Dallas County's first black sheriff sworn into office

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By Associated Press

DALLAS — Dallas County has sworn in its first black sheriff to lead the nation’s seventh-largest jail system after former sheriff Lupe Valdez resigned to run for governor.

Marian Brown took the oath during a midnight ceremony Monday. The Dallas Morning News reports that Brown has been with the department for three years and was Valdez’s recommended choice for a successor.

"I think it’s important for us to start the new year together as a unit," she said in a speech after taking the oath. "Tonight is a historical night for various reasons. I want it to be a historical night because it is the night that we recommit to why we organically became police officers."

The 52-year-old Brown will serve as interim sheriff until voters elect a new sheriff in November.

Marian BrownDallas County Sheriff's Office

Brown has said her priorities will be learning more about jail issues and focusing on rebuilding trust between the community and the department.

Valdez stepped down in December after 12 years as Texas’ first openly gay, Hispanic sheriff. She’s now running for the Democratic nomination to try to unseat Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

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Chandelis R. Duster contributed.