CHICAGO (CBS) — Gary, Indiana, native Richard Allen, a longtime police lieutenant, has been named the department’s new chief, after the sudden departure of Chief Larry McKinley.

McKinley’s resignation was announced Monday morning. Allen, a 23-year veteran of the department, was sworn in as his successor hours later.

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“It’s my goal to assist the men [and] the women of the Gary Police Department – along with the citizens of the city, our community – to move this city forward,” Allen said.

Richard Allen was sworn in as the chief of the Gary Police Department on Jan. 8, 2018. (Credit: CBS)

Gary City Council President Ron Brewer said he and others on the council have been pushing for this change at the top of the police department for months. They said they hope it will improve morale at the department.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson swore Allen in Monday morning. He immediately got to work swearing in six new recruits.

A Marine Corps veteran, Allen has served as a patrolman and a crime scene investigator, among other roles at the police department.

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Freeman-Wilson said Allen’s boundless love of the city and enthusiasm are what she believes will set him apart.

“The greatest aspect for me as the mayor, and for the citizens of this community, is that Lt. Allen knows and loves the city of Gary,” she said.

McKinley was appointed as chief in July 2014, and has been with the department for nearly 20 years.

Larry McKinley resigned as chief of the Gary Police Department, as of Jan.
8, 2018, but will remain with the department.
(Credit: City of Gary)

“Chief McKinley has ably served this department. I respect his decision to look to the future as he closes in on the 20 year mark with the Gary Police Department. His care for crime victims and their families, work to incorporate data into policing as well as the relationship he has built with the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Department of Justice Diagnostic Center have positioned us to take the Gary Police Department to the next level. The city of Gary will be forever indebted to Chief McKinley for his service,” Freeman-Wilson said in a written statement about McKinley’s resignation.

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McKinley will remain with the department in an unspecified role.