Saying that “no job is more important in Atlanta city government than keeping our citizens safe in their homes and on the streets,” mayoral candidate Mary Norwood has released her 12-point plan to combat crime in Atlanta.
“Our citizens are justifiably concerned by tragic incidents all across the town. They know we need to do better, and I know that with the right leadership we can do better,” the city councilwoman said. “As mayor, this 12-point program is what I will do to fight crime. I will make you safe again.”
Her program to improve public safety in the city:
• End the furloughs of police officers and firefighters, and keep police precincts and fire stations open and staffed 24/7.
• Pay police and firefighter salaries from the taxes Atlanta already collects, and find savings in other departments.
• Fix the accounting mess at City Hall to fund the public safety departments. “We need 21st-century accounting methods, and the public deserves transparency. Balance the books. Reconcile all the checking accounts. Audit all the funds.”
• Boost the police force. She said the current goal of 2,000 officers by the end of 2009 will not guarantee public safety. She wants at least 200 additional officers.
• Retain experienced public safety personnel. Restore the “incentive to stay” annual increments for experienced police officers and firefighters, end the freeze of the “step program,” and end the practice of paying experienced officers less than the officers they train from other jurisdictions.
• Initiate a Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) so that experienced officers nearing retirement age stay on the job to develop new recruits.
• Make public safety salary and benefits levels competitive with all other governments in the metropolitan area. Provide adequate resources for training police officers and firefighters and for ensuring their safety on the job.
• Help public safety personnel become homeowners within the city by putting vacant or foreclosed housing to work.
• Put more police on the beat and away from desk duty, airport duty, entourage duty and anything else that does not contribute directly to safety on the street. • Work with Fulton and DeKalb counties to ensure more vigorous prosecutions. Combat crimes with no quick ticket back to the street.
• Adopt comprehensive community-based models. Work with youth programs, truancy prevention, neighborhood watches and community associations. Use up-to-date technology to enable officers to communicate effectively with citizens.
• Put the “broken windows” theory of crime control to work. Give Code Enforcement the resources to ensure dilapidated properties are maintained, trash collected, and neighborhoods protected from blight. Hold property owners accountable.