ATLANTA — In his first one-on-one interview since being named Atlanta's permanent police chief, Darin Schierbaum sat down with 11Alive.
Schierbaum said when he joined the Atlanta Police Department in 2002, he didn't plan to become chief. He said he's humbled to take on the role and wants to make sure APD has the city's trust; he also wants each APD employee to feel supported.
Schierbaum rose through the ranks while learning the city's 245 neighborhoods.
"To come up through the ranks allows you to know the community, know who you're protecting, making sure we have that bond and connection," he said.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said he wanted the city's next chief to know the city and the department.
Schierbaum fits that mold and a trend set by previous APD Chiefs Rodney Bryant, Erika Shields and Georgia Turner, who represent the last 12 years of Atlanta police chiefs. Each worked with APD for decades before becoming chief.
Schierbaum said his goal is to make sure from the chief's office down to patrol officers, APD is constantly earning the trust of Atlanta's citizens.
"Even if we just have a casual encounter, we hope that every citizen of this city sees a well-trained, a caring and a courageous police officer," Schierbaum said. "So, we believe every 911 call, every interaction builds that trust for citizens to be proud of their police department. Where we might drop the ball, we are going to pick that ball up, we are going to get it across the finish line and do better next time."
The new chief promises to be visible to officers by being in their precincts and present as they respond to calls. Schierbaum said he plans to make sure they have an up-to-date training center and modern vehicles, precincts and other tools to succeed in their jobs.