City of Atlanta
Georgia

Resolution
21-R-3006
Adopted Substitute as Amended
Jan 19, 2021 1:00 PM

****A RESOLUTION BY COUNCILMEMBERS ANTONIO BROWN, JOYCE M. SHEPERD, J. P. MATZIGKEIT, MICHAEL JULIAN BOND, ANDREA L. BOONE, JENNIFER N. IDE, ANDRE DICKENS, MATT WESTMORELAND, NATALYN M. ARCHIBONG, CARLA SMITH AND MARCI COLLIER OVERSTREET AS SUBSTITUTED AND AMENDED BY PUBLIC SAFETY AND LEGAL ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE AS AMENDED BY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT/HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE REQUESTING THE PUBLIC SAFETY AND LEGAL ADMINISTRATION, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT/HUMAN SERVICES AND FINANCE/EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES OF THE ATLANTA CITY COUNCIL TO CONDUCT A FEASIBILITY STUDY AND COMPILE COMPREHENSIVE RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CREATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND WELLNESS, WITHIN THE CITY OF ATLANTA, THAT WILL FORMALLY COORDINATE AND DIRECT PUBLIC SAFETY AND WELLNESS EFFORTS; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

Information

Department:Office of Research and Policy AnalysisSponsors:Councilmember, District 3 Antonio Brown, Councilmember, Post 3 At Large Andre Dickens, Councilmember, District 10 Andrea L. Boone, Councilmember, District 8 J. P. Matzigkeit, Councilmember, District 6 Jennifer N. Ide, Councilmember, District 12 Joyce M Sheperd, Councilmember, Post 2 At Large Matt Westmoreland, Councilmember, Post 1 At Large Michael Julian Bond
Category:Personal PaperFunctions:None Required

Item Discussion

(Favorable on Substitute as Amended by Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee 1/11/21; Favorable on Substitute as Amended by Community Development/Human Services Committee 1/12/21)

Body

WHEREAS, Article 1, Section 1-102, Subsection (b), of the City of Atlanta (the “City”) Charter vests the City with all powers necessary and proper to promote the safety, health, peace, and general welfare of the City and its inhabitants; and

 

WHEREAS, Section 3-302 of the City of Atlanta Charter provides that the mayor is empowered to initiate, direct, and implement the reorganization of any department, and must do so by preparing and signing a plan of reorganization of any department or departments and submitting such plan to the Atlanta City Council; and

 

WHEREAS, Section 3-302 of the Charter further provides that any plan presented shall be in the form of a proposed ordinance and the council shall by majority vote approve, modify, or reject any such plan within 60 days of its submission to the council; and no reorganization shall become effective until the council has acted or 60 days have elapsed from the date of submission, whichever first occurs; and

 

WHEREAS, a goal of establishing a Department of Public Safety and Wellness is to address many communities’ concern for a lack of accountability and transparency between police and public and increase community safety; and

 

WHEREAS, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms along with public safety experts and organizations have worked to build a One Atlanta One APD Plan to establish a comprehensive plan of recommendations to address public safety and wellness within Atlanta; and

 

WHEREAS, the City appreciates the incredibly difficult work of the men and women who make up the Atlanta Police Department and the Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department and is committed to retaining and better supporting our officers who have committed to the highest standards of service; and

 

WHEREAS, it is important to address concerns of emergency members being overworked and departments’ low morale stemming from being tasked with non-emergency and administrative functions not appropriate for sworn police and fire members; and

 

WHEREAS, allowing for a more collaborative opportunity for the Chief of Police, Chief of Fire & Non-Emergency services to report directly into a Commissioner with overall expertise and experience in these areas of service would prove beneficial; and

 

WHEREAS, streamlining emergency & non-emergency functions under a newly formed Department of Public Safety and Wellness will allow for a more efficient and cost-effective way to address issues of major crimes and non-emergency matters; and

 

WHEREAS, it is important to create an opportunity to rebuild the trust between police and fire and our community, while being a bridge to safety for the city’s most vulnerable population; and

 

WHEREAS, citywide there has been an increase in violent crimes in 2020, and a sense that effectively engaging criminal acts must be prioritized; and

 

WHEREAS, homicides in the City increased by 62% in 2020, while aggravated assaults increased by 15%; and

 

WHEREAS, residents, business owners, and visitors have demanded that the City aggressively respond to the rising incidents of violent crimes; and

 

WHEREAS, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has worked in her administration to reimagining policing in the City, and it is of the interest of city council that these recommendations be included in the ongoing work being done to reimagine public safety and wellness; and

 

WHEREAS, pursuant to 18-O-1544, adopted by the City Council on September 17, 2018 and approved on September 25, 2018 the position of Public Safety Commissioner within the Office of the Mayor was established for the formalized coordination and direction of public safety efforts and departments within the structure of the executive branch; and

 

WHEREAS, local and state jurisdictions across the nation have reimagined how public safety is administered to enhance the effectiveness of responding to both emergency and non-emergency matters; and

 

WHEREAS, the City of Albuquerque established the Community Safety Department to address non-emergency situations. Community Safety responders with backgrounds as social workers, peer to peer support, clinicians, counselors, and similar fields; and

 

WHEREAS, the City of St. Louis provides professional dispute resolution services through its Conflict Resolution Center to promote peaceful, lasting and effective solutions to address conflicts that could potentially escalate into violence; and

 

WHEREAS, addressing concerns of accountability and transparency in the community are of the highest importance, and reimagining public safety and wellness to create tangible solutions to supporting our police, fire, and non-emergency services in the City will address morale and enhance relationships between first responders and constituents; and

 

WHEREAS, conducting a feasibility study and compiling a comprehensive plan of action to determine the most effective manner in which to reduce overall crimes in the City, while also efficiently addressing non-emergency matters and holistically addressing the root causes of crime must now be considered; and

 

WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of the our residents, business owners, and visitors that City leadership, local government entities, nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders come together to best determine how our police, fire, and non-emergency services are administered; and

 

WHEREAS, The City needs to take immediate, short-term action to evaluate and assess the cash bail/signature bond program while preparing for medium-term action so our sworn officers are focused on emergency situations, our City is more effective at responding to non-emergency situations, and our new and existing officers have access to improved training facilities. 

 

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA, that the Public Safety/Legal Administration, Community Development/Human Service, and Finance/Executive Committees of the Atlanta City Council are hereby requested to conduct a feasibility study and compile comprehensive recommendations regarding the establishment within the City of Atlanta a newly formed Department of Public Safety and Wellness.

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Public Safety/Legal Administration, Community Development/Human Service, and Finance/Executive Committees shall at a minimum consider as part of the feasibility study and comprehensive recommendations:

 

a)              Establishing a new Department of Public Safety & Wellness consisting of a newly formed division, offices, and positions to successfully address emergency and non-emergency functions;

 

b)              Establishing a new position of Commissioner for Department of Public Safety & Wellness to report directly to the Mayor;

 

c)              Establishing a new hybrid Division of Non-Emergency Response (Community-Based Safety Response) under the newly formed Department of Public Safety and Wellness that will be responsible for all non-emergency and community service functions that were previously handled by Atlanta Police, Fire and Rescue and Constituent Services. This new division will liaise with Atlanta Police Department to ensure the protection of these first responders when in the field and eliminate the criminalization of poverty;

 

d)              In accordance with Mayor’s assessment plan to close and repurpose Atlanta City Detention Center, support current Chief of Department of Corrections & personnel redeployment plan and consider reallocation to newly created positions within newly formed Division of Non-Emergency Response and ensure proper training is available;

 

e)              Review roles and responsibilities within Atlanta Police and Fire and Rescue Departments to determine the necessity of a sworn officer performing administrative functions as opposed to a non-sworn member handling these responsibilities. This assessment will increase sworn officers in the field, focused on department core mission addressing emergency services;

 

f)              Compile an analysis on the cost and requirements to establish a non-emergency response number (such as 611 or an alternative number) for residents to address non-emergency issues or mental health crisis occurring within the city;

 

g)              Evaluate establishing an Office of Communications under Department of Public Safety and Wellness for city emergency and non-emergency communication to support emergency response calls (911), newly established non-emergency response number (such as 611) and city service calls (311) to streamline efficiencies and bring city emergency and non-emergency communications under one office;

 

h)              Evaluate removing independent Offices of Professional Standards from the Atlanta Police, and Fire and Rescue Departments to standardize Office of Professional Standards under one office streamlining administrative functions, including, but not limited to, officer complaints and investigations, allowing for an unbiased and independent review under new Department of Public Safety and Wellness. This newly formed office would liaise with newly formed Office of Inspector General and Atlanta Citizen Review Board in an opportunity to rebuild community trust;

 

i)              Evaluate removing administrative functions of Licensing & Permitting from the Atlanta Police Department Special Enforcement Division to newly formed Division of Non-Emergency Response with the function of enforcement remaining with Atlanta Police Department;

 

j)              Evaluate removing Code Enforcement from under Atlanta Police Department to a service function under new Division of Non-Emergency Response, due to it being a non-emergency function under Atlanta Police Department that does not require a sworn officer;

 

k)              Evaluate moving Constituent Services under new Division of Non-Emergency Response given city services calls (311) will be aligned with newly formed Office of Communications under newly formed Department of Public Safety and Wellness;

 

l)              Evaluate removing Community Services Division (community policing, Airport section, PATH, PAL & Community Liaise) from Atlanta Police Department to new Division of Non-Emergency Response under newly formed Department of Public Safety due to the non-emergency and administrative functions of this current division;  

 

m)              Based on Mayors desires to address the morale of City of Atlanta emergency personnel, evaluate establishing programs to support the morale of the members of the newly created Department of Public Safety and Wellness;

 

n)              Develop strategy for filling 350 budgeted vacancies within the Atlanta Police Department, both to support the newly created non-emergency response unit as well as creating a pipeline program to support recruitment of new sworn officers, including partnering with non-profit organizations such as the Atlanta Police Foundation to offer prospective officers incentives like a sign-on bonus and down-payment assistance to help purchase a home within the city limits; 

 

o)              Immediately establish a working group, including the Chief Judge of the Municipal Court, Southern Center for Human Rights, City Solicitors Office, County Solicitors Office, Public Defenders Office and any other necessary organization deemed appropriate, to perform an evaluation and reassessment of the current cash bail/signature bond system that would seek to improve the current structure to account for the circumstances of accused persons’ who come before the court frequently. The scope of the working group should include, but not limited to, promulgating recommendations for non-financial conditions allowing for the accused to comply with orders of the court and receive care and or services through access to programs made available by Solicitors Office, Public Defenders Office and or Policing Alternative & Diversion Initiative for monitoring and support in order to avoid the assessment of pre-trial penalties until matters are adjudicated;

 

p)              Evaluate establishing a partnership with Fulton County and Atlanta Public Schools to create a comprehensive action plan and timeline to identify a collaborative pathway to improve outcomes for at-risk youth and deter them from entering the criminal justice system;

 

q)              Evaluate establishing a partnership with Fulton County and Atlanta Public Schools to identify and support required funding needed to extend the Atlanta Public School Family Center to support after-work hours (crisis hotline) including weekend support for mental health, substance abuse, and non-emergency crisis, routing these calls directly to newly established non-emergency response number;

 

r)              Establish a working group comprised of nonprofits and conflict specialists working in collaboration to evaluate building a network of community conflict resolution centers with a goal of providing mediation and conflict resolution services to Atlanta communities dealing with gang and family violence;

 

s)              Evaluate a strategy of identifying and applying for grants which may be utilized to address systemic economic inequities in Black and Brown communities as a means of enhancing public safety and community wellness;

 

t)              Evaluate establishing an immediate public and private partnership with the Atlanta Police Foundation to create an action plan and identify funding to build The Center for Social Justice and Public Safety Training Center, a state-of-the-art public safety training facility for all new officers and regular continuing education for current officers;

 

u)              Establishing a timeline to evaluate extending and expanding existing training curriculum for future incoming officers and execute a mandatory retraining of all officers in alignment with the Mayors’ Excessive Force Committee recommendations;

 

v)              Establishing salaries, budgets and qualifications required of newly formed department, divisions, offices, and positions based on industry standards and other adequately sized municipalities; and

 

w)              Evaluate the implementation of the Mayor’s Use of Force Advisory Council recommendations, such as #20 & #21, committing to eliminating performance evaluation systems and disciplinary actions that incentivize officers to make unnecessary arrest and committing to incentivizing diversion instead.

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Council will convene within thirty (30) days following the approval of this Resolution, to identify a consulting firm to perform the study in partnership with the Public Safety/Legal Administration, Community Development/Human Services and Finance/Executive committees, a subcommittee shall be formed to include the author of the legislation, and the Chairs of the Public Safety/Legal Administration and Finance/Executive Committees to assess the associated costs and the next steps for funding, and jointly hold no less than two (2) work sessions with community partners and organizations, experts in public safety and the public on establishing a newly formed Department of Public Safety and Wellness.

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the designated consulting firm identified by Council and the Public Safety/Legal Administration Committee, Community Development/Human Services, and Finance/Executive Committees shall submit formal recommendations of its findings to all council members and administration for establishment of new Department of Public Safety and Wellness within ninety (90) days upon the engagement of the consulting firm identified pursuant to this Resolution.

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be effective immediately upon approval.

 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that all resolutions or parts thereof in conflict with this ordinance are hereby waived to the extent of the conflict. 

 

 

 

Meeting History

Jan 4, 2021 1:00 PM Video Atlanta City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft

REFERRED TO PUBLIC SAFETY AND LEGAL ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT/HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE AND FINANCE/EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE WITHOUT OBJECTION

RESULT:REFERRED WITHOUT OBJECTION
Jan 11, 2021 2:00 PM Video Public Safety & Legal Administration Committee Regular Committee Meeting
draft Draft
RESULT:FAVORABLE/SUB/AMENDED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Joyce M Sheperd, Chair
SECONDER:Michael Julian Bond, Post 1 At Large
AYES:Joyce M Sheperd, Michael Julian Bond, Carla Smith, Amir R Farokhi, Cleta Winslow, Dustin Hillis, Andrea L. Boone
Jan 12, 2021 1:30 PM Video Community Development/Human Services Committee Regular Committee Meeting
draft Draft

FORWARDED TO FINANCE/EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

RESULT:FAVORABLE/SUB/AMENDED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Antonio Brown, Vice-Chair, District 3
SECONDER:Joyce M Sheperd, District 12
AYES:Matt Westmoreland, Michael Julian Bond, Carla Smith, Antonio Brown, Natalyn Mosby Archibong, Joyce M Sheperd, Dustin Hillis
Jan 13, 2021 1:30 PM Video Finance/Executive Committee Regular Committee Meeting
draft Draft
RESULT:FAVORABLE/SUB/AMENDED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Joyce M Sheperd, District 12
SECONDER:Matt Westmoreland, Post 2 At-Large
AYES:Jennifer N. Ide, Matt Westmoreland, Andre Dickens, Natalyn Mosby Archibong, Howard Shook, J. P. Matzigkeit, Joyce M Sheperd
Jan 19, 2021 1:00 PM Video Atlanta City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft

ADOPTED SUBSTITUTE AS AMENDED BY A ROLL CALL VOTE OF 15 YEAS; 0 NAYS

RESULT:ADOPTED SUBSTITUTE AS AMENDED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Dustin Hillis, Councilmember, District 9
SECONDER:Carla Smith, Councilmember, District 1
AYES:Michael Julian Bond, Matt Westmoreland, Andre Dickens, Carla Smith, Amir R Farokhi, Antonio Brown, Cleta Winslow, Natalyn Mosby Archibong, Jennifer N. Ide, Howard Shook, J. P. Matzigkeit, Dustin Hillis, Andrea L. Boone, Marci Collier Overstreet, Joyce M Sheperd