Austin City Council approves interim police chief

Will Clark

The Austin City Council confirmed Brian Manley as interim police chief Thursday morning, marking the official end of Art Acevedo’s nearly decade-long term as APD Chief.

Under Acevedo, UTPD and APD worked closely and adapted to rapid city growth while maintaining a relatively low violent crime rate for a major city.

With APD’s change of command, UTPD Chief David Carter, who served as second in command under Acevedo before coming to UTPD, said he expects that partnership between the departments to remain strong.

“The relationship between UTPD and APD is solid,” Carter said. “I don’t anticipate or expect any changes to occur.”

Manley called Carter one of his mentors when they worked together at APD and said they will continue that closeness in their new roles.

“We’ve got a very positive working relationship already established from his time at APD,” Manley said. “And I see that that’s going to continue as I move into my new role here at APD.”

Carter said he believes the new chief will continue Acevedo’s work.

“A police department can’t be static,” Carter said. “It can’t simply stop. When one chief comes in after someone else leaves, the work isn’t usually finished. It’s an ongoing process that needs to be continually worked on.”

Some of that work includes dealing with a 10 percent rise in violent crimes in Austin this year and the backlog of DNA evidence.  

“We have to pay attention to the fact that we’re experiencing a significant increase in violent crime right now,” Manley said. “We have to tackle the issue with the DNA lab head on.”

SafeHorns Vice President Joell McNew said a major consideration for APD is funding, especially with the rise in violent crime.

“APD is understaffed,” McNew said. “The increase in crime and the recent K2 issue with 50 plus people needing first responders puts the city in a very dangerous public safety situation. Funding must be priority number one.”

Despite the work that needs to be done, Carter said some things will remain the same.

“You still have to have a good relationship with the community you serve,” Carter said. “The incoming chief will have to work to maintain and strengthen those relationships with those folks they serve.”

On Acevedo’s last day, he spoke with the Austin-American Statesman about his legacy and bringing the community closer together.

“I’m proud of a lot of things,” Acevedo said. “I think the collective mindset of the department, the attitude, the personality has changed from one that was kind of an ‘us-versus-them’ mentality to one where we are a part of the community, the community matters to us. Folks smile a lot more.”

Manley said community engagement will be one of his priorities as chief.

“We could strengthen and improve our community policing efforts,” Manley said. “The citizens are going to continue to see a police department that is engaged, that is respective and inclusive of all of our various segments, that is transparent and that is working to keep Austin one of the safest cities in the county when it comes to violent crime.”