When Mark Alley was named Chief of Police in 2000, he said he had no idea what he was in for, at least when it came to the increased work load.
"That was a little surprising to me," Alley said. "I was a hard worker, and always kept myself busy, but it was like a tidal wave of extra responsibilities."
Even though he had previously been a captain, issues involving personnel and budgeting were all new, as was his now very public persona.
"The media and public speaking engagements came flooding in," he said. "I really needed to get used to that."
Alley believes Szymanski, a former captain herself, is ready to take it all on, having been acting chief for about a year now, and doing that job quite well.
"She's had to weather a number of storms," Alley said. "Within weeks of me leaving, there were a number of homicides and she was very calm and purposeful during that time."
Community policing was a big issue with Alley and he believes to be successful that should continue. Neighborhood watch members tell News Ten they would like even more communication with the chief.
"We're trying to be more proactive," Michael Morofsky, a neighborhood watch leader in Colonial Village, said.
Morofsky said Szymanski often times met with his group when she was Captain and he hopes she will be just as accessible as the new chief. especially in light of the recent robberies across the city.
"They need to listen to neighbors more closely," Morofsky said. "I mean, we know about those problems with the businesses, but people want to believe they are safe where they live."
Which Alley said is a fundamental job of the chief, balancing fighting crime, with the fear of crime.
"You can't get away from good public relations and highlighting the good job officers are doing out in the community," Alley said.
And that, he said, comes with experience.
Doing more with less with be another challenge for the new chief according to Alley.
His budget was cut during the last years of his tenure, he expects that trend to continue for Chief Szymanski and she will have to get pretty creative to provide the same service with less resources.