"A high-ranking department leader called me this week to inform us that he has been instructed by the mayor’s team to lower recruitment and hiring standards, so Mayor [Andre] Dickens can hire 250 new officers in his first year," Buckhead City CEO Bill White was quoted as saying. "This is a total disaster and could lead to unqualified officers on our streets and put good officers’ lives and the public’s lives at risk. Lowering hiring standards just to make headlines is disgraceful and not what Buckhead or the city of Atlanta needs right now to fight crime."
APD took to Facebook on Thursday to refute the claims point-by-point writing:
"We at the Atlanta Police Department (APD) love the entire City of Atlanta; however, we must stand up for our department and our troops and we must refute false claims and misinformation recently made.
"We don’t want to be dragged into the middle of a misinformation campaign.
"Here are the facts:
"1. The APD is NOT lowering hiring standards for our police officers.
"a. There is no need to lower our standards.
"b. In 2021, we hired 122 recruits -- this during a time we were seeing a nationwide decrease in police applications.
"c. We fully anticipate surpassing our 2021 numbers and meeting the mayor’s hiring goal for 2022, without making any changes to our hiring standards.
"2. The commander over our Background and Recruitment Unit is Deputy Chief Celeste Murphy and she is committed to increasing hiring, without lowering any hiring or training standards.
"3. All incoming APD employees must pass an intense background investigation.
"a. In 2021, we suspended 813 applicants for failing to meet our hiring standards.
"4. The certification process to become a police officer is regulated by the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (POST).
"a. POST has not lowered their standards.
"b. Our standards have been and will remain above those required by the state.
"5. Once an applicant is hired, the process isn’t over.
"a. All police recruits must complete over 800 hours of training and 12 weeks of field training, before they graduate the academy.
"b. This is well above the state-required 408 hours of training.
"c. Recruits who do not meet our training standards do not move on to become Atlanta Police Officers.
"We hope this has helped clear things up for everyone.
"Regardless of any misinformation you may hear, the Atlanta Police Department remains among the best law enforcement agencies in the nation. We are proud of our officers and the training standards each is held to and we are proud to serve everyone in this great city. We will continue working to improve the quality of life of every Atlantan."