WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — The new chief of Winston-Salem’s police department has been announced.

The Winston-Salem City Manager Lee Garrity announced the appointment of Assistant Chief William Penn Jr. to the role on Monday. This is effective immediately.

Penn, 48, was selected from among four finalists for the position. Garrity said that he was looking for a strong leader who knows the community and can address the vacancies in the department and other pressing issues.

“It’s vital that our next police chief is able to inspire confidence within the department, to improve morale and to make the Winston-Salem Police Department a place where dedicated officers come to build careers,” he said.

Penn has served with the police department for 25 years and has pledged to lead the department, and the city, through a challenging period marked by violence.

“Although I’m honored and excited about the opportunity to lead this department, the gravity of this position is not lost on me,” he said. “As we are all reeling over the despicable video of Tyre Nichols’ killing, I want to assure the community that the actions depicted in the video do not represent the Winston-Salem Police Department and our values.

“The violence in our community must stop and we must all work together to provide healthy alternatives to violence to resolve conflict.”

Police chief Catrina Thompson’s last day was on Dec. 31, 2022 after spending nearly 30 years on the force and five years as chief.