LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Chief Erika Shields will be stepping down from her position as the city's leadership transitions next year.
Her resignation will be effective on Jan. 2, 2023, when Mayor-elect Craig Greenberg is sworn into office.
Shields is just one personnel change the city will see during the transition of power between Greenberg's administration and out-going mayor, Greg Fischer's.
In a statement, Shields said that she was "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," she said.
Greenberg said the search for a new police chief will begin immediately.
"We will consider all applicants," he said in a social media post. "I will be naming an interim police chief before January and will continue to keep the city informed throughout the process."
In a statement, current Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he was "deeply appreciative of Shields' service to the community."
"At an incredibly challenging time, she came to Louisville and led an LMPD focused on reform and violent crime reduction, and in just the past year we see the results of that work – homicides down by nearly 14% and shootings are down 30%," Fischer said. "Thank you to Chief Shields, her team, and her family – we are better off for their sacrifice and commitment."
Last week, Greenberg announced a 58-person transition team to help guide him through the transition process. He says he'll get input from them and the community in choosing Shields' temporary and permanent replacements.
At a news conference Monday, Greenberg said Shields will work in an advisory role to help with the transition through the end of February next year.
Greenberg said he talked with Shields over the weekend, when she offered her resignation. He accepted.
WHAS11 asked Greenberg if her intentions came as a surprise.
"When new mayors begin their term in Louisville, and across the whole country, it is typical I would say for new chiefs of police to come on board -- 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," he said. "I want to thank Chief Shields for her service to our city."
This all comes as the report from the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into LMPD's patterns or practices is expected soon, with a possible consent decree on the horizon.
"That is definitely on my mind, but I am confident we will have a new chief of police, who can help lead us through anything that we need to continue to do here in Louisville," Greenberg said.
In a statement, the police union said Shields resignation doesn't come as a complete surprise.
"While not a given, oftentimes when new mayors are elected in larger cities they prefer to appoint their own public safety officials and/or cabinet members. The last several years have been very trying for our members and for our community. The FOP looks forward to working with the new administration and the new chief to make Louisville a safe city," the union said.
Shields was tasked and sworn in to be Louisville's Chief of Police in January 2021. It came as LMPD remained under the microscope, 10 months after Breonna Taylor's death and in the wake of the summer 2020 protests.
At the time, she said a lot of "healing" needed to happen and that LMPD was at a crossroads, but there was an opportunity to make it right.
"This was the only job that I wanted because I knew I could make change here," she said during the 2021 ceremony.