Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Wednesday that the Police Executive Research Forum will review Atlanta Police Department's training and policies.
After the fatal police shooting of Rayshard Brooks in June, Bottoms vowed to reform the police department’s use-of-force policy while bolstering training that emphasizes de-escalation. She said she’s spent the last five months talking with policing experts across the country about criminal justice reform.
The consultants will likely face resistance from the rank-and-file, said Atlanta Police Union president Jason Segura. Officers have felt under siege since former Officer Garrett Rolfe was fired after fatally shooting Brooks at a downtown Wendy’s, Segura said. A DUI suspect, Brooks fought arrest and grabbed another officer’s Taser before the shooting.
In the days that followed, popular Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned and Rolfe was charged with felony murder and other charges. Many officers staged a “blue flu” in solidarity. The police department has lost twice as many officers to retirement or relocation this year than in 2019 and recruitment remains a challenge, internal documents show.
Bottoms told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that change will come quickly.
“We’re not going to wait until the end of the 18 months to implement the recommendations,” she said. “We’re going to do it as we roll along.”