Mayor Reed, Chief Turner Meet with President Obama to Discuss Youth Violence

Discussion mirrors city priority to focus on children

8/28/2013, 8:58 a.m.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed meets with President Barack Obama.

ATLANTA --- Mayor Kasim Reed and Police Chief George Turner met with President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday, August 27 at the White House to discuss strategies to reduce youth violence.

Increasing positive opportunities for youth, and fighting juvenile crime, are top priorities for the Reed administration and the Atlanta Police Department.

President Obama pledged to the 18 mayors gathered from around the nation to continue to do everything in his power to fight gun violence through executive action and to press Congress to pass common-sense reforms like expanding the background check system and cracking down on gun trafficking.

He applauded the mayors for their local efforts to combat violence, solicited their input on proven methods and pledged his administration’s partnership.

One of Mayor Reed’s first actions on taking office in 2010 was to re-open the city’s shuttered recreation centers, christening them “Centers of Hope.” Reed cited the need for children to have constructive activities to take up their time and energy.

“We have a responsibility to shape our children’s’ futures,” Mayor Reed said. “They need positive role models to guide and mentor them, so they don’t make the wrong choices that lead to a criminal life.”

The APD’s Community Oriented Policing Section, through the Police Athletic League, works closely every day to mentor, coach and teach life skills to at-risk children in the community.

“We want our officers to reach children on the front end, through athletic and life skills programs,” said Chief Turner, “rather than reaching them later when we are forced to place them in handcuffs due to their poor choices.”