Louisville’s interim police chief, Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, will continue permanently in her role and take over a department that has been in turmoil since the police killing of Breonna Taylor in 2020 and was lambasted this year in a scathing report by the US Department of Justice.

Ms. Gwinn-Villaroel, 49, will be the first black woman to serve permanently as chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department. She has been interim chief since January, following the resignation of her predecessor, Erika Shields, one of several recent leadership changes.

“Over the past six months, Chief Gwinn-Villaroel has shown our city that she has exactly what I look for in a chief and exactly what our community looks for in a leader,” Mayor Craig Greenberg, who took office in January, said Thursday. news release announcing her employment. “She has extensive experience in leading the police and a record of reform.”

Chief Gwinn-Villaroel, a 26-year police veteran, started with the department in 2021 as deputy chief after spending his entire career with the Atlanta Police Department.

Ms. Gwinn-Villaroel first served under Ms. Shields in Atlanta, until Ms. Shields resigned following the police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks in 2020.

Ms. Gwinn-Villaroel is the fifth person to lead Louisville’s police force since June 2020, when Chief Steve Conrad was fired after officers killed a popular restaurant owner in a firefight during that summer’s protests. Two interim chiefs filled in before Ms. Shields took over the department in January 2021.

The Louisville police department began designing an intensive investigation in 2020 after officers shot and killed Ms. Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, in her apartment during a no-knock warrant in the middle of the night. Four officers involved in that shooting were indicted last year.

But tensions between the force and the city’s residents had been building long before Mrs. Taylor’s death.

In March, the United States Ministry of Justice published the results of an investigation this concluded that the Louisville Metro Police Department routinely violated the constitutional rights of citizens.

“For years, LMPD has practiced an aggressive policing style that it deploys selectively, especially against black people, but also against vulnerable people across the city,” the report read.

Ms. Gwinn-Villaroel said Thursday that she will focus on rebuilding community trust and reducing violent crime in the city.

“We understand that we have to continue to work on those relationships and build on that community trust that we just work on every day,” Ms. Gwinn-Villaroel said in a press conference. “We’re invested in making sure we do it right.”

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