Amid a lack of confidence from his officers, alarming allegations of witness suppression, and a record-setting homicide spree and public safety disaster in Texas’ capital city, Interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon was permanently named to the position on Thursday.
According to a membership survey conducted by the Austin Police Association, Chacon, widely considered a mouthpiece for the Democrat mayor and socialist faction on the Austin City Council, was the first choice of barely 10 percent of officers:
What does it mean when Austin Police Officers prefer two unknown outsiders rather than Chacon who’s been at APD for more than 20 years?? pic.twitter.com/0iHKJwaK4l
— Doug OConnell (@DouglasOConnell) September 23, 2021
The officers’ trepidation is understandable, given Chacon’s history of promoting city hall’s narrative at the expense of officers. Earlier this month, in response to a question about Austin’s record crime surge, Chacon blamed an alleged “national phenomenon”—a common city hall talking point to deflect from the city council’s catastrophic 2020 decision to cut the police department budget by one-third and cancel three police cadet training academies. The only “national phenomenon” was that the Austin City Council went along with the national “defund the police” movement.
Indeed, since the council’s decision, the department has lost hundreds of officers and disbanded numerous units (including some related to DWI, family violence safety and stalking, and criminal interdiction). Over the summer, Chief Chacon said that 911 response times are “dramatically slower” and the department is in a “dire situation.” More recently, Chacon announced APD will no longer dispatch officers to “non-emergency” calls such as burglary or home invasion.
Even more troubling are allegations that Chacon also retaliated against an APD whistleblower. Earlier this summer, Texas Scorecard detailed a sworn complaint by APD’s top homicide detective, David Fugitt, alleging District Attorney Jose Garza committed witness tampering in a homicide investigation. Now, Fugitt’s attorney has come forward to accuse Chacon of retaliating against the 27-year veteran detective.
27 year APD Veteran Det David Fugitt say Chief Chacon retaliated against him for says DA’s office tampered with him as a witness. I believe Fugitt.
— Doug OConnell (@DouglasOConnell) September 22, 2021
Finally, there’s the killing spree on the streets, which tragically reached 64 as of this week. Austin now has the most homicides in a year in the city’s history, according to records dating back to 1960—and that’s with three months still remaining in 2021.
Concerned citizens may contact their city council member.