Atlanta City Councilmember Antonio Brown to Study and Compile Recommendations to Establish a Department of Public Safety and Wellness
During Tuesday’s remote meeting, the Atlanta City Council adopted legislation introduced by District 3 Councilmember Antonio Brown requesting the Council’s Public Safety and Legal Administration, Community Development and Human Services, and Finance/Executive committees conduct a feasibility study and compile comprehensive recommendations to establish a Department of Public Safety and Wellness within the City of Atlanta to formally coordinate and direct public safety and wellness efforts. The legislation had 10 co-sponsors.
“This legislation was approved with unanimous support among my colleagues and it’s great to see it move forward. This initiative will help us set an example for the rest of the nation and serve as a model for other cities to adopt. By building greater trust between law enforcement and the community, we’ll be able to increase security and safety in our city, especially for our most vulnerable populations. This is a positive step for our city as we continue the work of reimagining public safety and wellness in Atlanta,” Brown said.
The legislation seeks to:
• Create a division of non-emergency response and a non-emergency response number;
• Establish a centralized Office of Professional Standards to remove bias and peer-to-peer review; and
• Support officers through an incentive program to deter the use of excessive and lethal force.
One of the legislation’s goals is to increase community safety and address concerns over a lack of accountability and transparency between law enforcement and the public. The legislation notes that the three Council committees will consider the establishment of the new department to consist of a newly formed division, offices, positions, and commissioner. The legislation also states that the committees will hold no less than two work sessions with community partners and organizations, experts in public safety, and the public regarding the department’s formation.
About Atlanta City Council
The Atlanta City Council is the chief policy-making body for the City of Atlanta. It acts by considering and enacting all laws that govern the City. The council also approves the operating and capital budgets for the City as recommended by the mayor, and it continually monitors revenues and expenditures for local government operations. The Atlanta City Council reviews and has final say on many land-use and zoning matters. Major economic development projects for the City also fall under the council’s consideration.