A Safe City
I know that Atlanta cannot prosper unless its residents, visitors and workforce feel safe.
Communities only grow and prosper if they are secure. And, while many of the city’s crime numbers are at near historic lows, there is always more we can do. I know the amazing work our public safety personnel do every day to keep Atlanta’s residents and visitors safe. I have seen our firefighters rush into burning buildings, our jailers control unruly inmates and our police officers risk their lives to stop criminals out to do you harm. As Atlanta’s next mayor, I will never lose sight of the fact that public safety comes first.
PAY and BENEFITS
Pay is an issue in public safety both in the attraction and retention of employees. I support a pay/class study to ensure our officers, jailers and firefighters are justly compensated and that we can find other incentives to have all our employees live where they work—in Atlanta.
Atlanta must invest in best technology and techniques—cameras, community oriented policing, shot spotters and predictive algorithms for a start—so that we arm our officers with the tools they need to succeed in their mission. The same holds true for our Fire Department and city jail.
RECRUITMENT and RETENTION
The number of police officers has fallen off in recent years. We now have about 1,850 officers, well below the proposed number of at least 2,000. As your mayor, I will prioritize the hiring of new officers to return the city to optimal numbers. Further, and unlike the rest of the candidates for mayor, I will redouble our effort to retain those we hire by focusing on retention to ensure we do not continue to be a training ground for other public safety agencies. My administration would come up with a strategy to ensure officers stay with us, after we have invested in their training.
As Atlanta’s next mayor, I will support the fine work of the Atlanta Police Foundation as it works to make our officers the best trained, best equipped in the country. We must always partner with groups who have mutual objectives and goals to keep our city safe.
I know we cannot arrest our way out of all our crime problems. We must provide ways for youth to be productive and put their energies toward positive activities. I support mentoring programs like the My Brother’s Keeper initiative started by President Obama. We also need more activities like those offered by the Police Athletic League. But this only happens when you elect a leader with a track record of doing this. As Fulton County Chairman, that is what I did with the expansion of several youth programs like our Youth Commissioners and my establishing the Global Youth Leadership Program.