionable. Our focus right now is on the important investigatory work that is continuing. I would expect that you will hear from me more on the status of my selection process in the coming weeks,” Cronk said in a statement.
If recommended, the city council would need to affirm the position. Six council members tell KXAN they will affirm him: Greg Casar, Kathie Tovo, Jimmy Flannigan, Ellen Troxclair, Delia Garza and Leslie Pool.
Council Member Anne Kitchen and Mayor Steve Adler say they’re big fans but wouldn’t commit. “I’ve always been a big fan of his,” said Adler.
Council Members Ora Houston and Pio Renteria have not returned requests for comment. Alter had no comment.
District Attorney Margaret Moore echoes what many in law enforcement are feeling after the bombings. “We really need him as chief. We need that to be made permanent,” said Moore.
Manley joined APD as a patrol officer in 1991. He served as a detective and sergeant in the Child Abuse Unit and spent time overseeing the traffic division. In 2012, Manley was promoted to Assistant Chief and went on to be appointed second-in-command in 2015.