Police Reform

We are forging a new day in Atlanta, where our police officers can live and thrive in the communities they serve and where we can collectively evaluate the way our justice system works.
The Bottoms Administration has worked hard to ensure that our officers are trained, equipped, and paid commensurate with the challenges they face and their unwavering dedication. The City of Atlanta is doing its part to ensure equity is immersed in all of our decisions. We are forging a new day in Atlanta, where our police officers can live and thrive in the communities they serve; and where we can collectively evaluate the way our justice system works.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Unveils One Atlanta: One APD Immediate Action Plan

January 2021

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms released the One Atlanta: One APD Immediate Action Plan to address violent crime in the city. The Plan is part of a broader effort focused on bolstering support for the Atlanta Police Department and reforming policing in the city.

As laid out by Mayor Bottoms during recent press briefings, the City has developed a series of actions to address violent crime. The immediate actions to be implemented are as follows:

  • Expand enforcement of nuisance properties
  • Focus additional resources and increase targeted enforcement on gangs and gun violence
  • Expand the Operation Shield camera network
  • Support neighborhood safety planning
  • Continue to focus on disrupting street racing and auto crimes
  • Explore a new Public Safety Training Academy
  • Improve APD recruiting and retention

The spike in violent crime in Atlanta and across the country must be addressed by both immediate and long-term actions. The One Atlanta: One APD Immediate Action Plan will address crime, and also the systemic issues that lead to violence.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mayor’s Office Provides Implementation Update on Use of Force Advisory Council Recommendations

December 2020

On December 10, Mayor’s Office staff presented to City Council during a Public Safety Committee Work Session to provide a status update on the implementation of the Mayor’s Use of Force Advisory Council recommendations. The presentation provided an overview of the Advisory Council and their recommendations, the Administrative Orders Mayor Bottoms issued in response, and actions taken to date in the areas of:

  • Reform
  • Transparency
  • Partnerships
  • Accountability
  • Community Engagement

Mayor’s Office staff also used this opportunity to introduce the police reform and community engagement consultants to Councilmembers, including Chuck Wexler, Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)and Jesse Wiles, Principal of Urban Planning and Management.

The December Work Session was the second one that Mayor’s Office staff participated in to provide an update on the Use of Force Advisory Council’s recommendations. The first Public Safety Work Session on this topic was held on August 27, 2020 and a copy of that presentation can be found here.

Mayor Bottoms Announces Partnerships with Police Executive Research Forum and Urban Planning and Management, LLC.

November 2020

Mayor Bottoms is pleased to announce that the City of Atlanta has engaged the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to provide a comprehensive set of recommendations concerning how policing should be handled in the city of Atlanta "from top to bottom."

PERF is one of the nation’s leading providers of management consulting services to police agencies, having conducted comprehensive studies in police departments of all sizes across the nation. PERF specializes in areas such as use of force, records and information processing, budgeting, communications, crime prevention, and management of criminal investigations.

PERF’s 18-month engagement will include:

  • A thorough review of APD’s use of force and related policies
  • A review of the training that APD officers receive, including recruit, field, and in-service training
  • An assessment of how APD’s current practices measure up to evidence-based standards and best practices
  • The creation of a “Kitchen Cabinet” to regularly advise the Interim Chief of Police throughout the engagement

The Mayor’s Administrative Order 2020-27 also recognized that community engagement is a vital component of policy review and reform.

As a result, Mayor Bottoms is pleased to announce that the City of Atlanta has engaged the services of an Atlanta-based organization – APD Urban Planning and Management, LLC (Urban Planning) – to oversee a city-wide community engagement effort integrated with PERF’s policy reform work.

The team at Urban Planning has over thirty years of national expertise on urban planning, equitable community development and affordability policies. They are guided by a strong commitment to public participation and maintaining transparent, capacity building relationships with community stakeholders throughout their work.

Urban Planning’s initial 6-month engagement will include:

  • Developing a community-led engagement plan that respects the diverse community and individual needs across all of Atlanta as it pertains to community support and law enforcement
  • Gathering data and input from APD, residents, business leaders, and stakeholders using various innovative and transparent tools and methods
  • Facilitating community engagement processes that flexibly accommodate changing conditions due to COVID-19 realities

We are moving forward on our Administration’s commitment to build lasting, healthy relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Thank you to PERF, Urban Planning and all our partners for joining this collaboration to effectively reduce crime while building public trust.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mayor Bottoms Acts Upon Use of Force Advisory Council’s 45-Day Recommendations

August 2020

The Use of Force Advisory Council provided 33 recommendations spanning five areas of focus on policing practices: Mission, Vision, Values; Standard Operating Procedures; Governance; Community Partnerships; and Reporting and Transparency. The Bottoms Administration received feedback on the Advisory Council’s recommendations from an internal APD working group comprised of professionals across various ranks and zones, and from more than 4,000 Atlantans.

Mayor Bottoms announced seven Administrative Orders (AO) that address 16 of the 33 recommendations outlined in the Advisory Council’s report, including:

  • Developing a plan for officer training and non-retaliation language regarding an officer’s duty to intervene when seeing another officer using unreasonable force
  • Increasing public transparency through the development of a dashboard that shows APD’s use of force trends
  • Developing a plan to work with APD, City of Atlanta, alternative response organizations, and other key stakeholders to develop an alternative response continuum

The collective effort underway with the Atlanta Police Department (APD), our community and partners to reform our City’s use of force policies will continue to position the police department as a national model for modern policing. Thank you to the members of the Use of Force Advisory Council for developing a roadmap that will help strengthen APD and build trust between law enforcement and our communities.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Administrative Orders Related to Use of Force Advisory Council’s 14 Day Recommendations

June 2020

Immediately upon receiving the Use of Force Advisory Council’s 14 day recommendations, Mayor Bottoms acted upon three of the 10 recommendations and asked for legal and operational review on the remaining seven. The recommendations that were immediately adopted and acted upon by the Administration are:

  • Commit to improving officer compliance and public transparency of body worn camera footage
  • Create a centralized repository for witness footage of use of force by officers
  • Extend powers and improve community awareness of Atlanta Citizen Review Board (ACRB)

Thank you to the members of this Advisory Council for your diligence and thoughtfulness. Together, we will harness this moment in history to reimagine our use of force policies and elevate the Atlanta Police Department as a national model for modern policing.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Administrative Orders Related to Transforming APD

June 2020

Mayor Bottoms issued two Administrative Orders related to transforming the City of Atlanta Police Department. The first order calls for the adoption of reforms regarding the Atlanta Police Department’s use of force policies. These immediate reforms include:

  • Requiring officer intervention in unreasonable use of deadly force
  • Providing restrictions on shooting at moving vehicles
  • Applying de-escalation techniques and using only objectively reasonable force necessary
  • Requiring reporting of all uses of deadly force by a police officer to the Citizens Review Board

The second order calls for a comprehensive review of how policing should be handled by the City of Atlanta.

We are taking a top to bottom review of how we police in Atlanta. These Administrative Orders will help accelerate our efforts to transform public safety within our city.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Convening of Use of Force Advisory Council

June 2020

The Issue

Police nationwide have shot and killed nearly 1,000 people annually since 2015, including approximately 181 shootings in the state of Georgia since 2015. Nationwide, although half of the people shot and killed by police are white, black Americans are shot at a disproportionate rate, accounting for less than 13 percent of the U.S. population, while being killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans. There remains an urgent need to address issues of police violence, systemic racism, and the need for the transformation of our justice system.

The Solution

Mayor Bottoms issued an Administrative Order to convene an Advisory Council comprised of community members and partners to examine the City’s use of force policies and procedures. The Advisory Council was charged with making recommendations for operational or legislative changes to the City’s existing use of force policies. Mayor Bottoms issued the Administrative Order following a virtual town hall hosted by former President Barack Obama and the My Brother’s Keeper Foundation which featured a discussion on nationwide police reform in the wake of several days of protest across the country.

What we have seen on the streets of our city over the past few days is a byproduct of an inexcusable racial bias that has been ingrained into the fabric of this nation. While an open dialogue on racial injustice is desperately needed, action is needed as well. The establishment of this Advisory Council is designed to ensure that there is meaningful reform in action long after the fires burn out and the smoke clears.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Police Recruit Housing Complex Groundbreaking

January 2020

Mayor Bottoms joined City officials, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, and community partners to break ground on a new housing complex on North Avenue in West Atlanta. The complex is part of the Atlanta Police Foundation’s Secure Neighborhoods program designed to reduce crime, improve community policing and provide affordable housing to Atlanta police officers. Secure Neighborhoods offers sworn APD police officers affordable options and incentives to purchase a home that has been renovated or built from the ground up. This program is part of the Westside Security Plan Initiative and is currently focused in three target neighborhoods: English Avenue, Vine City and Pittsburgh.

The brave men and women that serve our police department deserve to live in the city they protect. The transformation taking place on the Westside of Atlanta is a key example of what can happen when we harness the power of public-private partnerships. Thank you to the Arthur M. Blank Foundation and all of our partners for keeping safety in mind as you invest into building a better, equitable One Atlanta.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

APD Pay Raise

September 2018

The Issue

In early 2018, the City of Atlanta conducted a comprehensive market assessment to form base pay recommendations for APD’s police ranks. Once published, Mayor Bottoms convened a series of priority meetings with APD, the Atlanta Police Foundation, City of Atlanta officials and stakeholders to craft a swift and equitable plan of action to address the compensation concerns.

The Solution

The pay increase — 30 percent over the next three years — ensures that APD wages are competitive with other agencies in the region and in similarly sized urban centers nationwide. Additionally, this increase stabilizes Atlanta’s police force, enhances the retention of experienced officers, and strengthens recruitment efforts.

Each day, the women and men of the Atlanta Police Department serve our communities selflessly – some making the ultimate sacrifice to keep our city safe. It is time for the City of Atlanta to take care of those who take care of us.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

LGBTQ Citizens Police Academy

April 2018

The Issue

Outreach to the LGBTQ community is vital to the Atlanta Police Department (APD) because of the need for stronger understanding and trust with all the communities they serve.

The Solution

In April 2018, APD launched its first-ever LGBTQ Citizens Police Academy, a specialized program facilitated by APD’s LGBTQ Liaison Unit officers. The program consisted of information on core Citizens Police Academy topics including homicide, human trafficking, use of force and more. All of the topics were accompanied by conversations on the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community and how to better partner with police.

I commend the Atlanta Police Department for prioritizing a culture of respect with Atlanta’s LGBTQ community. Atlanta must remain a community where all people live their lives openly, feel safe, and be free of discrimination.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Topics

Mayor Bottoms Unveils One Atlanta: One APD Immediate Action Plan
Mayor’s Office Provides Implementation Update on Use of Force Advisory Council Recommendations
Mayor Bottoms Announces Partnerships with Police Executive Research Forum and Urban Planning and Management, LLC.
Mayor Bottoms Acts Upon Use of Force Advisory Council’s 45-Day Recommendations
Administrative Orders: Use of Force Advisory Council’s 14 Day Recommendations
Administrative Orders: Transforming APD
Convening of Use of Force Advisory Council
Police Recruit Housing Complex Groundbreaking
APD Pay Raise
LGBTQ Citizens Police Academy