Another major vacancy in the City of Evanston will be filled soon, as City Manager Luke Stowe announced Friday he will hire East Dundee Deputy Chief Schenita Stewart as the next permanent police chief.

Schenita Stewart, Evanston’s incoming police chief. Credit: City of Evanston

Evanston City Manager Luke Stowe Friday, Sept. 23 announced the appointment of Schenita Stewart as Evanston’s next police chief. Stewart will begin her new role on Monday, October 10.

The announcement comes over a year after the departure of previous chief Demitrous Cook, who retired on June 7, 2021. In that time, the city appointed two interim chiefs, held a series of public meetings to hear what residents wanted in a new chief, and hosted a live virtual forum interviewing three finalists.

Stewart, who has served as East Dundee Deputy Chief since January 2021, will start as Evanston’s chief on Monday, Oct. 10 according to the city’s announcement.

“Chief Stewart is an outstanding leader with distinguished service and a deep knowledge of the Evanston community,” Stowe said in the announcement. “She is uniquely qualified to lead our Police Department while strengthening community relationships. I look forward to working with Chief Stewart in her new role.”

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to serve the community that raised and supported me my entire life,” said Stewart. “This great city of Evanston is the lighthouse community that my great grandparents fled to from Abbeville, SC for a better life. I think that if they were alive they would be proud.”

Stewart began her law enforcement career in 1998 as a probation officer with the Cook County Adult Probation Department.

  • She became a patrol officer with the Lincolnwood Police Department in 1999, and rose through the ranks to become deputy chief of the department in 2018.
  • Stewart joined the Village of East Dundee as its deputy chief of police in January 2021. Stewart served on the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force (NORTAF) from 2008 to 2018, including four years as team leader, and was twice honored as the Village of Lincolnwood’s “Police Officer of the Year,” earning the recognition in 2000 and 2005.

Stewart was first announced as a finalist on Friday, Aug. 26, alongside Chicago Deputy Chief Migdalia Bulnes and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Investigations Bureau Chief Joshua Hunt.

A major issue awaiting Stewart is EPD’s ongoing staff shortage, which recently led to the department temporarily reassigning officers and reducing investigative services. According to Stowe, the department had 27 vacancies for sworn officers as of August 2022.