Chief Erika Shields joins the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department after serving as the Chief of Police for the Atlanta Police Department. Chief Shields is a strong advocate for 21st Century Policing and has been an outspoken leader in police reform. During her time as Atlanta’s Chief of Police, the department saw a reduction in violent crime and a marked increase in illegal gun seizures, which are accomplishments she attributes to intelligence-led policing. By focusing on known violent, repeat offenders, the department was able to positively impact those communities most affected by violent crime. In addition, Chief Shields recognizes the critical nature of engaging the communities that the police serve and is committed to listening to and valuing feedback in making decisions.
Chief Shields firmly believes that to effectively change the trajectory of police work, the underlying drivers of criminal behavior need addressing. This prompted her to work with non-profit partners on a Pre-Arrest Diversion Program which allows Atlanta Police Department officers to request that social workers respond to their location in lieu of arresting individuals, where appropriate. Also, under her leadership, the department operated a robust Police Athletic League designed to provide a haven for at-risk youth. In addition, Chief Shields and the Atlanta Police Department partnered with the Atlanta Police Foundation to create and operate an At-Promise Youth and Community Center, a place that provides resources and services for young people allowing them to focus on their education, health, life goals, and building positive relationships with police.
Chief Shields joined the Atlanta Police Department in 1995 and worked her way up from Patrol Officer to Chief over the course of a 25-year career. During that time, she worked numerous assignments, including plainclothes work (narcotics and vice), investigating robberies, internal affairs investigations, and managing the department’s accreditation. In that role, she focused on advancing the department’s technological platform, overseeing the department’s budget, managing the department’s training academy and recruitment process, and overseeing the department’s patrol division.
Chief Shields was appointed as the Chief of Police for the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department in January 2021. Her priorities are vast; critical to the department’s success will be addressing violent crime, reducing the city’s homicide rate, ensuring that a sustainable culture of equitable treatment by the police department throughout the city is cemented, and affording employees of the department the leadership necessary to experience a sense of pride in their agency.