As part of a reorganization of City of Atlanta government, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has announced the creation of the position of Atlanta Public Safety Commissioner, according to a press release.
Mayor Bottoms says having a Public Safety Commissioner allows the City’s public safety department chiefs to focus more effectively on critical day-to-day operations.
“Atlanta is preparing for several major events in the coming months, including the Super Bowl,” noted Mayor Bottoms. “The new Public Safety Commissioner will be able to coordinate the departments in a unified manner.”
Former Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, who spent seven years leading the APD and a total of thirty-six years on the force, has been named the interim Public Safety Commissioner.
Turner will oversee the Atlanta Police Department; the Atlanta City Department of Corrections; the Office of Emergency Preparedness; and the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.
“Chief Turner’s impeccable record of leadership and service to the City he grew up in makes him uniquely qualified for this extremely important job,” said Mayor Bottoms.
Turner will serve as Executive on Loan from the Atlanta Hawks, where he is currently the Vice President of Safety, Security, and Parking. The Hawks will cover his salary for at least one year.
“I am extremely grateful to the Hawks’ Owner Tony Ressler and Hawks CEO Steve Koonin for allowing me the opportunity to serve the City of Atlanta once again,” said Turner. “It shows their unwavering commitment to being good neighbors and active business partners in our City.”
Turner’s priority will be to address the recent spike in property crime, much of which, he says, is driven by young people.
“We will get to work right away to determine the causes behind this increase in crime and then reach out to our counterparts in the juvenile justice system to create an effective strategy to reduce those numbers,” said Turner. “Our goal is to make Atlanta one of the safest cities in America.”
Maintaining the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department’s Class 1 Insurance Service Office Rating will also be a top priority for Turner. AFRD responded to more than 100,000 calls for service last year. In addition, as the number of inmates continues to shrink, the fate of the Atlanta City Jail will demand a deeper analysis by the Public Safety Commissioner. Turner will also help the Office of Emergency Preparedness with its goal to be a national leader in the areas of preparedness and resiliency.