LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The first black woman has been named to lead the Louisville Police Department full-time in 2020, tasked with directing the force under a federal warrant since the police shooting of Breanna Taylor.
Louisville Interim Police Chief Jacqueline Gwin-Villaroel He is officially taking over the job of the new boss. Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg announced Thursday that she was selected after a nationwide search. The city has gone through several chiefs and interim leaders since Taylor’s death, including a black woman who was shot in a police raid.
Gwynn-Villaroel Greenberg, who was elected mayor last year, said in December that Gavin-Villaroel would become interim chief after Shields stepped down in January.
“This is a challenging task,” Greenberg said at a news conference Thursday. “And over the past few months, it’s become very clear that the best person to do this job is already on the job.”
Gwynn-Villaroel credits Greenberg with taking a “leap of faith” with her hire.
“I stand here today on the shoulders of many who paved the way for me and opened the door for me,” she said.
Greenberg said Gwinn-Villaroel showed leadership during the season A mass shooting at a downtown bank In April, one of its officers was shot and wounded.
Recruiting new officers to a force with nearly 250 vacancies and rebuilding community trust has faced challenges after the U.S. Justice Department announced in March that Louisville police had engaged in constitutional rights violations and discrimination.
That announcement, made by Attorney General Merrick Garland, follows an ongoing investigation. Taylor’s shooting. The Justice Department’s report said Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government and the Louisville Metro Police Department “engaged in conduct or practices that violate the rights of individuals under the Constitution and federal law.”
The report stated. The Louisville Police Department “discriminates against blacks In its enforcement activities” it uses excessive force and checks on invalid warrants. The department says it violates the rights of people who engage in protected speech, like the street protests that took place in the city after Taylor’s death in the summer of 2020.
Gwynn-Villaroel has served as the third interim boss since Taylor’s death. Former longtime boss Steve Conrad retired in 2015. He was fired in 2020. Former interim chief Yvette Gentry became the first black woman to serve in that role when she was hired in 2020, following another interim chief who succeeded Conrad.