Atlanta PD denies claim that mayor ordered lower standards for recruits
“We don’t want to be dragged into the middle of a misinformation campaign,” police said
By Suzie Ziegler
ATLANTA — On Friday, the Atlanta Police Department irrevocably denied a claim that the agency had been ordered to lower their recruitment standards to boost hiring. The accusation came from a committee member of Buckhead City, a neighborhood in Atlanta.
“A high-ranking department leader called me this week to inform us that he has been instructed by the mayor’s team to lower recruitment and hiring standards, so Mayor [Andre] Dickens can hire 250 new officers in his first year,” said Buckhead City CEO Bill White in a statement on the Buckhead City Facebook page. “This is a total disaster and could lead to unqualified officers on our streets and put good officers’ lives and the public’s lives at risk. Lowering hiring standards just to make headlines is disgraceful.”
But none of that is true, police said.
“We must stand up for our department and our troops and we must refute false claims and misinformation recently made,” said a rebuttal statement on the APD Facebook page. “We don’t want to be dragged into the middle of a misinformation campaign.”
“Here are the facts,” the post continued, and went on to list the following:
1. The APD is NOT lowering hiring standards for our police officers.
2. The commander over our Background and Recruitment Unit is Deputy Chief Celeste Murphy and she is committed to increasing hiring, without lowering any hiring or training standards.
3. All incoming APD employees must pass an intense background investigation.
4. The certification process to become a police officer is regulated by the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (POST). POST has not lowered their standards.
5. Once an applicant is hired, the process isn’t over. All police recruits must complete over 800 hours of training and 12 weeks of field training, before they graduate the academy. This is well above the state-required 408 hours of training.
Read the police agency’s full statement here.