Police Chief Joseph Chacon announced his retirement from the Austin Police Department (APD) on Monday due to the city’s surging crime and cop shortage.
“A few months ago, I began seriously considering retirement and after long conversations with my wife and family, and thoughtful prayer, I have now made the decision that the moment is right to hang it up on a 25 year career with APD,” Chacon wrote in a statement Monday shared on Twitter.
I’m announcing my retirement as the Chief of the @Austin_Police with a heavy heart. I’ve come to this decision after a lot of thought. It has been an honor to serve this department and this wonderful community, and I know I’m leaving you in good hands. pic.twitter.com/evwBGGEwQr
— Joseph Chacon 👮🏻♂️ (@Chief_Chacon) August 21, 2023
Robin Henderson, Chacon’s chief of staff, is set to fill the retiring police chief’s position after being asked by Interim City Manager Jesús Garza. He will serve until a new police chief is named following a national search expected to last several months. Whether Henderson seeks to permanently go for the job is not yet known. (RELATED: Small Minnesota Town Holds Emergency Meeting After Being Abandoned By Entire Police Department)
The date of Chacon’s departure has yet to be announced. However, Henderson will be appointed in the first week of September. Chacon “will take on an advisory role for a short time to ensure a smooth transition.”
The 55-year-old retiring police chief expressed dissatisfaction with the APD’s 330 vacancies in an address to the community Monday. Patrol ranks have the most empty positions. The Texas Department of Public Safety partnered with the APD from March to July, per the efforts of Mayor Kirk Watson.
“Where we sit in staffing today, I’m disappointed,” Chacon said. “I want us to get back to a place where we have more Austin police officers out there.”
Chacon became Austin police Chief two years ago, during the aftermath of the BLM protests and disputes over policing in May 2020. He dealt with conflict both inside his department and among the community.
“I thank Chief Chacon for serving as our Chief of Police and doing it with professionalism,” Watson said. “The role of Chief is not an easy one. Chief Chacon approached the job with an obvious desire to support his team and to protect our community.”