ATLANTA — Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Saturday evening that Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields has stepped aside following the latest shooting death of a black man at the hands of an Atlanta police officer.
Shields, a long-time veteran of the force, was appointed to police chief by former Mayor Kasim Reed in 2016 following the retirement of George Turner.
"For more than two decades, I have served alongside some of the finest women and men in the Atlanta Police Department. Out of a deep and abiding love for this City and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief. APD has my full support, and Mayor Bottoms has my support on the future direction of this department. I have faith in the Mayor, and it is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve," Shields said in a statement Saturday night.
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Shields joined AOD in 1995. Prior to being named chief, Shields served as a patrol officer, sergeant, lieutenant and major prior to her appointment to deputy chief.
“As a beat officer and a plain clothes assignment in Southeast Atlanta for eight years, Chief Shields investigated robberies and conducted multiple search warrants, narcotics and vice details fighting sex crimes and prostitution,” APD’s website said.
Upon being named police chief, Shields said her top priority was going to be reducing violent crime in the city.
"We have an obligation to the citizens of Atlanta to clean up this violent crime," Shields said at her first news conference after being named chief.
One of the biggest tasks Shields faced during her career was the monumental undertaking of providing security for Super Bowl LIII.
In 2018, Bottoms named Turner as the city’s Public Safety Commissioner to oversee APD and the city’s Department of Corrections, Office of Emergency Preparedness and Fire Rescue Department.
Many speculated that Shield’s job could be in danger at the time.
Shields has been outspoken over the last few weeks over the protests tied to George Floyd’s death.
Bottom said Saturday that Shields will continue in a role within APD that has yet to be determined.
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