Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Wednesday night that police officer morale “is down ten-fold” as the Atlanta Police Department denies rumors of officers calling in sick or walking off the job.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says morale in her city’s police department “is down ten-fold” amid reports officers are calling in sick tonight.
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) June 18, 2020
“There’s a lot happening in our city, and the police officers are receiving the brunt of it quite frankly,” said Bottoms during an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo. (RELATED: Police Officer Resigns After Allegedly Using Police Database To Find A Woman On Facebook)
In an interview with Decaturish, the head of Atlanta’s police union Vince Champion said that officers stopped answering calls mid-shift after learning that Garrett Rolfe was charged with the felony murder of Rayshard Brooks.
“The union, we would never advocate this,” Champion told Decaturish. “We don’t know the numbers. Apparently we’re learning that command staff are asking outlying counties for support and aren’t getting it.”
A statement on Twitter from the Atlanta Police Department denied the walkout.
Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate. The department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call outs with the incoming shift. We have enough resources to maintain operations & remain able to respond to incidents.
— Atlanta Police Department (@Atlanta_Police) June 18, 2020
Atlanta Sergeant John Chafee also told CBS News that “Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate” when asked about the rumors police officers were resigning or walking out of their shifts.
Chafee said that so far, in June, eight officers have resigned, five have been suspended and three have retired, as reported by CBS News.
Bottoms said her administration and the police department have a “great working relationship,” per CBS News.
“Our officers were given a historic pay raise by our administration, and it was so our officers wouldn’t have to work three jobs and be fatigued, so that they could afford to live in the city of Atlanta, so they wouldn’t be resentful about policing our streets so that we could have the best to choose from on our force,” said Bottoms. “We expect that our officers will keep their commitment to our communities.”
A report from Atlanta In Town said that Zone 6 of Atlanta did not have “the usual APD presence” and claimed that the Zone 3 precinct was occupied with Fulton County sheriffs.