NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) - The new Newport Police Chief didn't accept the position lightly.
Chief Allen Edwards said that the position was always meant for Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford, who lost his life last year in a deadly shooting.
Edwards said that Weatherford was one of his best friends. He and Weatherford advanced through the ranks at the department together.
"It hard. We've done a lot of grieving, we've done a lot of healing too, said Edwards. "Our community has been real supportive of us and has really helped us."
Advancing into the position has been challenging because he always believed Lieutenant Weatherford would take over the position.
"Patrick, that was kind of his destiny and what he was going to do," said Edwards. "And I was hoping to be his right hand. We had a lot of dreams and hopes for the department."
When the department lost Weatherford last year, he knew that taking on the role as chief would keep his and Patrick's dreams for the department alive.
"I was fortunate that I was able to share them with him," said Edwards. "And he shared his dreams also with me, so I'm hoping to try and implement a lot of those dreams that we shared together and hopefully make the department a better place."
Chief Edwards started his career at Newport Police Department in 2001.
"I've worked in every division that we've got, so I've got a pretty fair knowledge of the workings of the police department," said Edwards.
He says that stepping into the administrative end of the job is a new challenge. The most challenging part has been looking at applicants and picking employees, Edwards said.
"You want to make sure you're looking at good potential candidates to hire and fill positions," said Edwards. "You want them to be an asset to the department and community."
He said that the department has made a few changes as far as updating things and advancing technology.
Chief Edwards says that some of the goals he has for the department include more community-oriented involvement and seeing the department grow.