With a bowed head and humbled heart, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner officially announced today that he will retire on December 28, 2016. The native of Atlanta has been with APD 35 years. He was named to head the department by Mayor Kasim Reed in 2010. “You don’t do something like this for 35-plus years and it not bring all kinds of emotions and that’s what it has done today”, Chief Turner said during Thursday’s news conference at City Hall. He thanked Mayor Reed for giving him the opportunity and “for allowing me to be on this journey. This has been an amazing run, and we couldn’t have had the kind of success that we’ve had without your amazing leadership and your steadfastness to public safety.”
Mayor Reed said when he appointed Turner to the post 6 years ago as a new mayor, “there was a lot of work to be done in the department. Crime was up and morale was down and we needed more officers on the street.” But according to Reed, “more important than that, we needed a person who could lead that effort and deliver concrete results.” Reed credits Turner with APD making “significant strides towards making our city one of the safest large cities throughout the United States of America.” According to Reed, under Turner’s leadership the City of Atlanta has experienced a 27 percent reduction in crime since 2009; the lowest level in over four decades. Reed thanked Turner for “all the nights you took my call, your friendship, your leadership, and for taking this journey with me.”
Female Officer Named To Succeed Turner
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed wasted no time in naming Turner’s permanent replacement. APD Chief Deputy Erika Shields has been with the department since 1995. According to the APD website, during her tenure Shields has served as a Patrol Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Major prior to her appointment to Deputy Chief. She currently serves as the Deputy Chief of the Support Services Division.
Mayor Reed said of the 21-year APD officer, “She has the foundation to be one of the best and most qualified police department leaders in the country.” Shields thanked Mayor Reed saying, “I am truly humbled, honored, and grateful for this opportunity that you have afforded me and for your continued support and belief in the Atlanta Police Department.” She called Turner a friend who she will miss, “I can not thank you enough for the professionalism and integrity you governed with each and every day.”