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'A monumental impact': Waco swears in city's first Black, first female police chief

Sheryl Victorian
Posted at 10:08 PM, Mar 19, 2021

WACO, TX — The beginning of a new chapter started Friday in Waco as the city’s first female and first Black police chief, Dr. Sheryl Victorian, was officially sworn in.

Chief Victorian is now Waco's 28th police chief and will be leading a department with 266 commissioned officers and approximately 100 civilian staff.

"The City of Waco, thank you thank you thank you so much for embracing me. I look forward to each and every one of you and our community partners who are watching to join in with the Waco PD and our push to become the model city for public safety and police community partnership in building trust and legitimacy in policing," said Chief Victorian.

Victorian is a 27 year veteran with the Houston Police Department where she worked her way up from cadet to assistant chief, now becoming Waco’s Chief.

"She is one of the nicest people that I know, she works really hard, but she does want everyone to do their best and strives for excellence and wants others to do the same," says Chandra Hatcher with the Houston Police Department, a former colleague of Chief Victorian.

In attendance at the ceremony were Chief Victorian's family, former colleagues, as well as city leaders who say she's paving a new path for the community.

"I think it'll have a monumental impact on our community on our young girls, especially young African American girls, to see someone in leadership that looks like them," says Andrea Barefield with Waco City Council District 1.

For City Councilwoman Barefield, whose mother was the first female Black mayor in Waco, Chief Victorian is the next of many steps in having leadership reflect the diversity of the community.

"We learned a long time ago that things that seemed impossible aren't necessarily so and we have been making monumental steps and Waco is no different...that time is coming each and every day," said Barefield.

Barefield believes Chief Victorian's big-city experience will provide new innovative ideas as well as ways to improve community policing and recruitment from within Waco.

"Without question, whether her name was on the top of her resume or not, her credentials line up with exactly what the City of Waco needs to lead its police department," says Barefield.