DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond delivers his annual State of the County address at a luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia Thursday 25, 2019. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

‘DeKalb is rising,’ Thurmond says in annual address

DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond said the county is on the right path after years of neglect, and he urged government and business leaders to celebrate progress.

“Let the word go forth that the sleeping giant has awakened,” Thurmond said during his 2019 State of the County address.

Roughly 600 people were registered to attend the luncheon held at a Dunwoody hotel. The CEO spoke about successes since taking office in 2017 and areas where the county needs more improvement.

One of those issues is public safety, the CEO said. He invoked the memory of Officer Edgar Isidro Flores, who was shot and killed in December during a routine traffic stop.

Thurmond said DeKalb’s law enforcement and courts system was effective but more must be done to prevent officers from being killed in the line of duty. He also spoke about the high rate of homicides involving young, black men.

“If we are going to be safe, this system must be strong,” he said. “But we can’t arrest and incarcerate ourselves out the crisis that we are in.”

Thurmond said there has to be more job programs for younger DeKalb residents.

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