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'A day I am ready for': APD Chief Brian Manley to retire in March

'A day I am ready for': APD Chief Brian Manley to retire in March

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police Chief Brian Manley is retiring.

"I have many different emotions running through me right now but it's a day I am ready for and I am at peace with my decision," Manley said Friday. He called APD "one of the best departments in the country" because of the men and women who serve here.

In an email sent to the entire department and City Manager Spencer Cronk, Manley announced he will retire at the end of March after a 30-year career with APD.

Manley was hired as police chief four years ago, and said he's not sure what he'll do after retirement.

"While I am uncertain whether I will continue in the Law Enforcement field or transition to the private sector, I will always look back at my APD career with pride, and my co-workers with admiration and appreciation," he said in the letter.

History as chief

Manley was unanimously approved for the police chief position in June 2018, after spending more than a year in the role of interim chief. Manley took on the role of interim chief in December 2016 when former Chief Art Acevedo left for a job in Houston. Hiring a permanent chief was delayed when Austin’s city manager left and a new one had to be hired.

Acevedo released a statement Friday on Manley's decision.

"Every chief reaches a point in their career where their lifetime of public service comes to an end," Acevedo said. "In Brian’s case, this comes after the culmination of a career that spanned 3 decades and saw him progress from cadet to chief of police. Brian was instrumental in helping APD transform itself into a 21st Century agency, and despite the constant drumbeat of the critics that APD is broken, he helped to mold it into one of the nation’s premier agencies."

Manley was in the interim role when Austin was rocked by a series of homemade bombs in March 2018. Two people died and three were injured. Manley and several other agencies and hundreds of officers and agents had worked around the clock to put an end to the Austin bombings, which ended when the bomber blew himself up on I-35.

"I personally have been inspired by his leadership," during that time, said City Manager Spencer Cronk, who hired Manley.

Reaction to announcement

Austin Mayor Steve Adler released a statement on Manley's retirement Friday.

"Policing is at a national crossroads, and this has been an extraordinary time to lead a department as it begins a very important conversation. I thank Chief Manley for having taken Austin to this pivotal point and congratulate him on his retirement," the statement from Adler read. "Throughout Chief Manley’s leadership, Austin has been one of the safest, large cities in the country. He oversaw a $422 million budget, the largest per resident among big cities in Texas. I personally witnessed up-close his inspiring leadership on the ground during the 2018 Austin Serial Bombings. We are grateful for Chief Manley's 30 years of public service in his hometown."

Council Member Greg Casar released a statement Friday on Manley's retirement.

“While Chief Manley and I have had major disagreements about the direction of our City, I respect his years of public service and wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Austin City Council Member Greg Casar. “The community is now tasked with choosing the future path of our police department. Our goal must be protecting public safety and civil rights, for all neighborhoods and for people of all backgrounds.”

Gavino Fernandez, Jr., the District 12 president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said the group is looking forward to working with the City of Austin to find a new police chief.

While the group wished Manley well in his future plans and thanked him for his service to the community, they were one of the groups who called for him to be fired or for him to resign in the wake of alleged police brutality and excessive use of force.

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