The Louisville Metro Police Department has recently made history by naming its first Black woman police chief.
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More Details Regarding The Louisville Metro Police Department’s Monumental Decision
According to New Pittsburgh Courier, the role will be taken on permanently by the department’s interim police chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, 49. The decision was officially announced on Thursday, July 20, by Mayor Craig Greenberg.
“This is a challenging job. And over the last few months, it’s become very clear that the best person to do this work is already on the job,” the mayor explained, as per BET.
Greenberg reportedly believes that Gwinn-Villaroel is “exactly” what the community needs and is looking for “in a leader.”
“Over the past six months, Chief Gwinn-Villaroel has shown our city that she has exactly what I’m looking for in a chief and exactly what our community is looking for in a leader,” Greenberg explained, as per New Pittsburgh Courier. “She has extensive experience in law enforcement leadership and a record of reform.”
According to the outlet, Gwinn-Villaroel has 26 years of experience as a police authority. Although she joined the Louisville Metro Police Department in 2021, the year following the department’s killing of Breonna Taylor, she is “invested in making sure” that the department enacts positive change.
“We understand that we’ve got to continue to work on those relationships and build upon that community trust that we’re just everyday working on,” Gwinn-Villaroel reportedly said in a statement shared via New Pittsburgh Courier. “We are invested in making sure that we get it right.”
According to Courier Journal, enacting positive change also means that Gwinn-Villaroel will have to do her best to ensure officers on the force receive increased wages and Louisville citizens take an active part in preventing crime, as well as helping to solve active cases.
Additionally, the outlet states that the department will have to adopt an active role in accountability rather than allegedly placing its challenges on “a lack of community support.”
A Brief Look At The Department Before Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel’s Police Chief Appointment
According to BET, the Louisville Metro Police Department currently has about 250 staff vacancies. Furthermore, the department was also the subject of a civil investigation which concluded in March.
The investigation revealed that the department was cited for at least seven violations, including “using excessive force” and conducting searches on invalid warrants.
“Specifically, the report finds that LMPD… Uses excessive force, including unjustified neck restraints and the unreasonable use of police dogs and tasers… Conducts searches based on invalid warrants… Unlawfully executes warrants without knocking and announcing… Unlawfully stops, searches, detains, and arrests people… Unlawfully discriminates against Black people in enforcement activities… Violates the rights of people engaged in protected speech critical of policing… And, along with Louisville Metro, discriminates against people with behavioral health disabilities when responding to them in crisis,” as per a DOJ.
The probe followed the March 13, 2020, killing of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was a 26-year-old woman reportedly killed by Louisville authorities while sleeping in her bed.
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At the time, officers reportedly alleged that they entered Taylor’s residence on a “no-knock warrant.” However, it was since revealed that officers “falsified” the affidavit, as per BET.
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