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Andre Anderson leaves at the end of a news conference announcing him as the interim chief of the Ferguson Police Department on July 22, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo.
Jeff Roberson—AP

The city of Ferguson, Mo., where the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown sparked days of unrest last summer, named a black interim police chief on Wednesday.

Andre Anderson, 50, told reporters that his first priority is “simply to build trust, to develop community policing in this area,” USA Today reports. Anderson previously was a police commander in Glendale, Ariz., where Ferguson interim city manager Ed Beasley once worked, and he grew up in an area of South Philadelphia he describes as similar to Ferguson.

The previous police chief, Tom Jackson, resigned after a report from the Department of Justice found that Ferguson police routinely engaged in racially discriminatory policing practices.

Anderson said he would use the Justice Department’s recommendations to help “cultivate relationships that we know and hope will reshape our direction in the city of Ferguson.” He also plans to attract and hire more black police officers and institute more de-escalation and “bias awareness” training.

“The city of Ferguson and our Police Department have endured a tremendous amount of distrust during the past nine months,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said in a statement. “We understand that it will take time to once again gain the trust of everyone. We believe that Cmdr. Anderson can make recommendations to the Police Department that will be innovative and will have long-standing improvements for our citizens and to the entire community.”

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