Currently, Stephens is the police chief at Prairie View A&M University and previously was chief deputy of Jefferson County’s Sheriff Department. The newly crowned winner said this is an important moment in history because as a child she never saw a Black woman sheriff, the Houston Chronicle reported.
She elaborated about why she believes representation is so important: “And so the idea, not just for girls but for any minority, that you can obtain these jobs at this level, I think that’s important. And it’s important for these jobs in law enforcement and any job to reflect the community they serve.”
The Chronicle reported that Stephens won 51.4 percent of the vote in Jefferson County, besting her Republican opponent, Ray Beck, by 2,431 votes.
Stephens won despite large national Republican voter turnout, which resulted in Donald Trump winning the presidential race last Tuesday.
According to NBC-DFW, many local Republican residents crossed political party lines to vote for Stephens. The masses clearly thought she was the better candidate to replace Mitch Woods, who held the post for 20 years but is retiring.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was racist opposition to Stephens. A gunman opened fire at her campaign headquarters and shouted a racial slur the night before the primary in March. The alleged shooter, Adam Carver, has been arrested and charged with deadly conduct for discharging a firearm.
KTXS, an ABC News affiliate, reported that the newly elected sheriff said she is ready to bring her passion to the new position.
“I love this community. I grew up here,” she said. “I have experience both in a municipal police setting and the sheriff’s department, but I’m also still a police officer today.”