Vince Demasi, new West Palm Beach police chief, believes in transparency, community

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The new chief of the West Palm Beach Police Department is a self-described "simple, down to earth guy" that needs to up his golf game.

In the tough world law enforcement -- where personality is a strength -- Vince Demasi said he would work to keep crime down as he worked to change what is often a broader public perception about police.

"I think they are legitimate concerns," Demasi said. "The way you bridge it is through transparency. And, you invite people in. And, you encourage them to participate."

Demasi, who spent more than three decades working his way up the ranks of the Cincinnati Police Department, said West Palm Beach -- with its lower crime rate -- shared many of the challenges his former city.

"The crime rates are relatively low as compared to where I came from. But, you know, you say that and no crime is acceptable," he said."There's going to be problems. There's going to be gaps within your community. There are problem areas where you'll have to focus. It has to be a very holistic kind of approach. It's not just the police. It' the whole city working together to try to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens."

Mayor Jeri Muoio hired Demasi earlier this year after a national search.

In Cincinnati, he said the 2001 riots -- and his family -- shaped the person he is today.

"Being a dad is probably the most difficult thing I have ever gone through. And, caused my baldness," he said. "From a professional standpoint, this is without a doubt probably one of the most challenging things I have ever undertaken."

Demasi joined the West Palm Beach Police Department on Monday.

He will be formally sworn in on Friday.

Demasi replaces Delsa Bush who resigned in 2011.

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