The town of Marana has a new police chief, Jeffrey Pridgett.

As he climbed the ranks in his 20 years working there, he’s now blazing a trail as the first black chief in the town’s history.

KGUN 9’s Denelle Veselik sat down with him to talk about his new role and what he plans on doing for the department and the town.

Pridgett has been rising through the ranks since he first started at Marana PD.

“I started with the Marana Police Department in 2003. I’ve held various assignments since then,” Pridgett said. “I’ve been a school resource officer at the Marana Middle School, been a motor officer, Sergeant in Training, CIU which is our Criminal Investigations Unit and then also our officer professional standards.”

Pridgett says his first mission as chief is to bring his men and women together.

“Yeah, right now, you know, I’m not looking at making any major changes yet,” Pridgett said. “We have a lot of promotions that are going to be happening here in the next few months. So I want to wait and get the rest of the leadership team set in place. And then what we’ll do is we’ll sit down, we’ll discuss a strategic plan on which direction we want to go for the next five years, next 10 years, next 15 years.”

For him, his position is especially sweet since he grew up in Marana, a place where he met his wife and raised his three sons.

“It’s a great feeling. At first it was justit took me a while to process it, you know, because, you know, everybody’s like, ‘Oh, you grew up here in Marana and you’re the first chief to rise to the ranks’,” Pridgett said. “So it was a bit hard to believe at first, but now it’s starting to settle in, the reality of it.”

The chief also reflected on making history for the department.

“You know, being the first black chief for the town of Marana is absolutely an honor. But for me, it’s bigger than just me,” Pridgett said. “It’s showing these other kids out here. You know, I grew up in my neighborhood or Marana, you know, I look at it as it’s being inspirational for them. So that’s the biggest takeaway for me.”

As for the biggest challenges he believes his department will face:

“So I think the biggest challenge for us is going to be the growth that’s coming into the town for the next few years,” Pridgett said. “Just really trying to make sure that our level of service is on par with what is expected from the community.”

Chief Pridgett will be sworn in officially later this month.

“So I’m excited to just be in this role and to keep that momentum going. I know the rest of the command staff is, all the employees are as well,” Pridgett said. “They’re excited. You know, this is a very pivotal moment in time for our department. But we’re going to navigate through this successfully and it’s going to be great.”