Yvette Gentry will be Louisville Metro Police’s newest interim police chief after current Interim Chief Robert Schroeder, after a mere few months in the role, announced his plans to retire at the end of September, Mayor Greg Fischer announced on Monday.
According to CNN, Gentry, 50, originally served as an officer for more than 20 years before becoming chief of community building in the city government. Now, however, she is returning to the force as the first woman and only the third African-American to serve as chief, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.
Fischer signaled in his statement that Gentry is looking forward to reimagining public safety and addressing the racism that has been highlighted across the nation in light of recent police killings, including that of Breonna Taylor at the hands of Louisville Metro Police officers during the botched execution of a no-knock warrant.
“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,” Fischer said, according to CNN.
During her own remarks, Gentry acknowledged the work that needed to be done within the community.
“I’m not here just to help you unboard your beautiful buildings downtown,” she said. “I’m here to work with you to unboard the community that I served with all my heart in west Louisville, that was boarded for 20 or 30 years.”
The soon-to-be interim chief noted that the past months since Taylor’s death have been hard on police officers as well as protesters, and acknowledged that it is tough “seeing things just feel so hopeless.”
“I will just say that is just a glimpse of how a lot of people have been feeling for a long time, and we can’t go back,” Gentry said. “I think our city is at a point of reckoning that only truth can bring us out of.”