ATLANTA - An Atlanta mayoral candidate announced his plan to curb a rising in crime, particularly gun violence, in the city.
Atlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens, City Council Post 3 at-Large, intends to increase the size of the Atlanta Police Department's force, target gang leaders and focus on reducing gun trafficking in the city.
The plan is based on "21st Century Policing best practices" and also seeks to support officers with community police and new technology.
"Most of us recognize that we are short on our police staff, so we do have to get out staff up. My plan for 250 in on the first in, in the second year, but my plan especially works on retention to make sure we don't just train these officers but we want to make sure they are training in 21st century policing and that we retain them so we don't lose that talent that we just recruited," Dickens said.
Dickens said his plan was reviewed and endorsed by experienced personnel with extensive law enforcement careers.
"The modern police force needs to be able to provide a nuanced response to the community and that requires hiring and training a police force that is prepared to do more than simply arrest and incarcerate our community," Councilmember Dickens said while joined by community leaders. "While arrests for violent criminals are of course necessary, we simply cannot arrest our way out of a crime wave."
Dickens used the acronym S.A.F.E. to describe his four-point plan:
- Surge the police force by 250 officers during my first year in office while training every APD employee in racial sensitivity and de-escalation techniques.
- Arrest gang leaders that are preying on our children and resolve pandemic-related court backlogs to get violent criminals off our streets.
- Force with GBI, FBI, and ATF to address gun trafficking and a task force to hire and deploy specialists to deal with non-violent issues like mental health and homelessness.
- Empower APD to engage in community policing and to support them with new technologies to reduce response times, like smart streetlights, shot-spotters and software connecting APD and Fulton Sheriffs.
"We have to identify and immediately address the crime of today while taking the necessary steps in our communities to prevent the crime of tomorrow," Dickens said in a statement.
Dickens has spoken to FOX 5 Atlanta in the past about mentoring programs he's created, such as a midnight basketball program at Atlanta recreation centers. As a councilman, he proposed providing housing for cadets — 36 apartments where they can stay for free while in class trying to learn to become a cop.
Dickens will face off against some other big names this November.
Voters will head to the polls on November 2.
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