There are many issues and challenges that face the citizens of Atlanta, but nothing is more important than public safety. Atlantans have the right to feel safe in their neighborhoods, in their homes, and in their places of business. The current situation in our city is unacceptable. Too many Atlantans have been the victim of crime, particularly violent crime, and often it is the most vulnerable among us who are harmed: children and the elderly.
The solutions will require a holistic approach: a team effort between the city government, the Atlanta Police Department, and the citizens in our communities.
Having served as a military police officer for almost 30 years in different countries and communities of both wealth and poverty I know that to have a safe community there must be effective, competent, and compassionate law enforcement.
The adversarial approach that some city government officials have taken against the police is counterproductive; namely, the demonizing of police officers and the calls for defunding the police department. The members of law enforcement must be a part of the community not a separate entity. This is why I fully embrace community policing.
Community policing will help prevent crimes before they happen and help build trust between the public and the police department. Police care more about communities when they live there, which is why I would work to provide incentives for officers to live in the communities they serve, particularly in those areas that are subject to high crime and where there is currently distrust between the police and the community.
Our officers need enhanced training, and I will work with the other members of the Atlanta City Council, our mayor and the APD to ensure they get the training they need to be effective in our communities.
We need to use technology to keep our communities safer without the loss of life: revamp the 911 system to reduce response times, revamp the security camera system so that police can be proactive rather than reactive, and body cams to help keep both sides honest and give the public confidence citizens are not being abused.
We must work to make every citizen a part of keeping our communities safe. Through partnerships between individuals and the police, leveraging technology, and providing better training we can restore the rule of law and our beloved city can move forward and thrive.
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