Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Chief Erika Shields has decided to resign after less than two years on the job.
According to the city’s mayor-elect, Craig Greenberg, Shields submitted her resignation on November 21 and plans to step down in January.
Shields took over in January 2021 after her predecessor, former LMPD Chief Steve Conrad, was fired amid protests over the department’s role in the death of Breonna Taylor.
She was the fourth chief to hold the position in the aftermath of the controversial shooting.
“I am honored to have led the dedicated and talented officers of the Louisville Metro Police Department during a time of unprecedented change in policing here and across the country. Thank you to Mayor Greg Fischer for his trust in me and my team. I am proud to have served this department as it worked to implement more than 150 reform efforts, a police salary increase to attract and retain the best and brightest, and, most importantly, a reduction in violent crime. I look forward to continuing my service to the department through the remainder of the Fischer administration,” Shields wrote in a statement.
Greenberg and the police department’s Fraternal Order of Police lodge both said Shields’ resignation was not unusual to see during administrative shifts.
“When new mayors begin their term in Louisville and across the whole country, it is typical, I would say, for new chiefs to come on board,” Greenberg said in a press release. “And so this is an opportunity for our city, for our police, for our city government, for all of us to move in a new direction, and so that is why I accepted Chief Shields’ resignation.”
Greenberg, who won the city’s mayor’s race in the recent midterms, announced that an interim chief would take the spot until a full-time chief is selected.
“A search for a new chief of police will begin immediately,” Greenberg declared. “We will consider all applicants. I will seek the input of those on my transition team, as well as from other folks around our entire community.”
Former Mayor Greg Fischer, who served three terms for the city, thanked Shields for taking on the job of police chief during such a “challenging time.”
He specifically lauded Shields for her efforts to reduce violent crime, helping to cut homicides by 14% and shootings by 30% over the past year after two consecutive years of record homicides in the city.
Before transferring to Louisville, Shields worked with the Atlanta Police Department for 25 years and was eventually promoted to chief of police there. She ultimately stepped down in 2020 after the controversial death of Rayshard Brooks.
Brooks was shot in the back by police in a restaurant parking lot after he fell asleep at the wheel in a drive-thru lane.
Shields was then chosen for the role in Louisville by a panel that unanimously voted for her after a search that lasted several months. She signed a six-year contract with the department.