LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — Lakewood’s new police chief begins work on Monday, according to the city.

Philip Smith has been the police chief in Roswell, New Mexico, for the last nine years, according to a release from Lakewood. He’s also taught at the university level on cultural diversity, law enforcement ethics and police administration.

“I am honored to have been selected as Lakewood’s police chief and look forward to working with the community and the Police Department to build a safer, stronger and more connected community,” Smith said in a statement.

The city said Smith has more than 37 years of law enforcement experience and described him as “dedicated to transparent policing” and improving police-community safety and relationships. They say he created “an innovative program” that enhanced public trust and safety in Roswell.

City Manager Kathy Hodgson hired Smith, as the city charter requires. Smith made the cut through a six-month selection process that included multiple interviews, meetings, panel discussions and residential feedback.

“The leadership of the Police Department has never been more critically important, and I am excited to welcome Philip Smith as the new police chief,” Hodgson said in a statement. “His extensive experience in law enforcement, leadership and community engagement make him a great fit for our city.”

Hodgson said Smith’s background “will be invaluable in addressing the complex challenges facing law enforcement today.” The new chief has a doctorate in organizational leadership, a master’s degree in criminal justice and a bachelor’s degree in social science and history.