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A small and predominately White town in central Kentucky has been the birthplace of many inaugural events.

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Called the “City of Firsts” by its residents, Danville has now added Tony Gray as its first African-American police chief, reports local paper The Advocate-Messenger.

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Gray, a lifelong native of Danville, was interim police chief after the town’s former top cop Jay Newell stepped down over health concerns. The hiring of Gray was not without some minor controversy after interim city manager Ron Scott spent $7500 dollars to the consulting firm The Mercer Group to help recruit candidates for the job. Scott’s decision drew ire from residents who felt Gray was more than qualified to lead the town’s police force. Mercer interviewed nearly 80 candidates, selecting 22 of them to be considered for the post.

Scott cut the list to seven and after a 20-minute executive commission meeting, he appointed Gray as Danville’s next police chief. Gray, a 27-year veteran of the force, will be officially sworn in on May 7. The new chief was gracious in receiving the nod from Scott.

““I am humbled and appreciative of the opportunity,” Gray said.  “We have a young department with a lot of potential and a great community, and I’m looking forward to it.”

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