Mayor addresses Atlanta police officers' departures, drop in morale

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the rank and file members of the Atlanta Police Department are still recovering from the blow to morale following the arrests and terminations of officers involved in violent or deadly encounters during the last few months of racial and civil unrest across the nation.

"We have seen a higher than normal resignation rate in APD, but I can also tell you Atlanta is not alone.

"This is a tough time for public safety. I'm not going to sugar coat that," Mayor Lance Bottoms said during a virtual news conference with reporters.

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Sources told FOX 5, 36 officers resigned or retired from APD in August. Rodney Bryant, the interim police chief appointed after chief Erika Shields stepped down in June, said commanders are having on-going conversations with officers to gauge their concerns about policing in Atlanta and in the current climate.

"As we have moved from the level of where we were just two months ago, the conversation has changed when we're listening to officers. Are there still some concerns? Absolutely We're on the mend to getting better, but there's still a ways to go," the interim chief.

The mayor said she's confident will get through this challenging chapter for APD.

"Right now, we are giving Chief Bryant what he needs and making sure APD as a whole has what it needs during this transformation," said Lance Bottoms.

According to the mayor, if history repeats itself, some of those officers who resigned will seek reemployment with APD. But union reps insist many officers who quit were concerned about being charged with a crime if an encounter escalates and involves the use of force.

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