The Austin Chronicle

Naked City

Chapman's gone -- where?

By Jordan Smith, January 16, 2004, News

It's official: Austin Police Department Assistant Chief Jimmy Chapman has left the building, effective Jan. 1 -- but where has he gone?

Chapman announced his retirement -- through his attorney, Terry Keel -- in mid-December, just one day after the still-invisible report of the independent investigation into whether Chapman committed perjury while under oath last summer was finally handed over to city officials. (See "Chapman out the Door, off the Hook," Dec. 26, 2003.) According to Keel, Chapman, a 25-year department veteran, had been considering retirement for some time, prior to the start of the inquiry into whether he lied under oath during a deposition taken in connection with a whistle-blower lawsuit brought by APD Officer Jeff White, but had decided to wait in order to allow investigator James McLaughlin a chance to finish his work.

Keel and Chapman each have repeatedly lauded Chapman's integrity and have denied that he engaged in any misconduct while employed with the police department. (The Travis Co. district attorney's office apparently agrees, or at least has indicated its lack of interest in pursuing criminal charges against Chapman.) Instead, Keel wrote in a Dec. 18 press release that Chapman made the decision to retire in order to pursue "new opportunities in the law enforcement profession."

One of those potential opportunities, it turns out, is heading up the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission's enforcement division, a job recently vacated by Greg Hamilton, who is running to replace Margo Frasier as Travis Co. sheriff (Frasier has named Hamilton as her choice for successor). According to the TABC, Chapman has applied for the top enforcement job; at press time, agency officials had not filled the position. Still, White's lawyer Don Feare finds Chapman's job-hunting rather curious. "I find it quite interesting," he said. "Why would he resign from a perfectly good job as an assistant chief if he was just going to continue working in law enforcement?"

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