Evanston’s new Police Chief Schenita Stewart is congratulated by Mayor Daniel Biss after her swearing-in ceremony Monday in the packed City Council Chambers. Stewart, who was raised in Evanston, is the first Black woman to serve as the city’s permanent police chief. Credit: Richard Cahan

Editor’s note: This story has updated to correct the spelling of Schenita Stewart’s name. Also, this is one of multiple stories from the Oct. 10 City Council meeting.

Schenita Stewart was sworn in as Evanston’s new police chief Monday, Oct. 10 on what Mayor Daniel Biss called a “special historic night.”

New Evanston Police Chief Schenita Stewart turns back for a moment from the cheering crowd as her mother, Marion Stewart-Moss, comes to greet her moments after Stewart was sworn in to lead the Police Department. Credit: Richard Cahan

“This is the home that raised me from birth to high school,” the new police chief told a crowd that was too large to be contained in the City Council Chambers. “You have held my hand. I’m forever grateful to each of you.”

Stewart, the first Black woman to be the city’s permanent police chief, promised the Evanston Police Department that she would serve “to the very best of my ability with distinction and honor.”

She said: “I want to make our great city a beacon of light it has been for generations.”

Stewart grew up in a house on the 1900 block of Wesley Avenue, a few blocks east of the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center. She decided to become a police officer during her first year of college.

Stewart holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Chicago State University.

“It’s unbelievable to be here with my family to celebrate this night,” Schenita Stewart said before she was sworn in as Evanston’s new police chief. Credit: Richard Cahan

She’s been in law enforcement for 23 years, starting as a patrol officer in Lincolnwood in 1999 and rising to deputy chief in 2018. Stewart has served as deputy chief in East Dundee since 2021.

Mayor Biss, looking out at the enthusiastic crowd, said it was unusual for so many people to attend a City Council meeting in celebration.

“I think this is exciting for so many people because Chief Stewart is really a complete package. Someone who is an excellent, skilled, experienced, knowledgeable, law enforcement professional who also knows the city of Evanston so well,” he said.

Richard Cahan

Richard Cahan takes photos for the Evanston RoundTable. He also is publisher of CityFiles Press, a small but mighty media company that believes in the power of words and pictures. You can reach him at...

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  1. Congratulations New Evanston Police Chief Schenita Stewart!!! This is wonderful news. Leadership has many challenges!
    Be an innovator and when negativity shows up whether that’s in your thoughts or in someone around you remember that your role your legacy and your vision has power.
    2:26