AUSTIN (KXAN) — After hours of intense questioning from Austin City Council members and a late-night vote, Joseph Chacon is now Austin’s new police chief.
“Thank you for trusting me to do this job and I promise I will not let you down,” Chacon said as he stepped away from the podium, shook the hands of officers celebrating his promotion and mouthed, “Wow!” after the questions were over.
“I’m just excited. I’m excited for this great opportunity to lead an amazing department like the Austin Police Department, and to continue to serve this community that I’ve been serving for over 20 years,” he said to a KXAN crew at Austin City Hall.
Mayor Steve Adler congratulated Chacon, saying the chief has reaffirmed his commitment to keeping the city and public safe. Council member Greg Casar said he will continue to hold Chacon accountable to the commitments he’s made so far.
The only two city council members voting against Chacon’s appointment were Alison Alter and Mackenzie Kelly. Critics also included the Austin Police Association, who in a survey indicated Chacon was not its first pick for the job.
“You know, I think that our officers are very frustrated right now,” Chacon said, recognizing some people may not like the internal hire. “I may not be the fresh face, but I bring fresh perspectives to the job.”
Chacon acknowledges morale is low in the department and said that’s because of a staffing shortage.
“It’s really tough to be a police officer, we have some really tough staffing issues,’ he said. “So, I think the way we have to turn that around is by increasing the staffing once again, by finding better ways to have our officers spend their time by continuing to engage so that we can continue to raise that morale. That’s what I’m going to be working on going forward.”