Louisville, Kentucky has been grappling with the ongoing protests against police violence in the city in the wake of Breonna Taylor’s death that has swept the entire nation. Over 100 days later and citizens continue to keep saying Breonna’s name seeking the justice she deserves.
To move Louisville’s police force in a new direction, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer has appointed Yvette Gentry — new interim police chief — as the first Black woman to serve as the police chief for the Louisville Metro Police Department, the New York Post reports.
Gentry will be taking over for Interim Chief Robert Schroeder — who has only held the position for four months — as he’s set to retire at the end of September, according to BET.
Gentry previously worked in the city’s department and rose to the ranks of deputy chief before retiring back in 2014. She shared that she’s returning to the force for “all of you that urged me to take this position and try to move the needle,” in an emotional speech reported by USA Today.
“I am returning to the high-stress law-enforcement field in large part to help lead a call to action for those willing to do the work it takes to heal our city – and provide truth so we can have reconciliation, and create a system of justice rooted in equity,” Gentry revealed in a statement.
USA Today reports that she even reached out directly to West End residents who have been at the heart of the widespread protests to offer her heartfelt words.
“I’m not here just to help you unboard your beautiful buildings downtown,” she said in a statement. “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.”
She added to her speech stating that these last few months have been tough “seeing things just feel so hopeless,” according to USA Today.
Much like George Floyd’s murder, Taylor’s shooting death sparked an uproar of widespread protests across the country.
Gentry hopes her guidance will be able to lead the department toward a better future with fairness and justice for those who have been wronged in the past.
As the first Black woman to head the LMPD in its 200-plus-year history and third person to run the force since Taylor’s death, Gentry aims to reform the community who has been riddled with a crooked justice system.
Though she maintains her stance as a new change for the department, Gentry — who begins her new role on Sept. 14 to fully take over in October — will serve as interim police chief until a new chief is picked, according to Fischer’s office.