FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The new Fort Smith Police Chief Nathaniel Clark was sworn in and began performing his duties Monday (Jan.9).
"I am all moved in and I am officially a Fort Smithian," Clark said.
Clark is the former Pine Bluff Police Chief and Albany, Georgia Deputy Police Chief. He said he had a busy first day and is motivated to begin his first orders of business as the police chief.
"Well first and foremost, I want to go back and meet with my staff," Clark said. "It's critical that I meet with everybody in the community that I can; go back and review departmental policies to ensure those policies are in line."
Clark is the first African-American police chief at the Fort Smith department. He addressed diversity within the department, an issue that has been criticized in the past.
"Your police department should be a mirror of the community that you serve," Clark said. "So diversity is key because when you do not have a diverse organization then you forgo a critical component of the people you serve, but the end of the day, as police chief I want the most qualified applicant."
Another obstacle Clark faces is planning the future of the department nearly a year after former Chief Kevin Lindsay resigned. Lindsay resigned amid allegations he made racial remarks in front of a city employee.
"I don't look at it as a challenge. I look at it as opportunities to utilize my training, my experience that I have been blessed with, to come here to the city of Fort Smith and to form lasting partnerships with my internal staff and with this community. To take this department to new horizons," Clark said.
As he evaluates the police department, Clark said he wants the community to know one thing.
"Get ready because change is coming," he said.
Clark was officially sworn in Monday, but a public ceremony is planned for later this month.