LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The new chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department is now on the job. Erika Shields was sworn Tuesday morning by Mayor Greg Fischer at Metro Hall. She comes to Louisville from Atlanta with 25 years of experience and has been in the spotlight before.
Former LMPD Chief Steve Conrad was fired in June, following the deaths of both Breonna Taylor and local entrepreneur David McAtee. It was less than two weeks later that Erika Shields found herself in a similar situation as chief of the Atlanta Police Department when an officer shot and killed Rayshard Brooks.
She views her hiring as a second chance to help a community in need.
“You can either retreat, you can take on the negative, you can just lock it in and dedicate yourself to misery,” said Shields, “or you can learn from it and say, ‘How is this an opportunity? How is this an opportunity for me to help us move forward, to help us have growth, and to help us have compassion?’ And for me that’s what this is.”
Bishop Mark House, pastor of Victory City Church outside Atlanta, was in Louisville singing Shields’ praises.
“I’ve seen her commitment to training. I’ve seen here commitment to the wellness and well-being of officers. I’ve seen her commitment to the city that she served,” said House. “So chief, I’m honored to be here to witness this historic day and to watch you again step into this role that I know you were born for.”
As LMPD chief, Shields will make $210,000 a year. The contract includes $15,000 for moving expenses, a work vehicle and $3,000 a year, for clothing and equipment.
Shields is replacing interim chief Yvette Gentry, who stepped in to lead LMPD after interim chief Rob Schroeder retired. Schroeder began his tenure following Steve Conrad’s departure.
Shields will report to the Chief of Public Safety, Amy Hess.