WACO, Texas — Waco Police Chief Sheryl Victorian has officially been in command for a year now. Her historic swearing in as the city's first female and black police chief was March 15, 2021.
Since she's been in Central Texas, she's been focused on bridging the divide between police and the community and bettering relationships.
She's doing that by having open conversations with citizens.
McLennan Community College hosted "Conversation with Chief Sheryl Victorian” Wednesday night in the Conference Center on campus.
It was a time for citizens to get to know Victorian, ask her questions and listen to her talk about gender, race, innovative policing, and the challenges of being an African-American woman in a male-dominated profession.
Victorian told 6 News that in her first year on the job, she and the department accomplished a lot.
"I'm very proud of our team, very proud of our city in supporting us in participating in the different events that we have to make sure that we increase the positive interactions that we have with our community," she said.
The Waco Police Department has hosted several events for the community to create a better interaction and trust system between officers and the public.
At Wednesday's event, she told the public the city has seen a seven percent rise in violent crimes and two percent in nonviolent crimes.
"So there are a lot of internal issues of anger issue, family violence issues that we really need to address on a different level," Victorian explained. "It's also a social issue ... so yeah, it's extremely concerning."
Waco has had eight murders in 2022, which is half of what the city saw in all of 2021. Victorian did tell the crowd Wednesday that she is proud of the murder solvability rate. She says Waco PD cleared more than 82 percent of the 16 homicides last year.
Victorian believes the right approach is offering more resources to all and building community relationships to turn things around, especially for the younger people who are being killed or arrested for gun violence.
"We're going to partner to see if we can do some things on a social level, to see if we can get the guns out of these young men's hands and offer them hope and other opportunities," Victorian said.
The first ever black female police chief is also working to change the stigma of the male-dominated industry.
"We are pledging to increase the number of females in our agency to 30 percent by the year 2030," she said.
It's part of "The 30x30 Pledge" that the department signed back in April 2021.
Victorian's department is currently made up of 15 percent females which is three percent higher than the national average.
But after she's done, the city will have a more diverse team serving them every day.
Going into her second year as police chief, Victorian tells 6 News she is hoping to better internal practices and policies.