Louisville Metro Police Department Hires Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel As Its First Full-Time Black Female Chief

Louisville Metro Police Department has made a historic hiring in light of continued scrutiny after the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

via: WLKY

Many community members are on board with Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel continuing to lead the Louisville Metro Police Department permanently, but their expectations are high for the chief and the entire department.

The saying, “while some things change, others stay the same,” was proven Thursday with Gwinn-Villaroel’s historic hiring.

The decision was celebrated by advisory board member Paula McCraney who says when interviewing, the chief’s experience and charisma stood out among the four job candidates.

“It was clear to me that she was passionate about the work she does,” said McCraney.

But, some community members say it will take more than passion to reform LMPD, yet it is a long time coming. Because of that, activist and CEO of ElderServe, Timothy Findley Jr., is hopeful but cautiously optimistic.

“It’s such a significant moment, but there is a lot to be desired with LMPD with us being under a consent decree and seeing the transparency issues in the city,” he said.

Chief Gwinn-Villaroel acknowledged citizens’ concerns and mistrust while also promising the department is working tirelessly to correct the problems and make improvements.

“I want to let you know that we are invested in making sure that we get it right,” said Gwinn-Villaroel. “Louisville, you deserve [it].”

The Louisville Branch of the NAACP, which was critical of how Mayor Greenberg handled the search for the permanent police chief, says while they stand by their disapproval of the process, they agree that Gwinn-Villaroel is the best fit.

Louisville NAACP president Raoul Cunningham said that prior to the announcement, the mayor met with several organizations, including the Louisville Urban League, to reveal the new chief.

The Louisville NAACP says they wish the new chief much success and commit to working with her to move Louisville forward.

“There won’t be any major changes tomorrow, but as time goes on, hopefully, she gets to implement some changes, and the city has a chance to make improvements,” said Cunningham.

Community members also commend the new chief on connecting with them over the past seven months in her interim role and the efforts to further reduce crime.

Based on an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, LMPD has been criticized for violating its Black residents’ civil rights for years. The probe was ignited by the police killing of Taylor in 2020, who was asleep when authorities attempted a failed raid on her apartment.

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