The State of Public Safety in the City of Atlanta
Sep 10, 2019 12:00 PM
Erika Shields, Chief, Atlanta Police Dept.
The State of Public Safety in the City of Atlanta

Erika Shields is the 24th Chief of the City of Atlanta Police Department (APD), appointed in December 2016. She is an advocate for 21st Century Policing – with a focus on reducing crime while also strengthening trust and collaboration with our communities. Chief Shields has a tough mindset on crime, but a compassionate and proactive approach to working with the community and its leaders while also ensuring accountability for officers. She is committed to developing a culture of technology, innovation, excellence and transparency throughout the organization.

Since her appointment as Chief, the department has made significant strides in its focus on reducing violent crimes and taking repeat offenders and stolen guns off the streets. She continues to work closely with judicial leaders to advocate for stronger sentencing for those individuals who commit violent felonies.  She also believes engaging children and young adults is critical and takes a positive, proactive approach with programs like the Police Athletic League and the Atlanta Police Foundation’s At-Promise Center. These programs provide participants with an opportunity to interact with officers through mentorship and recreational programs.

Under Chief Shields’ leadership, the APD is leveraging technology more than ever with video cameras, crime analysis and analytics to more easily track crime trends, adjust strategies and allocate resources accordingly. The Video Integration Center links more than 10,000 public and private cameras in a network to help identify and deter criminals. Operation Aware is a partnership with Microsoft that allows the agency to analyze crime patterns with greater efficiency and speed. The results are noteworthy.  In the Chief’s first full year in 2017, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, major crimes were down 8 percent, armed robberies were down 32 percent, burglaries were down 23 percent and murders were down 29 percent compared to 2016.

Chief Shields joined the APD in 1995 following a career as a stockbroker. During her tenure, she rose through the ranks as a Patrol Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Major and Deputy ChiefShe holds a BA degree in International Studies from Webster University and a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University. She is an active member of many organizations and is  on the board for the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

INVOCATION: Donna Barwick