With the oath of office said and badge and stars pinned to his uniform, Zachary Flores’ promotion to chief of the Sherman Police Department was celebrated Tuesday afternoon.

Inside the council chambers of the Sherman City Hall, a crowd of family, city officials and area police officers welcomed the new 31-year-old chief to the position. City Manger Robby Hefton outlined Flores’ background and career in the city, and he thank Flores for accepting the position during the ceremony.

“We have a great police department; they serve the community well,” Hefton said to Flores. “They have a heart to serve others, and they deserve a man like you that cares for them, that will minister to them and will lead them in a way that reflects Christ.”

Flores then said the oath of office, led by City Clerk Linda Ashby, and swore to faithfully execute the duties of the office and to serve, protect and defend the Constitution and laws of the country and state. Following the oath, Robert Flores, a deputy chief of the Allen Police Department, pinned the badge onto his son’s chest. Robert Flores said after the ceremony he is very proud of his son and excited for him.

“Zach has always made his own decisions — he’s always made good decisions — and I’m very proud of that,” Robert Flores said. “I think he’ll do good things for the city of Sherman because his heart is in it.”

Zachary Flores’ mother, Denise Morrow, and his wife, Lindsey Flores, then pinned stars onto his uniform, indicating his new rank. Lindsey Flores said after the ceremony that she’s excited to see what he does in this job.

“We’re very appreciative of the administration in this city and the entire police department,” Lindsey Flores said. “They have really rallied behind him and totally have supported him during this time. We could not have asked for better people for him to work with. I and the girls are so super proud of him.”

Flores, who graduated from Trenton High School in 2003, joined the Sherman Police Department as a patrol officer in 2007. In 2015, he was promoted to sergeant. Later that same year, he left the police department to work in city management. Flores previously said the move was a career decision to expand his role in city government. Flores holds several degrees including a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, and he also has a Texas Master Peace Officer’s License.

The city announced on Dec. 8 that former police Chief Otis Henry would retire effective Jan. 1. On Dec. 12, the city named Henry’s replacement as Flores who became the acting chief the same day. The city council unanimously confirmed Flores as chief at the Dec. 19 meeting.

Henry joined the Sherman Police Department in 1983, and became an assistant chief in 2005. Following Tom Watt’s retirement, Henry was sworn in as chief in March 2013. Henry was not present for the ceremony Monday and previously did not return calls or emails seeking comment on his retirement.

Flores said he plans to enact change and pick up the positive initiatives where Henry left off. He said on the top of the list is creating an environment where officers and staff enjoy the work they do. He said the department is also laying the groundwork for a citizens police academy that aims to better bring the community into the police department. He said the department in the research stage right not, but they plan to keep moving forward with it.

“Hopefully it will grow that into a citizens on patrol program where we actually have citizens working in police department with us,” Flores said. “That’s one of the goals we have right off the bat.”

Hefton said if Flores continues to demonstrate the qualities that brought him to where he is now, he should have success.

“The strength of Zach isn’t that he has decades of experience in police work, it’s that he has enough experience in police work and exceptional qualities,” Hefton said. “He’s a strong person, a strong man, a Godly man who cares about other people.”

Hefton noted that a retirement celebration for Henry is still in the works for this month, and it will be announced as it becomes more concrete.

Flores said during the ceremony that it’s the people he works with that makes him shine and able to do the job well.

“I mentioned before that I’m not the best police officer, I’m not the best dispatcher, I’m not the best at doing evidence, but we do have them — we have those people,” Flores said during the ceremony. “We do have the best police officers, we do have the best people in evidence, the best dispatchers.”