LIVERMORE -- After a three-month long nationwide search, the city has a new top cop.

Livermore City Manager Marc Roberts on Wednesday announced the appointment of Modesto police Capt. Michael Harris as the city's chief of police. Harris, 44, will begin his duties Aug. 19.

"It is an honor to have been selected to serve as the police chief for the city of Livermore," Harris said in a news release. "I take this responsibility very seriously and will always strive to earn and maintain the trust of both the members of the department and the community."

Born and raised in Modesto, Harris began his law enforcement career in 1990 with the Oakdale Police Department. He transferred to Modesto, where he became a captain, and most recently served as commander of the department's Operations Division.

While in Modesto, Harris worked on the SWAT team, Crimes Against Children unit and Internal Affairs. He holds a master's degree in emergency services administration from Cal State Long Beach and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Harris is married with five children. He beat out 31 other candidates for the job and will earn an annual salary of $177,375, according to the city. He succeeds interim chief Randy Sonnenberg, who took over temporarily for former Chief Steve Sweeney. Sweeney retired in March after 29 years with the department.

Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.