ATLANTA, GA (WGCL) — As violent crime in the city of Atlanta continues to increase, the number of officers on the police force does not. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms addressed the troubling trend during a news conference on Thursday.
“It’s where we are as a city. We are going to continue to press forward with our recruitment, we’re going to continue to do everything we can with the police foundation to make sure that we are increasing the morale of our officers and doing what we can do to retain those officers,” Mayor Bottoms said.
Last month, seven-year-old Kennedy Maxie was struck by a stray bullet while riding in a car with her aunt outside Phipps Plaza in Buckhead. Days later, she died. And this week, a woman was shot in the leg outside the Kroger in the Edgewood shopping district as three men grabbed her pocketbook during an armed robbery.
“It’s just sad that you can’t even live and mind your own business and get home to your family. I just hate that, I hate that for her,” Atlanta resident Tangela Johnson said.
APD’s Interim Police Chief, Rodney Bryant, is actively working on a plan with other law enforcement agencies to curb the violence; but knows it will still be difficult for his officers.
“We are talking about the largest police department in this state so if we needed to pull resources and cut back on some of our administrations and some of our other auxiliary units we can do so,” APD Interim Chief Bryant said.
“It’s something I continue to focus on and take very seriously. Not for purposes of reelection, but because this is my city, and this is the city I’m raising my family in,” Mayor Bottoms said.
The Atlanta Police Department has approximately 2,000 officers on the force which is comparable to the city of Boston and its police department which is similar in size. APD is not at a critically low level, but clearly could use some help. The shortage of officers does not appear to be an issue with pay. The Mayor said police officers were given a 30% pay raise and right now their starting salary is approximately $48,500. This is more of an issue with getting the recruits properly vetted and on the streets.
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