New Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields (Courtesy CBS46)
New Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields (Courtesy CBS46)

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has named Erika Shields, a 21-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department, as the city’s new police chief.

Reed made the announcement Thursday morning following Chief George Turner’s decision to retire by year’s end.

Shields, the current Deputy Chief, helped spearhead the creation of the Atlanta Police Department’s camera network, which gives police access to several cameras across the city, according to a report from our broadcast partner CBS46.

Update: The City of Atlanta released this statement just after noon about Shields.

Mayor Kasim Reed announced today that Deputy Chief Erika Shields has been appointed as Chief of Police for the Atlanta Police Department. Shields is a 21-year veteran of the department and has served as a Patrol Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant and Major prior to her current position as Deputy Chief of the Field Operations Division. She will replace Chief George N. Turner who will retire on December 28, 2016.

“I am pleased to announce Deputy Chief Erika Shields as Chief of Police for the Atlanta Police Department,” said Mayor Reed. “With 21 years on the force, Ms. Shields has the experience and respect of her fellow officers to lead the department. I am confident that she will help create an even safer Atlanta while strengthening our reputation as one of the safest large cities in America.”

In her current role, Deputy Chief Shields supervises approximately 1,000 officers throughout the city. She oversees the handling of 911 calls and investigations for the majority of crimes in all six zones. Shields is also instrumental in leading the city’s efforts to strengthen community policing efforts.

“I would like to thank Mayor Reed for his confidence in my ability to lead the Atlanta Police Department,” said Deputy Chief Erika Shields. “I am truly honored and humbled to have the opportunity to lead such a prominent police department in a city as dynamic as Atlanta, and I look forward to building on the progress we have made under the Reed Administration.”

During her tenure, Deputy Chief Shields has held a number of leadership positions within the Atlanta Police Department. As Sergeant, she worked in the Office of Professional Standards and conducted internal investigations before moving to the Advocacy Unit. There, she worked with the City’s Law Department in reviewing and presenting disciplinary files to the Chiefs of Police. After attaining the rank of Lieutenant she was assigned to Zone 4 where she served as the evening watch commander. She then managed the department’s Planning and Research/Accreditation Unit where she helped to develop and implement departmental policies and facilitated the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agency (CALEA) credential process.

In 2010, Deputy Chief Shields was appointed to the rank of Major and assumed the role of Chief of Staff, managing the daily activities of the Chief’s office. One year later, Shields was appointed to the rank of Deputy Chief and selected to command the new Strategy and Special Projects Division. During her time in the division, she was responsible for the implementation and expansion of the department’s state-of-the-art Video Integration Center. She also researched and identified new technology measures to support the crime analysis process and assisted the Chief of Police with the development of a comprehensive strategic plan.

Deputy Chief Shields transitioned to the Support Services Division in 2013 where her primary responsibilities included managing the department’s day-to-day operations and $168 million budget, Training Academy, Corporate Services Section, Information Services Section and E-911 Center.

Shields dedicates her time to a number of community and law enforcement organizations. She is a member of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police (GACP) and Grady Ambassador Task Force. She is also a graduate of Leadership Atlanta 2015.

Shields holds a M.S. in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University, and earned her B.A. in International Studies from Webster University.

The Atlanta City Council must confirm Shields before her appointment is final.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.