LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — For the first time, a Black woman is set to lead the Louisville Metro Police Department in the wake of the death of Breonna Taylor.
Yvette Gentry will take over as the interim chief beginning on Oct. 1. She is temporarily filling the position as Robert Schroeder announced his retirement.
Gentry was former LMPD deputy chief who worked he way up in the ranks for more than 20 years before retiring from the force.
“She is a capable and proven leader,” Schroeder said. “She is the right person at the right time to move this police department forward until a new police chief is selected.”
“It’s a hard job, but I think she can bring the community, in a way that no one else could.” Sadiqa Reynolds, President of the Louisville Urban League said.
After her time at LMPD, in 2014 Gentry was named the director of Youth Detention and Prevention Services under Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. Not long after, Fischer also named her chief of community building.
After stepping away from those roles in 2017, Gentry's most recent position was a project director at Metro United Way.
Reynolds has known Gentry since she was a young cop. She said Gentry is ready to help the Louisville community and police force mend after Taylor's death.
“It’s not going to fix everything,” Reynolds said. “I think she [Gentry] said it best. This is about systems. So, there are lots of systems that have to be changed, but also think the person who sits at the head of the table has power. She will make a difference in the time that she’s there.”
Her leadership experience in and outside of LMPD is what gave former LMPD officer and current Metro Council President David James hope for healing.
“I think she will help stabilize things, work with the community and work with the officers,” James said.
Reynolds said she had been encouraging Gentry to pursue the position for years:
Yvette Gentry is smart, she is caring, she is what she appears to be. She is truthful, she is courageous, she will tell you exactly how she feels, she will ever make every attempt always to do the right thing. She loves her family. She is a mother to black sons. She is a wife to a black man. She knows what it is to be black in this community. She has been a police officer her entire career, really. She understands what it is to be a police officer in this community and in this country. She knows policing inside and out, so, I think we are getting the benefit of a very well-seasoned human being in this role and I am proud of her for stepping up. I don’t think the mayor hired her, I think the community drafted her and he simply didn’t have a choice.
“I am a leader and I know how to lead. I know this city. I love this city,” Gentry said.