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Story by WVUA 23’s Kayla Smith.

Brent Blankley was sworn in as the Tuscaloosa chief of police at the Tuscaloosa River Market on Tuesday.

“I started here almost 14 years ago, and there’s so much responsibility in the role of chief of police that doors kind of opened,” Blankley said. “I believe God opened doors along the way that helped me to this position, and I’m super excited about taking this new role on.”

Mayor Walt Maddox said that he chose Blankley because he knows the department and has the respect of Tuscaloosa police officers.

“This was a position that I believe needed to be internally focused, and I think Brent is the right person at the right time to get the job done,” Maddox said.

Blankley said that he will look to his predecessors for advice in the days to come.

Former Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson said that he thinks Blankley will serve the department well.

“He got to see a lot of the things that I did, hopefully, learn from a lot of the mistakes I made and not repeat those same mistakes,” Anderson said. “But I saw a talent in Brent early on that made me believe he had the ability to ascend to this role.”

Blankley said that he is excited to meet with officers and community leaders to discuss crime strategies.

“I think we can’t get rid of crime without the support of the community,” Blankley said. “I think the community has had enough of crime, so I hope we can come together and bridge the gaps that need to be bridged and fight crime to the best of our ability.”

During the ceremony, Blankley said that he would like to honor TPD officers for their courage and hard work.

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