There's a new top law enforcement officer in Long Beach. On Monday, Harley Schinker was sworn in as the new chief of police.
Schinker's arrival ends almost a year of uncertainty about who would lead the force. Since last July, Long Beach has lost a chief and an interim chief. At one time the city considered consolidating with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.
Some Long Beach police officers say since Harley Schinker was named chief, the mood around the department has improved.
"Everybody's excited on new ideas, on someone with a fresh new ideas to change things," Officer Stephanie Fontenot said.
Officers say although things have been going fine under the interim chief, they needed a permanent leader to look to for guidance.
"It's like having a row boat in the water in one oar," said Reserve Chief Charles Barbour.
"You're just going in circles and you're not making no headway what so ever. He's at the helm now so he's going to steer us to the right way."
Schinker has 33 years of experience with the Chicago Police force. He says that's taught him to tackle problems hands on. The problems at the Long Beach Police Department have been no secret. Chief Schinker says the best way to lead is to first figure out what direction the staff and the community would like to go. He plans included a series of town meetings and monthly staff meetings. Shrinker who describes himself as a quiet man will be doing a lot of talking.
"You have to communicate," said Chief Schinker. "This here big building is not an island onto itself. I want to encourage people to come into this building and see what it's about, to see what we do."
Monday was the last day on job for interim Long Beach Police Chief Randy Cook. Cook was appointed as acting chief back in August. He says he'll now be devoting himself full time to his job at the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.