First Black Female Police Chief Appointed in Evanston, Illinois

First Black Female Police Chief Appointed in Evanston, Illinois

Schenita Stewart made history on Monday after she was sworn in as the City of Evanston’s first permanent female police chief, making her the first Black female police chief in the city’s 165-year history. Evanston is a college town suburb located north of Chicago.

The Chicago Crusader reported that the city performed an intense search that considered more than 10 candidates for the position. On August 10, after conducting interviews, city council held a special meeting with panel members and mediators to narrow down the candidates.

Stewart previously served as Deputy Chief of Police in East Dundee. Her new title comes as she replaces Richard Eddington, who served 12 years in the Evanston Police Department, according to ABC7.

“She brings over 15 years of police leadership, she is an Evanston native, she is a graduate of ETHS, and just frankly an outstanding person,” said Evanston City Manager Luke Stowe.

Duties at the Evanston Police Department have been complicated over the past year with the heavy rise in crimes against persons. With a diminished staff, and reportedly losing around two dozen officers, the statistics raise significant challenges for the new chief. However, city officials are confident in her abilities to serve in the position.

“These have been complicated years, complicated years in the law enforcement profession, complicated years in the Evanston Police Department,” said Mayor Daniel Biss. “Chief Stewart is the complete package. We didn’t have to sacrifice either professionalism or skill or deep experience or knowledge of Evanston and deep roots here.”

Chief Stewart is aware of the work ahead with her new title at the department. Statistics show that the city has seen a 27% rise in crimes, which include assaults and batteries. In addition, property crimes are up by 25.5%.

“Dealing with staffing. Dealing with morale and dealing with the partnership with the community is what’s most important. Getting back to building that partnership and building that trust back with the community,” Chief Stewart said.

Her mother, Marion-Stewart Moss expressed her fulfillment towards her daughter’s promotion at the Evanston Police Department.

“Right now I’m over the moon. We have come a long way,” she said.