Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant will retire in June, just two years after the previous chief resigned in the aftermath of a fatal police shooting in the city.
Bryant became interim chief in June 2020, when then-chief Erika Shields resigned a day after an Atlanta Police Department officer shot and killed Rayshard Brooks, a Black man, in a Wendy’s parking lot.
Bryant was confirmed as chief last May.
“Chief Bryant has answered our city’s call time and again, and I join all of Atlanta’s residents in owing him a debt of gratitude for his steady leadership,” Mayor Andre Dickens said in a statement announcing Bryant’s retirement.
Bryant joined the police department as an officer in 1988 and retired in 2019 to become the interim chief of the Atlanta City Detention Center.
As his biography points out, Bryant took the helm of the police department “during a difficult time in the life of law enforcement,” when protests against police treatment of Blacks were rocking the country.
“I am thankful that the Chief agreed to stay on for my first 100 days as Mayor, and I have grown to rely on the Chief’s counsel during our daily meetings. We will miss the Chief’s leadership as he enjoys his well-earned retirement,” said the mayor, who began his term in January.
Shields in January 2021 became chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, which was still dealing with its own fatal police shooting – that of Breonna Taylor in March 2020.
The city will now conduct a national search for a permanent replacement, said the mayor.
“I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to serve the city that I love and call home,” Bryant said in the statement.
“As Mayor Dickens plans his leadership strategies for this great city, I believe it is essential that he and the City of Atlanta have a Chief of Police who is willing to serve throughout his term. I have so many great memories of my career. I could not be more thankful to be ending my career — again — with the City of Atlanta Police Department,” he said.