Yvette Gentry, tapped to serve as interim Louisville Metro Police chief starting Oct. 1, will inherit a shrinking department facing extreme scrutiny over the March 13 police shooting of Breonna Taylor.
She is set to take over from interim Chief Robert Schroeder, who plans to retire, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Monday.
Gentry, who previously served as deputy chief, is the first woman and the first Black woman in Louisville history to lead the force, she confirmed in an interview with The Courier Journal.
She retired from LMPD in 2014, then served in Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration, before joining Metro United Way as a project director.
News:Yvette Gentry, former deputy chief, to be Louisville’s interim top cop starting Oct. 1
Here’s what to know:
What is Yvette Gentry’s background with LMPD?
Gentry retired from LMPD in 2014, after serving more than two decades on the police force. She worked her way up from dispatcher to deputy chief in 2011.
While with LMPD, she worked in investigations, strategic planning, budgeting and patrol.
When she was promoted to major in 2006, then-police Chief Robert White praised her skill at connecting with the community. Her efforts included spearheading Thanksgiving meal deliveries for several years to the elderly in Louisville, in partnership with the Greater St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church.
When she was shifted in 2009 to command the administrative bureau, she urged her replacement to stay connected.
“I’m most proud of the relationships we’ve built,” she told The Courier Journal in November 2009. “I think it reflected some crime reduction … crime went down all three years.”
During her time with LMPD, she occasionally spoke out on issues around the Black community’s relationship with police, as well as Black representation in the department.
Following the 2004 fatal police shooting of Michael Newby, a 19-year-old Black man shot and killed by Officer McKenzie Mattingly, Gentry disagreed with a statement that Louisville police don’t care about Black men, calling it “ridiculous.”
“I’m the daughter of a Black man,” she said during a vigil and forum, “the mother of a Black man. It’s not an us-against-them thing.”
After the event, she told The Courier Journal there were culture problems on the police force, but that it’s “not necessarily just a racial thing.”
“Some people just don’t know how to talk to other people in a respectful manner,” she said. “But I think something that’s overlooked is we don’t get very much respect either. … I think sometimes that’s overlooked, especially by the younger generation. They feel like they can do whatever and say whatever and we’re not ever supposed to respond. We’re human beings.”