By Erick Johnson, Gary Crusader
Gary Lt. Richard Allen on Monday, January 8, was sworn in as the city’s new police chief, one day after Larry McKinley abruptly resigned after serving three years on the job.
Relatives, friends and city leaders packed the council room at City Hall as Allen took the oath administered by Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. Minutes later, Allen announced Special Operations Commander Brian Evans, 48, as his deputy chief.
The swift transition of leadership left little time for Gary residents to process it all after they received news of McKinley’s sudden resignation January 7 from a department that has struggled to reduce crime and keep the city’s streets safe. Fresh from the first weekend of 2018, people began arriving at City Hall to help usher in a new era in the police department. The mayor did not explain the reasons for McKinley’s resignation. The former police chief will still be in the department in another position, though it’s not clear what job he will have.
In a statement, McKinley stated, “I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to lead the men and women of the Gary Police Department. I look forward to seeing the department move forward.”
“Chief McKinley has ably served this department,” Wilson said. “I respect his decision to look to the future as he closes in on the 20-year mark with the Gary Police Department. His care for crime victims and their families, work to incorporate data into policing as well as the relationship he has built with the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Department of Justice Diagnostic Center, have positioned us to take the Gary Police Department to the next level. The city of Gary will be forever indebted to Chief McKinley for his service.”
Allen is a 23-year veteran of the Gary Police Department, having worked in Patrol, Community Policing, and Crime Scene Investigations. He has also served the department as a supervisor in Auto Detail and the Internal Affairs Division as well as a Commander over the Supportive Services Division. Allen is a 1983 graduate of Roosevelt High School and served his country as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps from 1983-1987.
In response to his appointment, Allen stated, “I am honored to serve the citizens of Gary and the men and women of the Gary Police Department. I look forward to working with a dedicated team to enhance camaraderie among the members of the department, work with another city staff and increase police and community trust among those who live in and visit this community.”
“Richard Allen has risen through the ranks of the Gary Police Department and has seen all aspects of the department. His knowledge and expertise should serve him well as the new Chief and should equip him to lead,” said Freeman-Wilson.
In announcing his new deputy chief, Allen said he knew Evans before they joined the department.
“Commander Evans is a good man, and I trust him. And together, along with the men and women of the Gary Police Department, the command staff, I hope that we will serve you well and do an outstanding job,” Allen said.
In addition, six new police officers wore sworn in at City Hall Monday.