Yvette Gentry, a Black woman, named interim police chief in Louisville

She'll be the first woman and the third African American to serve as chief of the Louisville Metro Police, even if it's only until a permanent chief is named.

Lifetime public servant Yvette Gentry was named Louisville, Kentucky’s interim police chief by its mayor on Monday, the first Black woman to ever serve in the position.

Formerly Louisville’s chief of community building, Gentry worked as a police officer for 20 years before moving up in its ranks and retiring in 2014. The interim chief is replacing recently-retired interim chief Robert Schroeder, CNN reported.

Yvette Gentry will be the first woman and the third Black to serve as chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, even if it’s temporary.

Gentry — the first woman and third Black to serve as chief of the Louisville Metro Police — starts the job Oct. 1. She adds diversity and representation to the department at a time of unyielding racial unrest following the unarmed police killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and, in the city she serves, Breonna Taylor, a case for whom no officer has been held responsible.

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“Yvette brings the kind of unique experience and strong community relationships needed to lead LMPD until a permanent chief is in place, and she is passionate about working to help her city reimagine public safety and address systemic racism,” said Mayor Fischer in a press conference. 

According to CNN, the interim chief hasn’t applied for the permanent role. Gentry will reportedly hold the position for no more than six months.

“I appreciate the opportunity,” Gentry said Monday after her promotion. “This was not easy for us, Greg Fischer, was it? This is going to signal some change. A new day is coming.”

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Former Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad was fired in relation to the shooting of a local eatery owner killed by police during a demonstration. Recent protests there and on other U.S. cities have been centered around advocating for justice, with an emphasis on specific issues like police brutality.  

Taylor’s killers have still not been arrested. She was shot when LMPD officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove forced their way into her apartment on March 13.

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The protests following Taylor’s death and other police shootings point to a broken system, The Washington Post reported.

According to reports, Gentry is dedicated to doing the work until a new permanent chief is selected. More than 20 applicants are in contention.

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