PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) — Col. Darnell Weaver was sworn in as superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police on Friday, the 15th person to lead the agency but the first person of color in the role.

“Right now, I believe, is the time to connect our communities to our law enforcement, not separate them,” Gov. Dan McKee said during a State House ceremony. “You have the skills and the ability to do just that.”

Weaver, who is black, is a Marine Corps veteran who has worked in the state police for 28 years and has served in all barracks and various command roles.

“Today is not about me, but rather I would like today to be about the men and women of the State Police and the people of the State of Rhode Island,” said said Weaver.

“My message is simple. I promise the people of this state that this agency will continue to earn your respect every day,” he said.

Weaver succeeds Colonel James Manni, who is retires to become City Manager of South Kingstown.

Manni has known Weaver since 1994, when Weaver was at the state police academy. Manni described his successor as “very calm, professional, compassionate, fair, trustworthy and dedicated”.

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