New Police Chief Officially Named (VIDEO)

By Corinne Rose

December 16, 2013 Updated Dec 16, 2013 at 7:50 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- In Fort Wayne, it's a new era in policing as Mayor Tom Henry officially names a new police chief.

Corinne Rose actually broke this story last week and was with the mayor for the big announcement Monday.

Not only is Garry Hamilton the city's first African-American police chief, he's the first chief to be appointed in 14 years.

And according to Mayor Henry, he was the obvious choice.

Mayor Henry says 52-year old Fort Wayne native Garry Hamilton's 19 years in several divisions of the department made him the top candidate for the post.

"He brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and working experience from all over the city. Granted, right now we do have an increase in some criminal activity in the southeast part of town. It's an area that Garry's very familiar with, having been the chief out there. So, again, he's got a sensitivity to southeast Fort Wayne that perhaps someone else wouldn’t,” Henry says.

Henry wants Hamilton to develop a strategic plan for curbing violent crime, especially in the southeast quadrant.

"I hear the community outcry that they don't see the police department. So I think this is an opportunity for us, if we can get out there and walk the streets and meet people and attend neighborhood association meetings, which I do southeast anyhow, I will continue to attend those meetings," Hamilton says.

He also wants to institute a multi-jurisdictional homicide review team.

"I think involve other agencies. The use of the FBI, ATF, United States Marshals is here, the Allen County Prosecutor's office, the coroner's office. We'll work together as a team," Hamilton says.

And speaking of the prosecutor's office, Hamilton will reinstate a liaison officer, as he was for several years, to ensure seamless transitions for criminal cases.

"It's very important to work together because if there's something missing, as a liaison officer, you can review the case, take it back to the detective directly and say here's concerns that the prosecutors have in solving this case," Hamilton insists.

Hamilton will be sworn in as police chief on January first.

He says he’s looking forward to the class of 22 recruits that starts in February, and tells me he and his command staff, as well as Rusty York, will work together to try to get those numbers increased.

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