EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- A standing ovation greeted Schenita Stewart as she made history Monday evening by being sworn in as the City of Evanston's first permanent female police chief.
"She brings over 15 years of police leadership, she is an Evanston native, she is a graduate of ETHS and just frankly an outstanding person," said Evanston City Manager Luke Stowe.
Her mother gushed with pride
"Right now I'm over the moon. We have come a long way," said Marion Stewart-Moss.
WATCH: New Evanston police chief speaks on role
Chief Stewart, who previously served as Deputy Chief of Police in the East Dundee, replaces Richard Eddington, who served the Evanston Police Department for 12 years. While her appointment is significant, so are the challenges she faces.
Crimes against persons, which include assaults and batteries, have risen 27%, and property crimes are up 25.5%. And not unlike police departments across the nation, Evanston PD is short-staffed, currently down two dozen officers.
"These have been complicated years, complicated years in the law enforcement profession, complicated years in the Evanston Police Department," said Mayor Daniel Biss. "Chief Stewart is the complete package. We didn't have to sacrifice either professionalism or skill or deep experience or knowledge of Evanston and deep roots here."
Stewart acknowledged she has her work cut out for her.
"Dealing with staffing. Dealing with morale and dealing with the partnership with the community is what's most important. Getting back to building that partnership and building that trust back with the community," she said.