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Howard sworn in as Lancaster’s new police chief

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Today is her first day as head of department

By Jesef Williams

No empty seats were in sight. Visitors lined the walls inside council chambers, while dozens of others packed the lobby.
Officials said they had never seen Lancaster City Hall more crowded before.
Nearly 200 people came out Tuesday night for the swearing-in ceremony for four City Council members and Harlean Howard as the new police chief.
Many of the people on hand were there to support Howard, who is the first woman to head the Lancaster Police Department.
Her first official day as chief is today. She is succeeding Hugh White, who retired after holding the position for the past 11 years.
Howard said she’s humbled and grateful for the opportunity. She thanked God, her family, friends and other supporters.
“I have such strong faith and belief in his (God’s) power,” said Howard, who’s been with the police department for 20 years. “I believe it is he who has led me to this day.”
Howard’s children and other close family members surrounded her as she took the oath of office, administered by Municipal Court Judge Robert Davis.
After Howard was sworn in, she addressed the crowd about what the moment meant to her and her visions for the police department. She said she’s there to support the department’s officers, many of whom stood near her as she spoke.
“Please know that I have your best interest at heart and I’ll do everything in my power to help you make Lancaster an ever better place to live,” Howard said to her staff.
She said continued community partnerships are important.
“It’s not about me. It’s not about the police department,” Howard said. “It’s about our city moving forward together.”
White, who handed over the department’s chief badge to Howard on Tuesday, said City Council couldn’t have made a better choice for the new chief.
“She’s someone I’ve always been able to depend on. She’s been right there.” White said. “She’ll do a wonderful job.”
Council members take oath of office
Before Howard was sworn in, four City Council members who won re-election in November took the oath of office Tuesday.
Council members Kenneth Hood (District 1), Gonzie Mackey (District 2), John Howard (District 5) and Mayor Joe Shaw were sworn into new terms.
Shaw, who’s been Lancaster’s mayor for 28 years, thanked residents for their continued support.
“I look forward to the next four years,” Shaw said. “You’re going to see even greater things through this City Council.”

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or (803) 283-1152