New Fort Wayne Police Chief Sworn In (VIDEO)

By Corinne Rose - 21Alive

January 2, 2014 Updated Jan 2, 2014 at 7:29 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) – It’s a changing of the guard at the Fort Wayne police department.

Former Chief Rusty York was sworn in as the city's public safety director and the new chief was sworn in Thursday, promising changes he thinks residents will like.

History made, as Garry Hamilton is sworn in as Fort Wayne's first African American chief of police.

He promises a return to community-oriented policing, where officers are more visible in neighborhoods, at meetings and even in churches.

And he's making sure he has an open door policy, as well.

"One of my plans is to have something set up where I can meet with the citizens. I'll have something like a chief's night in, where I'll set up two hours and I'll do it all over the city, maybe on a quarterly basis. Set down with them, they come in and talk to me personally, talk about their concerns, and I'll pass information on to the other citizens and officers their concerns," Chief Hamilton says.

The 52-year old Hamilton joined the department in 1994.

A graduate of Northrop and Manchester College, he rose through the ranks after serving 14 years investigating homicides.

He selected members of his command staff, including new Assistant Chief Steve Reed, who had overseen the police academy.

Reed says fighting violent crime, especially on the southeast side, is a priority.

"More patrol but in a more focused effort, identifying individuals who are doing these crimes and let them know that we know who they are and that we're going to be watching them," Reed says.

"We'll work on that. I've got to look at our staffing levels to see what we can do, and to do a foot patrol if at all possible," Hamilton adds.

Hamilton will hold his first command staff meeting Monday, and will attend squad meetings to let his officers know what he expects.

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