Saturday morning at Lenox Square, the Atlanta Police Department hosted a recruitment day as they look to add more officers and 911 dispatchers to their ranks. 

“So as we advance out of COVID and even while in COVID one thing that I’m so proud of is the men and women that work for the Atlanta Police Department,” said Prenzinna Spann, Deputy Chief with the Atlanta Police Department. “They were committed the entire time to continue to fight crime. And we still have that same commitment today even as we come out of COVID.”

Atlanta Police was looking to add more than 500 new officers to their ranks to respond to the rises in crime and new safety demands. 

In March, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens was among the city leaders that attended the APD’s recruitment event inside Lenox Square as crime was a top-of-mind issue during his mayoral campaign and also during this year’s legislative session inside the Georgia State Capitol. Dickens pledged that the APD would hire 250 officers by the end of the year. Currently,140 recruits have enrolled in the academy but there is still more work that needs to be done according to the APD.

An Atlanta Police Department combat truck is parked outside the main entrance at Lenox Square on Saturday, July 23, 2022. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

In June, the APD announced a $4,000 bonus will go to officers, investigators, sergeants and lieutenants; a $1,000 bonus will go to captains, majors and chiefs, in an effort to entice the recruitment and retention of officers and front-line staffers. 

There are slightly more than 1,600 officers including recruits, however, the APD has been authorized to hire more than 2,000.

In a way to drive turnout Saturday, attendees were encouraged to and pre-qualify to join APD while registering to win one of five $100 Simon gift cards. 

“But today, we’re hoping to increase those numbers because of course, public safety is always first,” Spann continued. “So we always want to make sure that we have the amount of officers that we need to make sure that public safety remains high on the priority list.”

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...