AUSTIN (KXAN) — The man picked to lead the Austin Police Department could be up for a confirmation vote Thursday.
Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon has groups and some council members backing him up, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
“I will be supporting Chief Chacon,” said Austin City Council member Ann Kitchen. “I look forward to working with him on Austin CARES, the city’s mental health diversion, and many other initiatives as we move forward.”
Not everyone agrees on the promotion though.
“While I certainly appreciate Interim Chief Chacon’s years of service at APD and respect the selection process, I am disappointed in the city manager’s ultimate decision to appoint him,” said Austin City Council member Mackenzie Kelly. “We had a unique opportunity to bring in a fresh perspective to help address critical issues related to departmental morale, staffing, and community engagement efforts.”
She said an internal survey by the Austin Police Association showed “a clear mandate” from officers for an external candidate.
“This, in addition to the ongoing barrage of criticism from select community activists about the current culture at APD, makes it impossible for me to cast my vote in support of an internal candidate,” she said. “I don’t believe doing so would reflect the shared values of the police and the community.”
In Thursday’s meeting, public comment will be allowed and council members will be able to ask questions and voice their concerns.
“As we make our way through the confirmation process this week, I and my colleagues will be asking important follow-up questions to Interim Chief Chacon – including about improvements to police oversight, enhancements to victim services, and plans for further reduction in violent crime,” said Austin City Council member Greg Casar. “The public should know his thoughts on key issues, after which we will deliberate and vote at our Sept. 30 council meeting.”
If approved, Chacon will be confirmed as the next chief. If he is not voted in, the city manager will have to come back with another nominee. However, several council members have told KXAN the vote may be postponed so elected officials can have more time to vet Chacon. As of Wednesday night, the confirmation vote was still on the council’s agenda.