Mike Gudgel was sworn in as the newest police chief for the city of Denison Monday night at a public ceremony at city hall. Gudgel was named the lone finalist in May to replace outgoing Chief Jay Burch who retired in February.

Gudgel came to Denison following several years of service with the Grand Prairie Police Department. A number of friends and family were present to witness his swearing in at City Hall.

“I am no stranger to Denison,” Gudgel said. “We’ve got family from the Texoma area. We have a farm inside Oklahoma where my dad is still living. When I was a child we would come through here either at the farm or Lake Texoma every weekend. I have known Denison my entire life.”

Gudgel said his long-term vision is to make the department better than it was when he took over. He said he believes it is already a professional organization and will get better under his leadership. He also said he is not looking backwards at any of the issues previously facing the department. He only wants to look forward to improving things, including the culture, as he strives to integrate into the community.

“I am a relationship guy,” Gudgel said. “We’ve been welcomed — me and my wife — like no other. Everybody has been so gracious to us. I am looking forward to being a resident of Denison.

Denison Mayor Janit Gott also spoke at the swearing-in ceremony.

“This is a very exciting evening for our community,” Gott said. “Although he actually came on board last week, tonight officially marks the beginning of a new era in our Denison Police Department with the ceremonial swearing in of an pinning of our new chief Mike Gudgel. Chief we have waiting a long time for you to get here. We have anticipated this day. Our community is very excited you are here.

Congratulating Gudgel and welcoming him to the Denison team, City Manager Jud Rex had a few words Monday night.

“We had a lot of applicants for this position,” Rex said. “It was a really easy choice. I got phone calls from all over the state highly recommending you. You made it a really easy decision. We’re excited to have you, the community is excited to have you. I think it is a good, fresh feeling here. You couldn’t be coming to Denison at a better time.”

Richard A. Todd is the Denison area reporter. He can be reached at RTodd@HeraldDemocrat.com.