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NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The city of Newport officially has a new police chief.

Ryan Duffy, a more than 22-year veteran of the department, has now taken the helm and told 12 News his mission is to continue building community.

Mayor Xay Khamsyvoravong said the choice for the new chief came down to two candidates.

“Chief Duffy obviously is the man who came out on top and we’re very confident in his leadership moving forward,” Khamsyvoravong said.

Duffy has been the department’s acting chief since longtime leader Gary Silva retired earlier this year. Duffy began working in the department in December 2000 and has risen through the ranks.

When asked about his vision for Newport police, Duffy said he wants to prioritize small interactions with residents as a way to build trust.

“Having the community’s trust is imperative for their police force and I’ll be focusing on ever building that trust between the police department and the community,” Duffy said.

He also said the department — like others in the state — is having trouble recruiting.

“We are putting a lot of effort in investing a lot of energy into doing the recruiting,” Duffy added. “We’re attempting to use more applications in the process as far as recruiting. Getting our brand out there. Getting more people to know that we are hiring and know what we’re all about.”

Duffy called it an honor to be named chief and credited his evolving role within the department as a reason he was able to land the job.

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