DeKalb police chief addresses surge in violence, officer shortage

DeKalb County Police Chief Mirtha Ramos spoke in an exclusive one-on-one interview with FOX 5 after several violent incidents in the past few weeks.  

"The police department is here for you and if you don't feel comfortable with us, then we want you to become comfortable," Chief Ramos said. 

Chief Ramos on violent crimes 

Six people were shot in a neighborhood on Greenway Drive last week. Eight people were injured in a shooting at a Pinups Strip Club last Sunday. Wild surveillance video shows two men shot inside a popular wing spot off Covington Highway early Wednesday morning.  

"Crime is down in DeKalb County. I know that it doesn't appear to be but incidents like these are happening like what we have seen over the past few years. People not knowing how to de-escalate the situations," Ramos said.  

Ramos says there is a shortage of officers, but this is not hindering their ability to provide help. 

"We are short, but we have never used that as an excuse not to do our jobs. We have not used it as an excuse as to why the violence is occurring. What we have done is increase community outreach. Increased patrols," Ramos said.  

Ramos says, compared to last year, guns stolen from inside vehicles are down. He also says they've given away more than 2,000 gun locks and safes. 

Chief Ramos on youth violence 

As children are out for the summer, it is crucial that parents pay attention. 

"Be aware of what your children are doing. There was a time it was enough to know who the friends of your children were. Now you need to know who the friends of the friends and who are the parents," Ramos said.  

Ramos says the popular Basketball After Dark is coming back between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. 

"During those hours they are not on the street. They are being fed and have a workshop before the game talking to them about life and how to be better," Ramos said.  

Chief Ramos on crime-fighting technology 

Ramos says they have ordered 100 additional license plate readers and are working to integrate cameras into one central system.  

"We want to be able to have a real-time crime center building now so we can monitor the community without having to be out in the community," Ramos said.  

Ramos, who has 27 years of law enforcement experience, took over as the county’s top cop in November 2019.