Chief Manley, who spent 30 years with the department, successfully rose through the ranks from a department rookie to its top leader, announced today that he will be stepping down next month.
“The role of the police chief is one that is so demanding that I felt if I’m actively considering what is next for me, what I want to do next with my life, I’m likely not giving all of myself to the job,” Manley said at a press conference Friday.
In the position for only three years, Manley has faced growing calls from social justice organizations and city council members to step aside. In recent months, the calls grew more forceful after Austin police officers caused serious injuries during local protests of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in May and the fatal shooting of Michael Ramos in Austin in April.
We are demanding and expecting something much more
“Brian Manley’s resignation was long overdue, said Chas Moore, Executive Director of the Austin Justice Coalition in a written statement. “His tenure as Chief of Police was a reflection of a different time and place in regards to how communities across the nation view policing and public safety. Today is a new day. We are demanding and expecting something much more – a transformed and wholly new approach to public safety,” continued Moore.
Manley plans to continue to work either in the private or public sector and will remain in the Austin area, where he was born and raised. He said the criticism against him and the department did not play a role in his retiring, suggesting that criticism comes with the territory in such a high-profile and demanding job.
Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk has resolutely backed Chief Manley, in spite of calls from some of his bosses on the City Council to oust the chief because they believed Manley stood in the way of more progressive policies. The 11-member council all voted “no confidence” unanimously in Manley’s leadership and his ability to make Austin safer for communities of color and low-income residents. Seven of the council members even publicly called for Manley to be fired.
Council Member Greg Casar, a vocal critic of Manley, said that the city must prioritize the protection of all citizens in reshaping APD moving forward.
“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,” Casar said in a statement. “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.”