Statement from Mayor Reed's Office on blue lights investigation

For the past eight weeks, WSB-TV has pursued a reckless and irresponsible story which seeks to call into question the decisions made by the Executive Protection unit of the Atlanta Police Department for Mayor Kasim Reed. In their zeal to create a controversy and drive ratings during their "sweeps" period, WSB has failed to consider the larger context and clear need to provide for the safety and security of Mayor Reed and his family.   

WSB reporters cannot possibly know the risks and threats the Mayor works under on a daily basis. For example, at the height of the controversy over Mayor Reed's decision to terminate former Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, the Mayor's office received more than 10,000 emails, letters and telephone calls to his home - many of them of a disturbing, and every dangerous, nature.

The Executive Protection unit is responsible for managing and protecting against these threats - and the officers assigned to this unit execute this responsibility with the utmost care. With all due respect to WSB, its reporters have never been responsible for keeping a national figure and his young family safe in such an unstable and unpredictable atmosphere.  

For the last seven years, Mayor Reed's Executive Protection Unit has exercised great caution while driving with and without lights and sirens in an effort to protect the Mayor and the public.  To date, there has only been one minor vehicle accident.  The driver involved in this minor accident elected to be examined further out of an abundance of caution, which is common practice after vehicle accidents.

It should also be noted that four members of Mayor Reed's Executive Protection Unit served under previous Mayors, including his predecessor.  All officers can verify that using blue lights and sirens was custom and common practice for Mayor Reed's predecessors.   In fact, throughout their eight week investigation, WSB found Mayor Reed using blue lights and sirens only while conducting official city business despite looking for the contrary.

We realize it's "sweeps" week, when TV stations like WSB need to generate sensational headlines in order to profit from setting high advertising rates.  But even in that context, this inflammatory investigation fails to properly weigh the serious need to provide safety and security for the Mayor and his family.