After a public dispute with local activists over police shootings, DeKalb Commissioner Nancy Jester says she wants to increase pay for the county’s public safety officers.

The activists, meanwhile, say they want DeKalb commissioners to call for a federal investigation of DeKalb police, creation of a citizens review and the establishment of a “family compassion and accountability protocol” by the county.

Jester said she plans to introduce legislation to increase pay for police officers, firefighters and 911 operators and get them the equipment they need to protect themselves and the people they serve.

“I strongly feel DeKalb County will be a better and safer place if we move forward and expand our training – to both offer protection to our officers and civilians,” Jester wrote in a press release Sept. 23.

The release and call for more public safety support comes a day after Jester said a local group of activists threatened her and her family on social media.

Jester said she had appeared at a recent meeting with the activist group to “show respect and listen.” But Makungu Akinyela, a Georgia State University professor and a member of The DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability, said Jester’s listening was the problem.

During the meeting, family members of people who were killed by DeKalb police officers spoke about their losses and, when asked for her reaction, Jester gave none, Akinyela said. “She sat stoically throughout the meeting with her arms folded,” Akinyela said.

When pressed for her feelings about the situation and how she reacted to the families’ losses, she said, with arms folded. “I’m only here to listen,” Akinyela said.

Jester said 90 percent of the people in the room were activists and “they were not happy.” She said she had been advised by lawyers not to attend the meeting at all, but that she did so out of respect.

“I was listening and taking it and trying to take it in and listen and be respectful of everyone’s thoughts and emotions,” Jester said. “I think that was the most responsible thing to do as I am responsible for the entirety of the county. It would have been inappropriate for me to say anything else.”

In a Sept. 23 press release, Jester wrote “The ‘so called’ DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability has attempted to hijack the dialogue and exploit grieving families in DeKalb County to advance their extreme, anti- police, anti- taxpayer agenda.”

3 replies on “Jester reacts to activists with call for more pay for public safety officers”

  1. I no longer live in DeKalb but if I did, I would have attended just to listen in.
    The “activists” are taking advantage of the few families that have questions about how their family members encountered police. They do attempt to hijack the meeting to suit their agenda.
    The residents of DeKalb need to answer the question as they allow themselves to be manipulated: who will answer police calls if the activists succeed with slowing down the police in DeKalb? Not working out very well in Baltimore this past summer. These activists will not get out of bed and show up with a group of trained activists to help you with whatever the problem is.
    DeKalb has a pretty damn good police department, if you have ever encountered them outside of a crime scene or on a traffic stop, they are great people serving in a special capacity that requires they meet criteria that no other profession mandates. Drug screens, polygraphs, background investigations, psychological tests, stamina and the list is long enough and daunting enough that many never complete the criteria to even be hired let alone complete the police academy.

    Everyone has an opinion about how the police should do their job but damn few take the time to learn what it really takes to wear the uniform and make decisions police are required to make.

    I’m sure you have guessed by now, I am a police officer. I retired from an agency in DeKalb and I’m serving in another agency, not in DeKalb. I agree with Commissioner Jester, the public safety as whole in DeKalb needs a pay raise. The county could afford it if the county would elect some people that don’t have a plumbing contractor clean up an overflowing toilet, bill the county for the work and then “donate” $4,000 to elected official. I made my son read up on that one so he will understand what “kickback” is in the political arena. DeKalb started downhill with Vernon Jones and has lost no momentum since, gathering speed. Detroit in the south, slums, empty business’ everywhere. What are you going to do DeKalb residents?

  2. How exactly does Commissioner Jester propose to pay for these much needed and well deserved increases in pay and support services if the proposed city of LaVista Hills wins their referendum? The amount of money that the new city will drain from the county’s public safety budget will cripple DCPD. If she didn’t know that when she decided to support LVH, perhaps she will consider researching the matter now. She is, as she said, a DeKalb County Commissioner, not a city council member, and should be putting the health of the county at the top of her agenda.

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