A 36-year veteran of Savannah's police department has been named the city's first black police chief.

Mayor Otis Johnson announced Wednesday that officials have chosen 60-year-old Willie Lovett to lead the Savannah-Chatham County Metropolitan Police Department.

Lovett is a Savannah native who joined the department in 1973 after serving in the Army.

Lovett served as assistant chief under Michael Berkow, who left the Savannah department's top job last fall.

Lovett has filled in as interim police chief for the past seven months.

City officials announced Lovett as their only finalist for the chief's job.

Because of that, state law dictates that he can't be formally offered the position for two weeks.