Rallings will step into the slot vacated by current director Toney Armstrong, who will retire from the city on January 31 to become director of security for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
"I'm ready to get to work serving the citizens of Memphis and leading the men and women of our police department," Rallings said in a statement Thursday. "I look forward to working every day with Mayor [Jim] Strickland to provide for public safety and retain our police officers."
Rawlings joined the police academy in 1990 and served as a patrolman after graduation. He rose through the ranks and was promoted sergeant in 1996, to lieutenant in 2001, to major in 2008, and to colonel in 2009. Rallings was appointed deputy chief in 2009 and has commanded the Uniform Patrol Division District II, Special Operations Division, and Uniform Patrol District I.
"I have complete confidence in Michael Rallings," Armstrong said in a statement. "He has, over the years, clearly demonstrated his abilities, his love for this department, and his love for this community. I'm going to make myself available to him in any way I can to make sure he is successful."
Michael Rallings will serve as the interim director of Memphis Police Services beginning February 1, while the search for a permanent director continues.