Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has issued seven administrative orders regarding the Atlanta Police Department’s use of force policies.

Bottoms said in Aug. 5 press briefing that the Use of Force Advisory Council had submitted 33 recommendations. She said the council had done an extraordinary amount of work in 45 days and had received input from officers, the community and national experts.

Bottoms created the council in the wake of the George Floyd protests in an order that cited racial disparities in fatal shootings by police officers across the country and in Georgia.

“The collective effort underway with the Atlanta Police Department (APD), our community and partners to reform our City’s use of force policies will continue to position the police department as a national model for modern policing,”  Bottoms said. “Thank you to the members of the Use of Force Advisory Council for developing a roadmap that will help strengthen APD and build trust between law enforcement and our communities.”

The Mayor’s seven Administrative Orders address 16 of the 33 recommendations outlined in the report. According to a press release, the orders are:

  • The first Administrative Order directs the Chief Operating Officer to work with APD to develop a plan for officer training and non-retaliation language regarding an officer’s duty to intervene when seeing another officer using unreasonable force.
  • The second Administrative Order directs the chief operating officer to work with APD to engage with the Atlanta Citizen Review Board to: 1) develop an internal memorandum of understanding and standard operating procedures that outline a clear process to constantly and effectively coordinate investigatory data exchange and communication of disciplinary action; and 2) evaluate potential actions APD could take to collaborate with ACRB to improve community awareness.
  • The third Administrative Order directs the COO to work with the city attorney to develop a memorandum of understanding that memorializes the commitment of the city with the Atlanta/Fulton County Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative (PAD) and outlines a multi-year partnership to continue the work of the program.
  • The fourth Administrative Order directs the COO to work with APD to compile public reports into a single public-facing platform for public transparency and to develop a dashboard that shows APD’s use of force trends.
  • The fifth Administrative Order directs the COO to collaborate with APD and coordinate with the ACRB to develop recommendations regarding how conflicts between APD and ACRB disciplinary recommendations may be resolved; providing notice to ACRB of any changes to certain APD standard operating procedures related to use of force within 30 days; and expanding the ACRB mediation program.
  • The sixth Administrative Order directs the COO and APD to partner with PAD to develop a training rollout plan aligned to the PAD expansion across all Atlanta zones
  • The seventh Administrative Order directs the COO to include the following in the top-to-bottom review of Atlanta policing: a plan to solicit community input on reimagining the vision, mission and core values of the APD; the creation of de-escalation requirements, outlining specific examples and tactics and creating a requirement to consider vulnerable populations when deciding to use force; recommendations on how to revise officer evaluation systems to incentivize eligible diversions and de-incentivize certain arrests; and a plan to work with APD, the city, alternative response organizations and other key stakeholders to develop an alternative response continuum.

The full Advisory Council report can be found at this link.

–John Ruch contributed

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.