LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After an abrupt change in leadership for Jeffersonville Police, the new chief appointed is making history and says he is ready to take charge.

The announcement came unexpectedly Monday as Mayor Mike Moore demoted Chief Chris Grimm and announced 21-year veteran Kenny Kavanaugh would take his place.

"To have this opportunity within our agency to move higher, I really appreciated that opportunity that presented itself, and I'm ready to serve," Chief Kavanaugh said.

In the past, he has taken on many roles with Jeffersonville Police, including patrolman, detective, drug task force member, swat team commander and a member of the command staff.

He now becomes the first African American chief in Jeffersonville.

"This is an honor and this is a privilege...to be a part of history and to be a part of this fine city of Jeffersonville where I've been born and raised my entire life," he said.

His father, Les Kavanaugh, is also a familiar face in the community. He's the Clark County emergency management director who also made history in this community. He was the first African American firefighter in Jeffersonville in 1966.

"I just felt that there was something greater than I was, and that's my community," Les Kavanaugh said. "And I think that carried over to Kenny."

He says it has been an honor watching his son take the top role at the police department.

"We're just so excited and proud of him," he added.

Chief Kavanaugh replaces Chris Grimm, who served as chief for more than three years, and was demoted to the position of Lieutenant.

Mayor Mike Moore says he cannot say why the 22-year veteran of the department was demoted.

Moore says he is just coming in with new ideas.

"He's well thought of in his neighborhood and throughout the community," he said of Kavanaugh. "I just believe the qualities that he brings forward are limitless."

As for the direction Kavanaugh would like to take the department, he says being more involved in the community is key.

"We need to focus and get back into these neighborhoods and see exactly what's going on and where we can serve the community and the public," Kavanaugh said.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All rights reserved.