The Louisville Metro Police Department has a new police chief. On Thursday, Mayor Greg Fischer swore in Yvette Gentry, who will be the interim chief for six months while the city seeks and installs a permanent chief.
A nationwide search is underway for someone to take on the permanent role, and Fischer said he plans to make a decision by the end of the year.
Gentry returns to the force after retiring in 2014. She is the first Black woman to lead LMPD.
During her swearing-in ceremony at Metro Hall, an emotional Gentry spoke about overcoming adversity before making it to this stage.
“I got kicked out of school. I got kicked out of band,” she said. “But today, I am chief.”
Fischer said he was grateful to have Gentry in the position and for her reputation for honesty.
“I need that, the city needs that,” he said. “And I will continue to depend on Yvette for her wisdom, her experience, her compassion as we work together to reimagine public safety and build the type of police-community trust we know is necessary for our city.”
Louisville police have been the focus of intense scrutiny over the past six months due to the highly-publicized case of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman killed by police in her home on March 13.
Gentry told WFPL last month that as chief she will prioritize addressing historic inequities in Louisville, including issues related to housing and homelessness.
She replaces Robert Schroeder, who took over the top position in June after Fischer fired longtime chief Steve Conrad weeks before his retirement. Earlier this week, Schroeder gave four hours of testimony to the Metro Council’s government oversight committee as part of its investigation into the official response to ongoing protests against racial injustice and for police accountability.
Schroeder testified that one of the issues facing LMPD is what he described as a “slow creep” of lack of accountability in routine measures. He said he hoped Gentry and the future permanent chief would work toward addressing that.
On Thursday afternoon, Fischer’s office announced a group of eight people would serve as the panel to interview and recommend finalists for the permanent chief position.
They are Louisville Metro Government chief equity officer Kendall Boyd; Metro Council member Jessica Green (D-1), who chairs the public safety committee; public safety chief Amy Hess, to whom LMPD reports; Metro Council president David James (D-6), a former LMPD officer; Louisville Metro Government chief of community building Vincent James; Metro Council member James Peden (R-23), who co-chairs the public safety committee; Louisville Metro Government chief of performance improvement Carmen Moreno-Rivera; and Jefferson County Public Schools teacher Sharon VanCleave.