The new Albany Chief of Police was ready to greet the community with open arms on Friday.

The Albany Police Department held a pop-up barbeque Friday night. The department had a lot to celebrate, including welcoming the new Chief of Police Eric Hawkins to the community.

“This is inspiring to see this,” Hawkins said.

Even though it was his third day on the job, Hawkins has already hit the ground running.

“Clearly, what the community is telling me is that they are satisfied with what is happening,” he said. “They’re proud of what’s happened, but they expect me to help take this to the next level.”

Hawkins plans to do exactly that by establishing a sort of inner circle to help develop the department’s potential.

“I need people on the inside to tell me what this police department is capable of,” he said. “What the promise and potential is. And we can take those things and fill in the gaps and move ourselves to a higher level.”

Hawkins got a chance to practice his football technique, and the community seemed just as excited to be out with the officers.

“It gives them the ability to interact with other children safely,” community member Ilona Frenkel said. “If there’s a police department, I’m assuming its safe.”

Kids got to interact with officers through food and games such as kickball.

The department plans to have more pop up barbeques throughout the season.