AUSTIN - Austin's interim police chief will have been in the job for a full year on Friday.
Chief Brian Manley – who rose through the ranks of APD – took over last Dec. 1 after Police Chief Art Acevedo left for Houston. And with no move underway yet to appoint a permanent chief, it's unclear how long Manley's temporary status will remain.
KVUE and the Austin American-Statesman reporter Tony Plohetski talked to Chief Manley about a variety of issues he has faced in his year as chief, his leadership style and, perhaps most importantly, whether he still wants the job permanently.
Chief Manley has been an Austin officer for 28 years. When he took over the department, he immediately faced challenges that included closing the department's DNA lab after a critical state audit and a backlog of thousands of untested sexual assault kits. Manley said he is proud of how the department has addressed those issues, including its effort to get remaining kits tested by September.
He said he also is pleased with how the department responded after its fleet of Ford Explorers began leaking carbon monoxide earlier this year, requiring the cars to be taken off the street.
"That was a challenge that you don't expect coming into this job, is having to operate without one of the essential tools – your patrol car," Manley said.
Manley, who served as Acevedo's chief of staff, says he feels as though the community has embraced him, even though he said he followed a chief many in the community considered popular.
"What I have done is, I have taken a lot of those great qualities that I learned from Chief Acevedo and I have implemented them in my own way," said Manley. "I absolutely share his value and his commitment to this community, the importance of engagement. I may not be the one riding in the float singing in the microphone, but I'm walking in the float and I'm shaking hands."
We also asked Chief Manley about whether his year as interim chief has curtailed his interest in having the job permanently. He said he absolutely still wants to be the chief.
"I said when I took over that I would love to be the chief of this department, and that has not changed," he remarked.
City leaders have said they want to appoint a city manager before they begin a search for police chief.
They hope to name a new manager in the next few weeks.
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