Chief: Atlanta police remain vigilant in fight against violence

Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant, shown in a May file photo, outlined his plans Wednesday for fighting crime this summer. (Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant, shown in a May file photo, outlined his plans Wednesday for fighting crime this summer. (Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Rebecca Wright

Credit: Rebecca Wright

Bryant outlines plans to confront summer crime wave

When school’s out and the city is abuzz with social activities, Atlanta crime typically climbs, the city’s police chief said Wednesday.

But this summer, Chief Rodney Bryant says the Atlanta Police Department will remain vigilant. Bryant outlined his plans — which include targeting the hardest-hit areas, addressing gun violence and gangs, and increasing officers’ presence — during a news conference Wednesday afternoon at APD headquarters.

“We’ve seen an uptick in crime throughout Atlanta and I want to reassure the citizens of Atlanta that we will be vigilant,” Bryant said.

ExploreFollowing weekend violence, Atlanta police chief announces department restructuring

The department is still working toward a goal of hiring 250 additional officers, Bryant said. Until then, he plans to shift some staffing resources while increasing the weekend command staff.

“We want to be able to put more police officers out on the street,” Bryant said. “So we’re adjusting our administrative personnel as well, where they will be deployed out into areas to supplement the day-to-day patrols that you are seeing.”

Bryant’s comments came two days after he told the Atlanta City Council that he’s “immediately restructuring” his department following the latest violent weekend that involved a shooting spree in Buckhead. Later Monday afternoon, the council confirmed Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ appointment of Bryant as the permanent police chief.

Bottoms appointed Bryant as interim chief in June 2020 after Chief Erika Shields submitted her resignation. Shields resigned the day after a white police officer fatally shot Rayshard Brooks, a Black man.

Bryant has announced several changes to the department’s structure, including a centralized investigations unit, a new domestic violence unit, expansion of the gun assault unit, and additional inspectors for the license and permitting team. APD officers will continue to work with various law enforcement agencies and community groups, including programs for children, he said.

“When our youth don’t have anything to do, they find something else to do,” Bryant said. “They tend either to be the perpetrators of something or the victims of some crime.”

The chief also encouraged neighborhood watch groups and other “community policing” to help the department fight crime.

“We’re doing everything that we possibly can to expand our response to violent crime,” Bryant said. “But violent crime cannot be fought with just police alone.”

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