SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – On Wednesday afternoon, 42-year veteran of the Shreveport Police Department, Wayne Smith, was named as the city’s new chief of Police.

With the announcement Chief Smith has held every rank possible within the department over a professional lifetime of service. Today serving as the culmination of a lifetime goal.

“I’ve served this community during its worst and its best time,” said Chief Smith. “And I’m still just as excited today to come and serve this community as I was 40-plus years ago.”

In the eight months he served as Interim Chief replacing Ben Raymond, Smith implemented changes in patrol hours logged, increasing officer visibility on city streets. He helped get more marked police vehicles on the roadways and backed critical incident training helping officers deal with those they come across suffering from mental health episodes. According to Mayor Adrian Perkins, it’s changes like these which made the decision easy.

“When I asked him to be the interim police chief, Chief Smith immediately stepped up to the challenge. Knowing what our city was facing and he implemented a lot of changes to address crime in our city,” said Perkins.

One of Smith’s biggest challenges remains officer recruitment and retention. The department is still more than 100 officers short.

“Part of the difficult task of being a leader of an organization is constantly re-prioritizing and re-deploying resources that you have to work with,” said Chief Smith.

He says approved pay raises for his officers and tax payers backing the public safety bond initiative will help immensely. He says so will the return of auxiliary police recruiting and the department expanding their lateral transfer process.

“We have made it a lot easier for post certified officers from around our state to come and join our family of servants,” said Smith.

He says resulting in raised expectations within the department.

“I’m reporting to you today that positive change is being made,” said Smith. “And progress is being made.”