AUSTIN (KXAN) — Who will lead the Austin Police Department in the interim after Art Acevedo leaves?
Interim City Manager Elaine Hart says we could know as soon as Friday or next week.
As for beginning the search for a full-time chief, Hart says there’s the matter of finding her replacement. Soon she will recommend to council the city not hire a new police chief until a new city manager has been chosen. And that search has just begun, meaning it could be as long as a year before a new police chief strides into police headquarters downtown.
Leadership experts suggest picking an interim chief usually involves someone already on the inside, who knows the ropes and who can lead a group of employees through the big issues, such as the reopening of APD’s crime lab and next fall’s police union contract talks.
There are five assistant chiefs at APD right now and a chief of operations who are likely candidates.
Chris McIlvain, Joe Chacon and Frank Dixon are the newest to join the department’s executive team, the latter two just this year. Troy Gay and Jason Dusterhoft and are more tenured in the role helping the chief set policy and budget priorities.
One face the city already knows well is Chief of Operations Brian Manley. He’s held that second-in-command role since January 2015.
He’s a 26-year veteran of APD who now looks after the day-to-day operations. The 48 year old has also filled in when Chief Acevedo has been away including during one officer-involved shooting.
So what is the interim city manager looking for in an interim police chief?
“I need them to keep the workforce and the police officers focused on the job and I would allow them the latitude the council has allowed me as well to make changes,” Hart told reporters Thursday. “But if there are significant changes I’d like to hear about them.”
Hart adds she wants APD to keep moving forward with all the initiatives they have in place but if that person has new ideas to go ahead and move forward with them.
“We are not going to be on hold until the new police chief is hired and so we’ll continue with the programs and continue the efforts they already have in place despite the fact Art is leaving.”