Atlanta police have option to making arrests

Police in Atlanta have an option not to arrest for certain low-level offenses.

That message is being delivered to officers in every quadrant of the city.

Atlanta City Council recently got a briefing on a program that attempts to intercept a potential encounter between the officer and an individual who is being detained in the street.

The citizen may be poor without shelter or may have some sort of mental incapacity.

An officer, who first checks for criminal history, will ask the individual if he will agree to get some help in lieu of being arrested.

Human service professionals are then contacted and go to the scene to make an assessment.

The program, called PAD, already has three dozen officers who have been trained.

A video of the process is being distributed to every zone.

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