The police chief in Wichita, Kansas. A commanding officer with the Los Angeles Police Division. An engineer with a cybersecurity agency. An actual property investor.
These are among the 45 candidates who’ve utilized to be Austin’s subsequent police chief.
Austin’s been trying to find town’s subsequent prime cop since former Chief Brian Manley announced his retirement in February and stepped down in March. Since his exit, Joseph Chacon, who’s amongst these making use of for the job, has been serving as interim chief.
Metropolis Supervisor Spencer Cronk has mentioned he plans to decide on finalists for the job by August.
What ought to you understand about those that utilized? KUT acquired copies of the candidates’ resumes and canopy letters by a public info request, and listed here are some takeaways.
1. Some have chief expertise
Greater than a dozen candidates cite expertise as a police chief – however in smaller (generally a lot smaller) jurisdictions.
Gordon Ramsay, the chief of police in Wichita, and Mirtha Ramos, who heads the DeKalb County Police Division in Georgia, are amongst those that have utilized.
Wichita’s inhabitants is lower than half of Austin’s. And whereas the inhabitants of DeKalb County is nearer to Austin’s dimension, Ramos’ division probably polices a smaller inhabitants than the one right here. DeKalb County consists of town of Decatur, however it has its personal police division. The DeKalb County Police Division’s web site says its officers principally oversee unincorporated elements of the county along with two small cities.
One other notable former police chief who utilized is Anne Kirkpatrick, who headed up the Oakland Police Division. In response to information experiences, metropolis leaders and a citizen fee fired Kirkpatrick final yr, saying they had lost confidence in her after a federal courtroom monitor discovered she had mishandled an investigation into the 2018 police taking pictures of a person experiencing homelessness.
Kirkpatrick has since sued the department, claiming she was fired in return for reporting corruption.
Different candidates with police chief expertise embody Jorge Camarillo, police chief in Bangs, a small metropolis about 170 miles northwest of Austin; and Manuel Jimenez, police chief at Concordia College.
2. Few ladies utilized
Solely 4 of the 45 individuals who utilized establish as ladies. (KUT reviewed the female- or women-specific organizations that the candidates mentioned they belonged to, plus the usage of pronouns in information protection of the candidates.)
Solely two ladies have led the Austin Police Division up to now three many years. This consists of Elizabeth Watson, who served as police chief within the Nineties, and Cathy Ellison, who stood in as interim chief earlier than town employed Artwork Acevedo in 2007.
As a complete, ladies are uncommon in legislation enforcement. In response to an analysis of data from 1997-2016 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, just one in 8 cops are ladies.
The ladies who’ve utilized are Kirkpatrick; Ramos; Celeste Murphy, a deputy chief on the Atlanta Police Division; and Emada Tingirides, a commanding officer on the Los Angeles Police Division.
Of those 4 candidates, not less than two establish as Black, in keeping with memberships to varied legislation enforcement organizations they listed on their resumes. They embody Murphy and Ramos.
3. A dozen say they communicate Spanish
In response to knowledge from the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 1 in 5 Austin residents speaks Spanish at house.
Austin has had not less than one Spanish-speaking chief up to now decade. Former Chief Artwork Acevedo, who lately took the highest job on the Miami Police Division, immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba when he was a baby.
A dozen candidates indicated they communicate Spanish, together with Chacon; Elvis Guzman, commander at Inexperienced Cove Springs, Florida; Omar Chavez, a police teacher with the U.S. Division of State; Steven Rivera, a personal contractor and coaching teacher in Virginia Seashore; and Ernest Morales, a deputy commissioner at Mount Vernon Police Division in New York.
4. Most prevented discussing racial injustice
Solely a handful of candidates addressed the general public reckoning over the function of racism and bigotry in policing over the previous yr or the Austin Metropolis Council’s choice to chop tens of millions in funding from the police division.
The hunt for Austin’s subsequent police chief is going on after metropolis leaders and group members have spent greater than a yr calling on the division to make important adjustments to its tradition and the way in which it trains new officers.
In June, town started training new police officers after pausing cadet academies for greater than a yr. Metropolis Council members requested for this interruption so town may revise police coaching supplies, together with the use of videos in cadet programs, after leaders fielded experiences of intimidation from former police trainees.
On the identical time, Council members needed to reckon with protests in opposition to racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the police taking pictures of Michael Ramos in Austin. Final summer time, Metropolis Council voted to transfer roughly $20 million out of the police division and into different departments, together with Austin Public Well being and Austin-Travis County EMS.
The finances discount was a part of Council’s need to rethink the function of cops, in what metropolis executives have known as “reimagining public security.”
Solely a small portion of candidates who utilized to be Austin’s subsequent police chief acknowledged town’s proclaimed curiosity in making adjustments to the division.
Kirkpatrick, the previous Oakland police chief, wrote: “The (Austin) police division can also be one of many extra superior main metropolis police departments; but, in addition they have the chance to be the main legislation enforcement company within the nation in ‘reimagining policing’. Policing is a noble career, however the career wants a tradition change.”
Eric Winstrom, a commander on the Chicago Police Division, mentioned: “I’ve been on the desk with metropolis leaders for discussions with group teams who wished to ‘defund the police’ and realized that slogan means very various things to completely different folks.”
And Chacon, Austin’s interim police chief, wrote: “We should tackle institutional racism and the disparate impacts of our contacts with folks of coloration and different affected communities. I’m a powerful proponent of the legislation and imagine that reimagining efforts will result in balanced public security approaches.”
This story was produced as a part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.
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