The woman who will take the reins as the head of Atlanta's police department was sworn in on Jan. 10.
Mayor Kasim Reed, the Atlanta Police Foundation and the Atlanta Committee for Progress hosted the swearing-in ceremony for Erika Shields, who was tapped to head the department after Chief George Turner retired in 2016.
The cocktail reception also introduced the newly appointed members of the Atlanta Police Department's command staff, along with Shields sharing her plans for the department.
Shields spearheaded start of camera network
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced that Shields, a 21-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department would become the city's new chief in December 2016.
Shields joined the APD in 1995 serving as an officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant and Major before becoming Deputy Chief of the Support Services Division. She helped spearhead the creation of the Atlanta Police Department's camera network, which gives police access to several cameras across the city.
"I sincerely believe, we have an obligation to the constituents to make Atlanta as safe as possible," said Shields. "It's personal to me and I don't like seeing people mistreated or vulnerable and I want to help people."
Shields is the second woman and first white woman to ever hold the position.
She has a number of supporters in the community, including Glen Paul Freedman, who calls her "accessible" and "visible". Freedman served on the APD's LGBT Community Advisory Board and works with Atlanta Pride.
"When there were issues with wanting LGBT liaison officers for the force, she was there and worked with them in making sure they were always accessible to the community," said Freedman of Shields.
Before moving to Atlanta, she received her Bachelor's degree from Webster University and Masters in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University.
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