- Associated Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - Erika Shields is the new police chief for the city of Atlanta.

Shields has become the city’s 24th police chief, mayor Kasim Reed announced during a news conference Thursday. She is replacing George Turner, who is retiring.

Shields will start Dec. 28. She is a 21-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department serving as patrol officer, sergeant, lieutenant, major and deputy chief of the Field Operations Division.

“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,” she said.

Turner stepped down Wednesday after 35 years with the police department. He joined the department when the city crime rate was soaring. But during his tenure, he was a leading factor in the decrease of crime in Atlanta.

In her current role, Shields supervises around 1,000 officers in Atlanta and was instrumental in the city’s effort to strengthen community policing efforts. The mayor believes Shields can uphold the standard of keeping the city progressively safe.

“With 21 years on the force, Ms. Shields has the experience and respect of her fellow officers to lead the department,” Reed said in a statement. “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.”

The police department has still fallen under criticism in other areas during Turner’s tenure such as their inability to recruit new officers and officer’s lack of pay to meet the city’s rising housing costs.

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This version corrects that Shields is a 21-year veteran, not a 21-year-old veteran.


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