Incoming Phoenix police chief promises to rebuild community's trust

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New police chief Jeri Williams introduced to public (Source: KPHO/KTVK) New police chief Jeri Williams introduced to public (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Jeri Williams named new Phoenix police chief (Source: City of Oxnard Police Dept.) Jeri Williams named new Phoenix police chief (Source: City of Oxnard Police Dept.)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The City of Phoenix officially introduced its incoming police chief, Jeri Williams, who promised Thursday to rebuild trust at a time of growing racial tensions.

"I represent you; I will represent us," Williams said in her first press conference since the City announced her hiring on Wednesday.

WATCH: Thursday's news conference (Williams begins speaking at approximately 15:00)

The hire is historic as she will become the first woman and second African-American to lead the Phoenix police force when she takes over in October. It also comes at a critical time.

A string of deadly police shootings across the country has widened a racial divide between police and many minority communities.

Phoenix City Manager Ed Zurcher said his decision to pick Williams had nothing to do with race.

"It is a coincidence. If you take a look at the background, it is clear (Williams) has what it takes to be a big city police chief."

For Williams, this is a homecoming.

First hired by the Phoenix Police Department in 1989, Williams spent the next 22 years working her way through the ranks. Five years ago, she left for a job as police chief in Oxnard, CA.

The Phoenix Police Department has nearly 4,000 employees in seven precincts -- Desert Horizon, Black Mountain, Cactus Park, Mountain View, Central City, Maryvale and South Mountain. That puts it in the top 10 largest departments in the country. Phoenix P.D. serves more than 1.5 million residents living in a 500-square-mile area.

About the new chief: Click/tap here to read Jeri Williams' bio

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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