CEDAR LAKE — New Police Chief David Coulson marked his first Christmas in town by leading one of its most beloved events: the annual Festival of Lights parade.

Coulson, who visited with a handful of residents during a Meet the Chief night at Town Hall, told the group the parade was a highlight and that, “I am honored and humbled to be here and (be part of) the growth in this community.”

Coulson was sworn in on Oct. 17, taking the place of longtime officer and Chief Gerald “Jerry" Smith, who announced his retirement earlier in the year. Deputy Chief Carl Brittingham served as deputy chief until Coulson’s official start date on Nov. 1.

Coulson’s meeting with residents was a way to introduce himself to the community. He said he would be amenable to holding such meetings in the future.

Coulson said his goals for the department include building on what the department has already accomplished and focusing on community policing as well as working with area businesses.

Coulson began his 37-year career in the Region, serving as an officer in the Highland Police Department. He was hired by the Department of Justice to work for the department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, often working with local departments on violent crime and gang issues. At the time of his retirement from DOJ, he was the local public information officer for the ATF.