A department deputy chief and 21-year veteran has been tapped to lead the Atlanta Police Department.
Mayor Kasim Reed announced today that Deputy Chief Erika Shields has been appointed as chief, pending city council confirmation. Reed announced Chief George Turner’s retirement yesterday.
Shields has served as a Patrol Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant and Major prior to her current position as Deputy Chief of the Field Operations Division, according to a news release.
“I would like to thank Mayor Reed for his confidence in my ability to lead the Atlanta Police Department,” Shields said in the news release. “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.”
Shields is not the first woman to serve as Atlanta’s top cop. Beverly Harvard, the first black woman and third woman ever to head up a major U.S. police department, was appointed chief in 1994.
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 credential process.
In 2010, Shields was appointed to the rank of Major and assumed the role of Chief of Staff. One year later, Shields was appointed to the rank of Deputy Chief and selected to command the new Strategy and Special Projects Division. 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 holds a M.S. in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University, and earned her B.A. in International Studies from Webster University.