Neighborhood Leaders React To New Police Chief (VIDEO)

By Corinne Rose

December 13, 2013 Updated Dec 16, 2013 at 11:20 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- As you learned first on 21Alive news Thursday, Fort Wayne's new police chief will be Garry Hamilton, deputy chief of the city's southeast quadrant.

The head of the Fort Wayne Urban League, Jonathan Ray, said the choice of Garry Hamilton as chief of police goes beyond being Fort Wayne's first African American chief. He said it points to Hamilton’s character and knowledge of the city.

We talked this afternoon with Pastor Javier Mondragon of Grace Point South church on Gaywood.

He's also the president of the Mount Vernon neighborhood association.

Mondragon has worked with Deputy Chief Hamilton on several crime prevention issues for that area.

He says Hamilton is passionate about what he does, that he listens and demonstrates that he wants to work with community leaders.

Some people may question Hamilton’s being selected to be chief over the whole city when there have been so many homicides in his own quadrant this year.

But Mondragon says Hamilton is an effective leader.

“I think he has experience, and in the process is learning to see what works. And I think one of the things he emphasizes all the time when I go to meetings and he's there, he emphasizes building trust in the community, which I think is very important and I see him doing that,” Mondragon says.

Mayor Henry was looking for integrity, discipline, and good leadership and communication skills, as well as someone who will develop a strategic plan for addressing homicides and other crime activity, and communicate with neighborhoods and businesses to address the public's concerns.

That's something Pastor Mondragon says Hamilton does very well.

Look for a formal announcement next week.

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