Col. Darnell Weaver was sworn in as the superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police on Friday. Photo via Governor McKee's Facebook Page

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Col. Darnell Weaver was sworn in as the superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police on Friday, the 15th person to lead the agency, but the first person of color in the role.

“At this moment in time, I believe this is the moment to connect our communities with our law enforcement, not separate them,” Gov. Dan McKee said at a ceremony at the State House. “You have the skill and the ability to do just that.”

Weaver, who is Black, is a Marine Corps veteran who has been with the state police for 28 years, and has served in every barracks and in a variety of command roles.

“Today is not about me, but instead I would like today to be about the men and women of the state police and the people of the State of Rhode Island,” Weaver said.

“My message is simple. I promise the residents of this state that this agency will continue to earn your respect every day,” he said.

Weaver takes over from Col. James Manni, who is retiring to become town manager of South Kingstown.

Manni has known Weaver since 1994 when Weaver was in the state police academy. Manni described his successor as “very quiet, professional, compassionate, fair, trustworthy and dedicated.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press (AP) is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.