FORT WAYNE – Amidst a packed house at Citizens Square on Thursday and not even 36 hours after the city’s first shootings of 2014, Garry Hamilton was sworn in as the new Fort Wayne police chief.
Citizens, prosecutors, judges, fellow police officers and even a few firefighters packed the room to see Hamilton officially take the reins of the department.
The room was so full that a smattering of officers and others were forced to watch from the hallway, craning their necks to catch glimpses of the proceedings through the windows the courtroom.
Hamilton had been pegged as the new chief last month but officially took the post this morning.
Former Chief Rusty York was sworn in as the director of public safety and will now oversee the staffing levels of the police and fire departments as well as lead efforts in procuring grants.
But it was Hamilton who was the center of attention, being congratulated by many well-wishers who attended the ceremony and hounded by media for interviews.
It wasn’t long before a reporter brought up a string of shootings that happened New Year’s Day.
One on Reed Street left three young men wounded; another, which was likely accidental or a suicide, left a man dead on Logan Street and a third on Trace Circle left a 60-year-old woman injured.
Hamilton said his first order of business is to address crime and added that he wants the department to become more community oriented, with officers meeting regularly with citizens.