Q&A: Get to know Cedar Park's new police chief Mike Harmon

Mike Harmon swearing in
Cedar Park Police Chief Mike Harmon was sworn in May 27. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Cedar Park Police Chief Mike Harmon was sworn in May 27. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)

After more than a year as interim chief, Mike Harmon's first day as Cedar Park chief of police is May 29. Harmon was unanimously appointed and sworn in May 27.

Harmon joined the Cedar Park Police Department in 1998 as a patrol officer. He previously worked in the Travis County Sherriff’s Office and Austin Independent School District Police Department. The city announced Harmon's official role May 12.

Harmon thanked the police department, city staff, his family, Cedar Park citizens and other community members for their support.

“I remind our cops every day that when they’re working and they’re out there that they truly do work for a community that supports their police department, and it doesn’t go unnoticed,” Harmon said.

Learn more about Chief Harmon in a Q&A with Community Impact Newspaper.

Why did you choose a career in law enforcement?

"I chose a career in law enforcement because it is a noble profession and I have a servant's heart. I enjoy the different aspects of the job, and every day is different."

You spent more than one year as interim chief. What did you learn in the last year?

"I was already in a leadership role, but as the Interim Chief, I learned it is important to always be evaluating policies and procedures to make our employees stay ahead of the curve when it relates to training and current trends in law enforcement. As Interim Chief, I made sure we prioritized Implicit Bias training for all police department personnel, sworn and civilian."

What will your leadership as police chief look like?

"I will continue to connect with all employees and build on those relationships. To make sure all of our employees treat all citizens with respect, compassion, and empathy. Each day we will show up to engage, inspire, and protect each other and the community."

What does police accountability look like at CPPD?

"We set clear expectations and operate with transparency, holding each other accountable for our actions, to build trust. We hold ourselves to a higher standard and make sure empathy and healthy relationships with our community are prioritized. I believe it is the responsibility of my command staff to lead by example. I heard a quote recently by Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker that reads, “Culture is shaped by the worst behavior that leaders will tolerate,” and my goal is to continue to hold us to a standard that sets us apart."

In a city release, you said “I plan to extend my focus on the critically important issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity that will strengthen our mission to serve the people who live, work, and play in Cedar Park.” How do you plan to address these issues?

"It starts with listening to everyone in the community and understanding our community has a wide range of experiences with law enforcement, not all of which may be positive. I believe it is our responsibility to reach out and listen to people who have concerns or ideas about how to align the values of the community and the department."

What are your short-term and long-term goals as chief?

"Short-term goal is to continue building on the department’s new mission statement and guiding values to help guide our actions every day. My long-term goal is to build a foundation that can withstand the evolution of our culture and leave a department willing to embrace a growth mindset."

How can residents contact you with questions or concerns about their community’s public safety?

"Citizens can either email directly at [email protected] or call me directly at 512-260-4738."

What do you want Cedar Park residents to know about you?

"That I have been part of this community for 23 years and have experienced significant change in the community over time. I am encouraged with the direction we are heading. I know there is nothing our community and department cannot accomplish if we work together as a team."

Note: Responses were edited for grammar and clarity.
By Taylor Girtman
Taylor Girtman became the reporter for the Cedar Park-Leander edition in Feb. 2020.


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