Atlanta Mayor Bottoms: Our Police Morale ‘Is Down Tenfold’ – ‘Streets Won’t Be any Less Safe’ Because of Officers Calling out

On Wednesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Cuomo Primetime,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) said that police department morale is down across the country, “and I think ours is down tenfold.” Bottoms also said that there are enough officers to cover the night and the streets of Atlanta will not be “any less safe because of the number of officers who have called out.” And that she hopes that “our officers will remember the commitment that they made when they held up their hand and they were sworn in as police officers in the city of Atlanta.”

Bottoms said, “Well, you know, Chris, across the country, morale is down with police departments, and I think ours is down tenfold. This has been a very tough few weeks in Atlanta, and — with the tragedy of Mr. Brooks, and then on top of that, the excessive force charges that were brought against the officers involved with the college students, there’s a lot happening in our city, and our police officers are receiving the brunt of it, quite frankly.”

She continued that her administration has “had a great working relationship with our officers. In fact, our officers were given a historic pay raise by our administration. And it was so our officers wouldn’t have to work three jobs and be fatigued so that they could afford to live in the city of Atlanta, so that they would not be resentful about policing our streets, so that we could have the best to choose from on our force. And so, what I would say is, in the same way our administration’s made that commitment to our officers, we expect that our officers will keep their commitment to our communities.”

Bottoms added that the charges brought against former officer Garrett Rolfe in the killing of Rayshard Brooks do not justify any potential revolt from officers.

She later stated that while she doesn’t have numbers on how many officers are not calling in or calling out sick, “we do have enough officers to cover us through the night. And our streets won’t be any less safe because of the number of officers who have called out. But it’s just my hope, again, that our officers will remember the commitment that they made when they held up their hand and they were sworn in as police officers in the city of Atlanta.” Bottoms later said that other law enforcement agencies have been notified in case they need to be called in, and she believes the city will face its “true test” on Thursday.

Bottoms also said that she is “most concerned about” how to fix the morale of the Atlanta PD and ensuring that the community is safe.

She added that there are many officers “who care about this city and they work each and every day with integrity and with honest interactions with our communities. And so, those are the people who I expect will show up for work. And if we have officers who don’t want bad officers weeded out of the force, then that’s another conversation that we need to have with all of our officers.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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