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'I knew all along that I could do it': Meet the first woman to join Kentucky State Police

Sandra Schonecker-Taylor joined the academy in 1977 and graduated with ‘Class 57’, along with 40 others, the following year.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Sandra Schonecker-Taylor always knew she wanted to be a part of something bigger. 

That's why the Covington native made the decision to be in law enforcement. 

She wanted to be a part of Kentucky State Police (KSP), so she joined the academy in 1977 and graduated with ‘Class 57’, along with 40 others, the following year. 

This made her the first woman to graduate from the academy and the first female trooper for KSP. Schonecker-Taylor began her career at the Morehead Post and later transferred to the Dry Ridge Post.

In 1982, she was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel. Eventually, Schonecker-Taylor was promoted to detective and transferred to Auto Theft Investigations. There she worked undercover for six years, retiring in 1993. 

She moved to Florida with her husband, John Taylor and had a son, Brian Schonecker, and two stepchildren, Gary Taylor and Jodi Lee Taylor. 

Schonecker-Taylor died in 2021 after an extended battle with multiple sclerosis.

Due to the pandemic, the memorial service was delayed. It was eventually held on March 27 in Cincinnati, Ohio. KSP posted a statement on their Facebook after hearing about Schonecker-Taylor's death titled, ‘KSP Mourns Loss of Retired Trooper Who Paved Way for Female Troopers’.

In the statement, KSP mentions the "historic step" she took for the department by being their first woman trooper.

Schonecker-Taylor was quoted saying: "I have a great deal of pride in the Kentucky State Police. I am very proud to be the first woman Trooper. This is what I want. I knew all along that I could do it. Now I have the chance."

►Contact WHAS11’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

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