FERGUSON, Mo. — Ferguson’s next interim top cop said his top priorities will be to build trust and relationships with residents and improve community policing.

FERGUSON, Mo. — Ferguson’s next interim top cop said his top priorities will be to build trust and relationships with residents and improve community policing.


"I believe I am the right particular person for this job," Andre Anderson said during a news conference Wednesday in Ferguson where his selection was announced.


Anderson, 50, has spent 24 years with the force in Glendale, Ariz., where he is now police commander. Glendale is the same city from which the Ferguson City Council recently selected its interim city manager, Ed Beasley.


Anderson will take a six-month leave of absence from the Glendale department to serve the city of Ferguson. His first day is Thursday. Officials did not disclose his compensation with Ferguson.


City officials said they did not know how many candidates were considered for the position because of the departure of certain employees previously involved in making those decisions. Beasley said he personally interviewed two individuals and landed on Anderson.


Beasley said Anderson is known "for his ability not only to lead but for his innovation." He said it’s not a coincidence that the city hired another Glendale employee to come to Ferguson.


"We picked the best person," Beasley said. He noted that Anderson contacted Beasley about the police chief position in Ferguson.


Anderson said among his top priorities will be to attract qualified candidates to the department that have character, respect and cultural awareness.


Anderson also plans to lead de-escalation and bias awareness training for officers.


Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said Anderson has the "right mentality toward policing."


Anderson said Wednesday that he was "truly humbled and honored" to be selected.


"I am asking city of Ferguson community members … and leaders if we can set a course in the history books that clearly proves that peace prevails," Anderson said Wednesday.


According to the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Anderson is not yet a licensed officer in Missouri. He can still serve in an administrative capacity in Ferguson but cannot make arrests without the licensure.


"I won’t be able to write tickets," Anderson said. "My emphasis will be on leading police officers."


The process to become licensed in the state can be completed in 30 days, according to the department.


According to the city of Glendale, Anderson is using his vacation time for the six-month leave. Once he uses up his vacation time, he will be taking a "leave without pay through January of 2016," according to information provided by Glendale human resource director Jim Brown, through deputy city clerk, Darcie McCracken.


Anderson’s online resume lists his title as Criminal Investigations Commander for Glendale police, and says he holds a master’s degree in education and leadership from Northern Arizona University.


Anderson was making about $125,000 in Glendale. It unclear what he is being paid in Ferguson.


Tom Jackson, who was chief when Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown and during the protests that followed, resigned shortly after a report from the Department of Justice in March. It strongly criticized the city’s police and court operations. Jackson’s salary was about $95,000.


Deputy Chief Al Eickhoff had been interim chief since. He will remain in the department, sources said.


Anderson is listed as an executive board member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives on the group’s website.


In 1999, the Arizona Republic wrote about how Anderson, as a police officer, mentored and coached at-risk youth at a boxing gym. The profile says Anderson grew up in Philadelphia, boxed his way through the Army as a "formidable amateur" and later moved to Arizona and won two professional fights. Injuries from being hit by a car while fixing a flat tire ended his boxing career.


He then worked as a prison guard in Arizona before joining the Glendale Police Department.


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