The chief of the Austin Police Department retired on Monday amid a wave of crime and staffing shortages.
In the summer of 2020, the Austin City Council voted to slash roughly one-third of the department’s funding as the “Defund the Police” movement spread nationwide.
Three years later Chief Joseph Chacon announced his resignation on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday.
Chacon did not cite any specific reason for leaving the department but said his announcement was made “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,” he said.
“This is one of the hardest messages that I’ve ever had to write,” Chacon added.
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
He continued: “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.
“Working at APD with you, the sworn and civilian men and women of this amazing department, has been the privilege of my life. Being the Chief of Police is something that I never thought would have been possible, and it has been the pinnacle of my career and an absolute honor to serve you.”
Chacon said he had no doubts those still serving on the force would do their jobs with distention and asked them to “keep fighting the good fight, and honor the profession by keeping the citizens of this city safe.”
“Thank you for making this department look so good through your tireless and selfless service, and for making this one of the safest big cities in the country,” he said.
Chacon also announced that APF Chief of Staff Robin Henderson would serve as the police chief on an interim basis.
He vowed to stay on with the department for a short time in order to help ensure as seamless a transition as possible.
“Know that you are amazing and appreciated by so many in this community. Take care of yourselves and each other,” Chacon concluded. “God bless.”
“We just continue to have a city council that doesn’t show its police officers that [it] cares about them,” Villarreal told “Fox & Friends.”
Villarreal noted that during the Black Lives Matter riots of 2020, 19 Austin cops were indicted for trying to quell unrest in the Texas capital by using standard anti-riot tools such as rubber bullets and tear gas.
Officers resigned, and the department is now understaffed while citizens who call 9-1-1 are reporting experiencing long hold times.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.