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Waco city manager recommends former Houston assistant police chief for Waco's top job

If approved by the city council, Sheryl Victorian would be Waco's first female and Black police chief.
Credit: City of Waco

WACO, Texas — Waco City Manager Bradley Ford announced Monday that he recommends Sheryl Victorian to be the city’s next Chief of Police. 

Victorian served for 27 years in the Houston Police Department and rose to the rank of Assistant Chief. The recommendation goes to the city council on Tuesday, February 16. If approved, Victorian will be Waco’s first female and first Black police chief, according to the City of Waco.

“The search for a new chief took five months and included 43 applications from candidates in 17 states. Sheryl’s depth of hands-on management experience, her educational background and her support for innovative programs all stood out," Ford said. “Sheryl shared our community’s vision for a leader who embraces continuous improvement, community policing and a commitment to serving and protecting all of our citizens.”

Victorian was one of four finalists for the position. The interview process included input from the city staff as well as community shareholder panels, according to the City of Waco. 

Victorian earned a doctorate degree in Administration of Justice from Texas Southern University and holds a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from The University of Houston and a bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs, also from Texas Southern University. She began her law enforcement career as a police cadet in Houston in 1993. 

As she rose through the ranks of the department, Victorian served in or supervised virtually every major unit giving her a wide range of experience and expertise including extensive work undercover.

Victorian is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and numerous nationally recognized leadership programs. She holds a Texas Master Peace Officer’s license and has received numerous awards and commendations over her career with Houston PD.

“It is a privilege and honor to have my name forwarded to the city council,” Victorian said. “Maintaining the trust of the community, adopting and improving our department to meet the changing needs and demands of policing and keeping our officers and citizens safe are my objectives from day one if council approves my selection."

Victorian said it would be an honor to lead the department.

"I look forward to working proactively to keep Waco a great community to work, live and raise a family," Victorian said.

Victorian said if she is confirmed by the Waco City Council, she will bring a vision similar Houston's Chief of Police, Art Acevedo, one that centers around community.

"Our Chief here came with this philosophy of Relational Policing," Victorian said. "Being transparent, being respectful, engaging with our communities, making sure we are building emotional capital. Holding others accountable, holding ourselves accountable. There is also that transparency and that respect and all of that builds into trust."

The Waco Police Association was represented in the evaluation process by President, Ken Reeves. 

When notified of the recommendation, Reeves said “The Waco Police Association is happy to welcome its new Chief, Sheryl Victorian. Her reputation for fair and experienced leadership is well known within her current Department. We are eager to see what her vision will bring to the Waco Police Department and our community.”

If confirmed by the Waco City Council on February 16, Victorian will start as Waco chief in early March, according to the City of Waco. 

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