Austin NAACP joins list of organizations opposed to selection of ODA chief

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The city of Austin is expected to approve the hiring of interim DPA chief Joseph Chacon as the new chief. Austin president NAACP said it was a missed opportunity.

AUSTIN, Texas – Days away from Austin approving the hiring of Acting ODA Chief Joseph Chacon as DPA Chief, Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder said hiring Chacon for this position would set back progress by 30 to 40 years.

“It was a huge opportunity to say, ‘Hey America. We’re ready to lead the way.’ [City Manager Spencer Cronk] said, ‘No, now we’re not ready. We’re going to support the good old boys to keep it the way it is. ‘”

Linder and the NAACP join with the Austin Justice Coalition and the Austin Police Association in opposing Cronk’s selection of Chacon as the new police chief.

“Right now you don’t want continuity; you want new ideas, a different approach, a cultural change – something that they talked about and didn’t do,” Linder said. “I think that’s hypocrisy. It’s a terrible choice as an example for the future.”

During the pandemic, there have been calls and responses between the public, local government, and the state about how the police could and should change. Austin reallocated $ 150 million from the police budget last year. In response, the state passed a law that would require all cities to fund departments at least at 2019 levels. Despite the back and forth, Chacon and Cronk say they are looking to the future.

“He brings the connections necessary for this role. He brings the stability that our community needs right now, and he really brings the spirit of reform that he spoke about,” Cronk said last week.

“While we have seen a record number of people leaving, I also have a record number of people applying and we have more applications for our police academy than we’ve ever seen before,” said Chacon.

In Linder’s mind, moving forward will require big changes. In his opinion, Chacon will simply bring more of the same font Austin once had.

“It’s not really reinventing anything, it’s good old boy stuff,” Linder said. “Nothing against Chacon, I know the guy. They know the guy. It’s not his approach.”

City council is expected to approve the hiring of Chacon as the official police chief of the Austin Police Department on Thursday.

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