MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Manny Morales sat down with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench for his first interview since officially becoming the chief of the Miami Police Department.

The 51-year-old joined Miami PD 28 years ago, and had been the interim chief since October after Art Acevedo was fired.

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Morales, who has worked all three divisions of the department, will oversee near 1,300 officers.

He told D’Oench his priorities are the same as when he took over for Acevedo.

“Continue to reduce firearm violence and make neighborhoods safe. I believe every neighborhood, everyone community in this city has the right to have their children Olay safely in their front yard and not have their children be the victim of gun violence,” he said.

Morales says he wants the community’s support.

“I want to restore the community faith and trust in our police. And you do that with the police constitution and fairly,” he said. “And I want to improve officer morale and wellbeing for the brave men and women in the police department.”

WATCH Part 2 Of Peter D’Oench’s Interview With Chief Manny Morales

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He wants his officers to show sensitivity and strength.

“I feel that the department has come a long way. We have to be mindful of de-escalating situations. With the advent of body worn cameras, this is an incredible thing for an officer to be able to see the manner of behaving and enhance corrective action,” Morales said.

Morales says he has high standards for his officers.

“I demand of our officers and hold them accountable and they had better treat the community with respect and compassion every time there is an encounter out there,” he said. “Sometimes there are encounters where police have to defend themselves, but that is a small percentage of what we respond to.”

Morales started his career as a patrolman and has worked as a field training officer and has supervised crime prevention teams.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told D’Oench why he supports Morales.

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“Chief Morales did a great job while he was interim chief. That is reflected in the numbers when I look at the chief. The homicide rate last year was down 23%. This year it is down over 40%. I think what makes a city successful is its safety and that the people feel safe in the city. We need a chief that is all over it 24-7 and will be proactive and will be innovative,” the mayor said.

Peter D'Oench