Atlanta mayor gets to create offices for social justice, reducing crime

After the approval vote of the Public Safety Training Center this week, Mayor Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant, Chief Rod Smith of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department and Dave Wilkinson of the Atlanta Police Foundation address questions about the facility, it's location and the concerns of the community Thursday, Sept 9, 2021.  (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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After the approval vote of the Public Safety Training Center this week, Mayor Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant, Chief Rod Smith of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department and Dave Wilkinson of the Atlanta Police Foundation address questions about the facility, it's location and the concerns of the community Thursday, Sept 9, 2021. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Atlanta City Council passed legislation Monday that will officially establish the creation of two executive offices: the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and the Office of Violence Reduction.

Crime has the become the leading issue in this year’s Atlanta’s mayoral race after last year’s historic rise in homicides. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who is not seeking reelection, announced in July that she would pursue a $70 million investment into plans to combat violent crime. Some of those funds will go into the new violence reduction office.

In a statement, Bottoms called the new office “another step in the right direction towards keeping our communities safe.”

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“We are committed to making investments in expanding violence interruption programs, which have proven successful in other cities,” Bottoms said.

The violence reduction office will lead several plans, such as installing 1,000 streetlights in “high violence areas” by December, according to the mayor’s office in a news release. In addition to coordinating expansions in infrastructure and enforcement against nuisance properties, the new office will also support efforts to add 250 cameras into the city’s network this year, as well as hiring 250 more officers in fiscal year 2022.

Bottoms also thanked the council for unanimously supporting a permanent office for equity, diversity and inclusion, which she called “the cornerstone of our administration.” She previously announced the establishment of a similar office, known as One Atlanta, in 2018 during her first year in office.

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According to the mayor’s office, the equity office will work with city departments and external partners to develop “social justice policies and programs that confront issues” concerning economic and workforce mobility, housing affordability, health, LGBTQ affairs, transportation, education and youth engagement, immigrant affairs, climate change, resilience and sustainability, and criminal justice reform.

“Formally making this office a part of our City government will ensure that this impactful work continues for years to come,” Bottoms said.

The council’s actions will authorize Atlanta’s Chief Financial Officer to amend the fiscal year 2022 budget to create a funding account for the new violence reduction office, according to the legislation.

The legislation also states the Chief Financial Officer and the Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources can transfer positions from other departments in the executive branch to the new offices “to facilitate the immediate commencement” of streamlined operations.

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