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ST. LOUIS – 70-year-old Kenneth Gregory was there to witness Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. propel the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He was also around to see unrest unfold in St. Louis County during heated protests after the death of Michael Brown. After gaining a wealth of wisdom on the St. Louis County Police force, he is now serving as the first Black police chief in the county’s history. Gregory was appointed as acting chief in July 2021 after chief Mary Barton stepped down. He was officially named chief on January 25, 2022.

Gregory has given 40 plus years to the St. Louis County Police Department and says just the fact that he has earned the title of police chief is a testament to the department’s changing culture. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. In his decades of service, he’s sewn several seeds acting as director of the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy and commander of the criminal investigations, special operations and patrol divisions. The Post-Dispatch reported commissioners felt in his short time in his new position, “the department has not only stabilized, but grown in a positive direction under his command.”

The department is 66-years-old, and it is now being led by a public servant who says he could have never imagined this 42 years ago when he stepped into the force.

Blair’s Black History Moment highlights the history, success, and contributions of African Americans, both past and present, across the St. Louis region. If you would like to highlight a part of Black History dear to the St. Louis area, please send an email to as we recognize people, places, and events crucial to building the St. Louis community.