George Turner

Former Atlanta Police Chief George Turner has been tapped to be the interim Atlanta Public Safety Commissioner, a new position created by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms as part of the organization of city government.

Turner, who served as chief for seven years, will oversee the Atlanta Police Department; the Atlanta City Department of Corrections; the Office of Emergency Preparedness; and the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.

Turner will serve as Executive on Loan from the Atlanta Hawks, where he is currently the Vice President of Safety, Security, and Parking. The Hawks will cover his salary for at least one year.

Mayor Bottoms said in a statement that having a Public Safety Commissioner allows the city’s public safety department chiefs to focus more effectively on critical day-to-day operations.

“Atlanta is preparing for several major events in the coming months, including the Super Bowl,” Bottoms said. “The new Public Safety Commissioner will be able to coordinate the departments in a unified manner.”

“I am extremely grateful to the Hawks’ Owner, Tony Ressler and Hawks CEO, Steve Koonin for allowing me the opportunity to serve the City of Atlanta once again,” Turner said in a statement. “It shows their unwavering commitment to being good neighbors and active business partners in our city.”

Turner’s priority will be to address the recent spike in property crime, much of which, he says, is driven by young people.

“We will get to work right away to determine the causes behind this increase in crime and then reach out to our counterparts in the juvenile justice system to create an effective strategy to reduce those numbers,” said Turner. “Our goal is to make Atlanta one of the safest cities in America.”

Maintaining the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department’s Class 1 Insurance Service Office Rating will also be a top priority for Turner. AFRD responded to more than 100,000 calls for service last year. In addition, as the number of inmates continues to shrink, the fate of the Atlanta City Jail will demand a deeper analysis by the Public Safety Commissioner. Turner will also help the Office of Emergency Preparedness with its goal to be a national leader in the areas of preparedness and resiliency.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.