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The Athens City Council approved the hiring of John Densmore Monday night as its new police chief.

The Athens City Council made a move on Monday that hasn't occurred many times over the past half century. It chose a new Chief of Police.

Police veteran John Densmore comes to Athens from the Cedar Hill Police Department, where he was a lieutenant.

"The City of Athens has been extremely thorough in its search for a new police chief," City Manager Elizabeth Borstad said. "Mr. Densmore is a well-qualified, experienced individual with a passion for law-enforcement. I look forward to working with him."

Densmore told the City Council he can't wait to get started.

"The group of guys I met has been fantastic," he said. "Chief Rodney Williams is going to be great to work with. Everybody I've met in the city has been very welcoming."

Densmore said he would turn in his retirement letter to Cedar Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Athens received 42 applications to replace Chief Buddy Hill, who retired from the force in September.

Mayor Monte Montgomery said the search firm, Baker-Tilley did a good job in helping the city find the best 13. From there, the list was further trimmed to five finalists. The remaining contenders interviewed with city staff, a panel of local law enforcement officials, a citizens committee, and the City Council.

The final five were:

• Brian Windham, Police Chief, Ovilla PD

• Frank Ramirez, Administrative Lieutenant, Port Arthur PD

• John Densmore, Platoon Patrol Lieutenant/Traffic Lieutenant, Cedar Hill PD.

• James Hines, Major, Fort Bend Sheriff's Office.

• Rodney Williams III, interim Police Chief Athens PD.

"It was a very good process, in my opinion," Densmore said. "It included the public, the department heads and the city council. It was just very thorough."

The APD chief position has been the model of stability for more than 50 years.

Beginning in 1969, David Harris held the position for a record 33 years, until his retirement in 2002. Jim Vance, who had served with the Garland Police Department stepped into the role in 2003 and left in 2006. Buddy Hill was promoted from Assistant Chief to Chief in 2007 and stayed until September 2020. Since then, Assistant Chief Rodney Williams III has filled in as interim.

Densmore is scheduled to take over the reins on Feb. 8.

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