Carla Redd sworn in as first Black woman to serve as Rockford Police Chief

Redd said she’s aware of what she represents, being the first Black woman in the city’s history to oversee the department.
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 4:30 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - It’s the start of a new era for the Rockford Police Department, after Chief Carla Redd was sworn in Tuesday morning at Memorial Hall in Rockford.

“It’s just so real at this time, to be yet another trailblazer.”

Redd said she’s aware of what she represents in being the first Black woman in the city’s history to oversee the department.

“I just want to be so inspirational for the next generations coming up as well,” said Redd. “We don’t have to define ourselves or live within that box.”

The ceremony marked the end of a months-long search for a new leader of the Rockford Police Department, after the city said goodbye to former police chief, Dan O’Shea, at the end of April.

“She’s actually put in the sweat equity, getting down in the trenches, talking to folks, engaging the community in ways that frankly not many people in our community have the ability to do,” said McNamara.

Redd said her first priority is to continue forging relationships with the community in an effort to tackle violent crime.

“There’s an old saying that it takes a village to raise a kid,” Redd said. “That’s what I’m going to be looking for, is to build that village.”

Mayor Tom McNamara said Chief Redd is the type of leader the community wants to follow. She grew up in Rockford, and she earned her respect by serving more than 20 years on the force.

“She knows many of the citizens right here in Rockford,” McNamara said. “She’s going to be able to connect with those citizens on a more personal level.”

“I’m ready for the challenge,” said Redd.

Chief Redd joined RPD in 1998. She started as a patrol officer and climbed the latter throughout her career, becoming the first Black woman to achieve a command rank as a lieutenant in 2015.

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