A LETTER TO ATLANTA:
I have long insisted that we cannot have a prosperous Atlanta unless it is a uniformly safe place to live, work and raise a family. My public safety philosophy has been informed by my time as chair of the Public Safety Committee during my first term on the Atlanta City Council, where I passed legislation that helped deliver some of the safest years in recent history, and I plan to continue that trend when I become Mayor.
My public safety plan is designed to bring Atlanta fully into 21st Century policing by prioritizing diversity, modern comprehensive training, and providing our officers the resources to prioritize community policing.
The modern police force needs to be able to provide a nuanced response to the community and that requires hiring and training a police force that is prepared to do more than simply arrest and incarcerate our community. While arrests for violent criminals are of course necessary, we simply cannot arrest our way out of a crime wave. We need a comprehensive approach. Diversion and police alternatives are an integral part of managing Atlanta’s criminal justice system. More importantly, those tactics, responsibly deployed, have granted countless Atlantans a second chance at becoming productive members of our society.
We will ensure that this is a crime spike and not the new normal by reassigning non-sworn personnel to non-emergencies, redeploying the police force for a robust presence at shopping centers, gas stations, clubs and bars, and hiring more officers to fill the gaps we currently have in the department.
We have persevered through difficult times in Atlanta’s history before, just as we are in the second year of a global pandemic, and together, we will continue to do so.
Yours in service,
Candidate for Atlanta Mayor
MY PLEDGE, AS MAYOR:
As a twice-elected citywide councilmember, I have tackled several complex issues (like affordable housing and transportation) through legislation and collaboration. We have changed the way the city works on these issues, and I am proposing that we do it again, with S.A.F.E. Streets Atlanta, a 4-Point Plan to reduce violent crime.
As Mayor, I will focus on immediately halting the crime that’s plaguing our communities. I have a plan to stop crime TODAY – by coordinating and investing new federal resources in additional officers, technology and tactics, including partnerships with groups that can help us identify, arrest and detain dangerous criminals.
I also know that we have to fight the crime of TOMORROW – and I will simultaneously invest resources in job placement programs, anti-recidivism outreach, after school programs and creating good paying jobs for citizens and communities that have been overlooked for too long.
SAFE STREETS ATLANTA PLAN:
S is to SURGE the police force by 250 officers during my first year in office while training every APD employee in racial sensitivity and de-escalation techniques.
- Atlanta needs to be a beacon of the 21st Century training and reform for community safety and justice.
- We need to have the best training and the best community engagement in order to result in better recruitment, retention, and community engagement all of which contribute to less crime.
A is to ARREST gang leaders that are preying on our children and resolve pandemic-related court backlogs to get violent criminals off our streets.
- We need to support the District Attorney’s office and provide assistance to help reduce our backlogs.
- We also need better youth engagement as part of our community policing efforts to help reduce youth crime through a Youth Commissioner to work and partner with Atlanta Public Schools.
F is to create a task FORCE with GBI, FBI, and ATF to address gun trafficking and a task force to hire and deploy specialists to deal with non-violent issues like mental health and homelessness.
- Collaboration is key to addressing the far reaching impacts of crime. That extends to federal and local agencies as well as the District Attorney’s office.
- We need to also collaborate with specialists to better address the non-violent issues that currently have a police response.
E is to EMPOWER APD to engage in community policing and to support them with new technologies to reduce response times, like smart streetlights, shot-spotters and software connecting APD and Fulton Sheriffs.
- Community policing should be a foundational element of our future policing and that includes supporting officers who wish to live in the community they serve.
- We should provide stipends to officers to help them live in the city much like we have done with our cadet housing initiative.
- Community policing starts with having the best trained officers in the nation and extends to youth engagement, specialists responding to non-violent calls, collaboration with community leaders, and building trust through accountability.
- Joined the APD Chief of Police Advisory Council in November 2020 as the only City Councilmember in order to provide input to the Chief and APD leadership staff on public safety needs and solutions throughout the city.
- Endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Police and the Atlanta Police Foundation in 2013 and 2017 City Council races.
- Chaired the Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee in 2017, during which time homicides went down 33%, and all violent crimes decreased 12%.
- Championed and passed pay increases for Investigators and Senior Patrol Officers effective retroactively to August, 2015.
- Co-sponsored “ban the box” legislation, which no longer requires applicants to reveal prior convictions on employment applications.
- Conducted monthly “Walk-n-Talks” with APD and community members to walk the streets preventing crime.
- Hosted NPU Public Safety leaders at the Video Integration Center to see how APD uses cameras.
- Introduced and passed “8 Can’t Wait” legislation to ban dangerous police tactics and create clearer escalation of force procedures.
- Sponsored legislation increasing annual salaries for Senior Patrol Officers (18-O-1085) and sponsored legislation to purchase additional license plate readers (18-O-1249).
- Served on Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative Design Team (16-C-5087) and sponsored legislation studying feasibility for Midnight Basketball League (16-R-3272)