NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – The North Miami Police Department has a new top cop, as Gary Eugene was sworn in Tuesday as the city's police chief.
Eugene is a 30-year law enforcement veteran and has worked for the North Miami Police Department since 2013.
He was appointed assistant police chief in December and has quickly worked his way up.
Eugene began his career as a detective with the city of Miami Police Department in 1985.
He worked his way through the ranks, and in 1996 he became the first Haitian-born lieutenant within the department, serving the Little Haiti community.
"I hope that this tradition is going to a send a message to the Haitian youth," Eugene said. "The sky is the limit."
Eugene holds a master's degree in criminal justice from Florida International University, a bachelor's degree in liberal studies from Barry University and an associate's degree in criminal justice from Miami-Dade College. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Southern Police Institute (S.P.I.) in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Senior Management Institute for Police Executives (S.M.I.P.) at Harvard's Kennedy School.
Eugene's awards and commendations include several citations from the U.S. Coast Guard for his services during a seven-month period that he spent participating in search and rescue operations throughout the Caribbean Sea.
He said he hopes to build a stronger relationship between the police and the community they serve after recent police-involved shootings across the country that have caused controversy.
"It is not easy, but so often we talk about building a bridge between the community and the police departments," Eugene said. "I believe if we do what we are paid to do, there would be no need for the bridge."