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Ferguson names new police chief

Outgoing Police Chief Jason Armstrong is leaving the department for a job in his home state of North Carolina.

FERGUSON, Mo. — The City of Ferguson has chosen its new police chief, promoting Assistant Chief Frank McCall to the position.

"We believe his appointment as the new chief of police will provide the City of Ferguson and its citizens with strong leadership, excellent service, and stability as we continue our community-based police reform efforts," the city said in a statement released Thursday.

Outgoing Police Chief Jason Armstrong is leaving the department for a job at the Apex Police Department in his home state of North Carolina. 

Ferguson has struggled to retain a police chief; McCall will be the department's seventh police chief in as many years.

McCall served as the city's interim police chief after Delrish Moss stepped down in 2018. He's been with the department for five years.

5 On Your Side sat down with McCall on Thursday. He said he was with the Berkeley Police Department for about 25 years and held every ranking position, including police chief for about eight years. 

McCall transferred to Ferguson after the unrest in 2014. 

"When all of this occurred, I wanted to try to be part of the change. Initially, I was the consent decree coordinator," he said.

A key tool now, as he will lead a department under this agreement. 

The department has been under federal scrutiny since a Ferguson officer shot and killed Michael Brown in 2014. The shooting sparked months of protests and eventually led to the Department of Justice investigation.

Ferguson and U.S. Department of Justice entered into a consent decree in 2016, which requires a review of the police department's policies and procedures.

McCall's biggest goal is to continue mending the bond between the police department and the community. 

"The most important role that we hold is trying to bring additional unity. It’s not about policing the community, it’s about serving the community," he said. 

McCall has been a part of the St. Louis community since 1988 and knows the complex issues in Ferguson. 

"I am committed to this community because we share this community. I want to try to be accessible and approachable. We’re here to serve, we’re here to protect. No police officer solves crimes by themselves. Your primary ally to get that accomplished is the citizens in your community. If they’re not comfortable talking to you, you won’t solve anything. You have to give them that sense of security," he said.

Next week, McCall and Armstrong will meet to go over matters such as the consent decree and the budget passed for the department.

McCall and Armstrong will work together to "ensure a smooth and peaceful transition of power and institutional knowledge." It will be a quick transition, as Armstrong is scheduled to start his new job on Aug. 2.

McCall will officially take the title, once Armstrong leaves at the end of the month. 

"We got a lot of work to do. Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen progress. Now it’s on me to continue to make those contributions. I’m not going to let them down," McCall said.

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