VALLEJO, Calif. (KTVU) - Vallejo's new police chief was sworn in at a packed ceremony at City Hall on Tuesday. Shawny Williams is the first African American to head the department and he said he's ready for change.
"Today we chart a new direction. Today we begin a new journey that will be supported by strong ethical leadership, forward-thinking," he told the crowd at City Hall.
Williams said he believes in transparency and accountability.
"I will serve you honorably, unselfishly, faithfully and I am confident and absolutely certain that the men and women of the Vallejo Police Department will do exactly the same," he said.
But in taking over as top cop, Williams is inheriting a department coping with community fallout over deadly shooting and use of force by officers.
He said, "Sadly, the reputation of our police department has suffered.
On Sunday, an off-duty Richmond police sergeant shot and killed a man at a Vallejo gas station during an apparent parking dispute. Sources said the sergeant opened fire after the man blocked him in and brandished a gun with an extended magazine.
Critics said the sergeant received special treatment from Vallejo police after the shooting. They said he wasn't handcuffed or treated as a suspect.
Williams said he doesn't have enough information about the previous incidents, but said his first goal is to strengthen relations between the community and law enforcement.
"My first goal is to create diaglouge. And we create dialogue by engaging with the community, listening. I want to have a big ear, little mouth philosophy. I want to listen to what the community wants and what they need. "