Brent Blankley, a long-time member of the Tuscaloosa Police Department, was sworn in as its chief Tuesday afternoon during a ceremony at the Tuscaloosa River Market.

Blankley takes command after the 2019 retirement of chief Steven Anderson who served in that capacity for nearly 11 years.

"If there is a unifying force among our political leadership, it is what the men and women of the Tuscaloosa Police Department do every day to protect our citizens, especially the most vulnerable in our community," said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. "Our city council stands behind me and most importantly stands behind you, Chief Blankley, for the task ahead of you."

Blankley was joined on state by his wife Lynn as Chief Judge Scott Coogler administered the Oath of Office and officiated the swearing-in.

Afterward, Blankley thanked Maddox and the city council for the opportunity to lead the police department before addressing the dozens of sworn officers gathered to witness the ceremony.

"I don't like to talk about myself, so I want to talk about who we should be honoring today -- the men and women of the Tuscaloosa Police Department," Blankley said. "Today marks a new beginning for the Tuscaloosa Police Department. I want the officers to know you have my full support and the full support of this administration to do the difficult jobs and make the split second decisions you have to make in the field. I am excited to serve you for years to come and to make our department the best in the country and our community as safe as possible."

Mitt Tubbs, who served as interim chief after Anderson retired, also addressed those gathered and congratulated Blankley on this high honor.

"People talk about 24/7, but you're going to live it," Tubbs said. "You'll shoulder responsibility that nobody can ever imagine, but I know you, I know your heart and I know your leadership, and we are in good hands."

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