LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Lafayette’s first-ever female police chief was introduced to the community in a news conference on Friday.

Judith Estorge, a veteran in local law enforcement, was named chief on Oct. 21.

A native of Lafayette, Estorge studied criminal justice at UL Lafayette and worked her way up the ranks of the Lafayette Police Department since 1993, most recently as commander of precinct 4.

“I was born and raised here in Lafayette, and I have worked for the Lafayette Police Department for 29 years,” Estorge said. “Throughout the course of my career I have served the force in many different capacities. I love the officers I work with and this community.”

Estorge was selected from a shortlist of candidates that also included  Lafayette Police Department Sgt. Dorian Brabham and former Louisiana State Police Sgt. Brian Ardoin.

“Lafayette was blessed with three solid and quality candidates for this position,” Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory said. “It was a very difficult decision.”

Estorge said she is proud to be taking over as the first woman to hold the post of Lafayette Police Chief.

“It is an incredible feeling and an incredible experience,” she said. “The support I’ve received from my officers and my family has been overwhelming.”

Estorge said the biggest problem facing the department is the amount of gun violence in the city, and one of her top priorities will be communication and community engagement.

“My goal is to listen to your concerns and earn your trust,” she said.

She said that in the first 60 days, LPD officers and command staff will be more involved in community activities and events.

“I know this job will not be easy, but it is an opportunity that I am blessed to have,” Estorge said.

“I have no doubt Chief Estorge will lead the department with full excellence,” Guillory said.