District Hires First African-American Woman as Chief of the IPS Police Department


Indianapolis Public Schools has named Tonia Guynn as interim chief of the IPS Police Department (IPSPD) after the recent retirement of Chief Steven Garner.

Guynn is the first African-American woman to lead the department in the district’s history. She has worked for IPSD for more than 30 years, starting as a police dispatcher. Then, she worked as an officer for nearly 20 years before serving as captain for the last five years.

“I love working for IPS Police because I care about the children,” said Guynn. “The safety and growth of all IPS students is always priority one. I take pride in being a part of a team that wants all students to succeed. One of my favorite times of the year is attending the high school graduations and seeing the students I’ve watched grow over the years walk across that stage and into the next phase of their lives.”

One of Guynn’s priorities for the department is bridging the gap between school administrators and police. She plans to promote more mentoring and counseling by officers so their roles extend beyond policing and more into student support and encouragement.

When it comes to making history as the district’s first African-American female police chief, Guynn calls her selection monumental.

“I am honored to be in a position to serve as a role model for young African-American females,” said Guynn. “My story is proof a young black woman who is dedicated and hardworking can start in an entry-level position and rise to being first in command of a police department.”

Guynn grew up in Danville, Illinois, but has lived in Indianapolis for the past 36 years. She has two adult children and a 10-year-old grandson.