A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said Bottoms has made investments into PAD a priority and championed it since 2017 — before Brown’s term on the council.
“Because of the Administration’s commitment, PAD services recently expanded to the entire city, and the program is on track to help more than 400 people avoid incarceration this year. As a result, these individuals will be connected with healthcare, employment, housing and other community support services,” according to the mayor’s office.
PAD leaders last month told the Atlanta City Council that PAD is on track to assist 450 people this year who would otherwise be arrested for nonviolent offenses. Officers can call PAD for misdemeanor offenders to provide housing or medical care instead of sending that person to jail.
When Atlanta police officers make PAD referrals, they receive merits toward their performance reports just as they would after they make traffic stops or arrests, according to a copy of an evaluation chart obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It’s unclear if merits for PAD referrals matter just as much as the other actions committed by officers.
Brown said the idea is that by diverting people to non-emergency personnel, Atlanta can redirect its police force toward addressing violent crime. He has also called for a study into the creation of a Public Safety and Wellness Department — another pitch from his campaign — which would also focus on non-emergency incidents.
Several candidates are running to replace Bottoms as mayor in the November election. The major candidates so far include councilmen Brown and Andre Dickens, attorney Sharon Gay, Council President Felicia Moore, and former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter J.D. Capelouto contributed to this article.