By John Schaffner

The 1,100-member International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 623 has endorsed City Council President Lisa Borders for mayor of Atlanta.

Borders, one of the top three candidates in the race, won the endorsement Aug. 28. It is considered the most heavily sought endorsement to date in the Atlanta mayoral campaign.

The endorsement of the police union was considered important because many Atlantans believe crime is the biggest city challenge.

The five-member executive board of Local 623 picked Borders because they feel she displays the best understanding of their challenges and believe she will improve their working conditions.

The union’s president, Sgt. Scott Kreher said, “Lisa has been on top of it since day one. She knows what the issues are.”

In a statement, Borders said, “I am deeply grateful for this endorsement because it confirms the faith our city’s police officers have in my leadership.”

Borders has proposed increasing the size of Atlanta’s police force by 170 officers in her first term, if elected mayor. She also wants to give officers raises and wants to work with the business community on initiatives that will allow more police officers to purchase homes within the city.

It is a unclear if the police officers Borders says she will add are the same 170 that Mayor Shirley Franklin has promised to add before she leaves office Dec. 31, or an additional 170.

Candidate State Sen. Kasim Reed, who says public safety also will be his top priority if elected, has proposed increasing the city’s police force by 750 officers in his first term if elected.

Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood also sought the police officers’ endorsement and has declared throughout her campaign her commitment to public safety as a top priority.

Norwood won the endorsement of the 450-member Atlanta firefighters’ union on Aug. 14.