Atlanta’s interim police chief was named chief Monday and announced he is “immediately restructuring” his department, following another violent weekend in the city.
Chief Rodney Bryant, addressing the Atlanta City Council, said APD will centralize its investigations unit, create a new domestic violence team and expand its gun assault unit. He said the changes should allow police “to work more aggravated assault cases more thoroughly, more efficiently and take individuals off the streets more rapidly,” the Journal-Constitution reports.
With homicides up more than 60% from this time last year, Bryant pitched the restructuring as a way for APD to use its resources and staff more effectively to prevent and investigate crimes.
Bryant said the department also plans to grow its license and permitting unit to address restaurants and clubs that violate city laws. He said he will hire five new civilian inspectors and move three additional police investigators onto that unit.
Bryant said his restructuring plan includes administrative officers having more of a street presence, but he noted that “when we are cutting back in one area, it affects another.”
Council members peppered Bryant with questions about the department’s crime prevention strategies and recruitment efforts. Bryant said recruitment has increased in recent months and that the po-lice department will use a marketing specialist to promote hiring.
Later in the meeting, the council approved the city’s budget for the next year, which includes a 7% increase in police department funding, from $215 million to over $230 million. This $15 million in-crease, the largest for any department in the general fund, allows the department to hire 150 additional officers and implement an additional pay raise for police.