BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut’s biggest city will soon have a new top cop.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim announced on Thursday that Roderick Porter will be the department’s next police chief.

“I just want to say how thankful I am for this opportunity and how aware I am of the importance of this opportunity,” Porter said during the announcement.

Porter joined the Bridgeport Police Department in 1993 and rose through the ranks during his nearly 30-year career. He retired a few months ago, but will be back in this new role. 

“When the opportunity presented itself, I naturally jumped on it,” Porter said.

He said his priorities include tackling crime, improving quality of life, boosting morale within the department and recruiting to combat staffing shortages.

“I live here,” he said. “It’s important that we have good police and services here in Bridgeport.”

The city’s police department has faced challenges these past few years. Former police chief Armando Perez was arrested in September 2020 on federal charges that the exam was rigged to give him the job. He ultimately pleaded guilty and served time in prison.

The department also came under fire for the way they handled the investigations into the deaths of Lauren Smith-Fields and Brenda Lee Rawls, two women who died on the same day in December 2021.

“We should be better,” Porter told News 8. “We’re going to be better. Give us a chance.”

Meanwhile, there have been complaints of discrimination. Porter himself filed a federal lawsuit claiming racial discrimination and retaliation for complaining about discrimination. It’s something Ganim said the city is working to address. 

“I know the chief’s going to reach out to make sure if there are feelings like that, they’re addressed,” Ganim said. “And make sure they’re treated fairly.”

Porter said he’s looking at this not as a challenge, but an opportunity for change. 

“We can build upon the issues that we’ve had and create some new things,” Porter said. “I think that’s what we want to do.”

Ganim said Porter will be sworn in on Dec. 1. The appointment is for five years.