Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced in a press briefing Wednesday that the City of Atlanta would be retaining Washington D.C.-based research and policy group Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to conduct a “top to bottom” review of Atlanta Police Department (APD) policy and training.

The City has also engaged a local planning and community engagement firm, Urban Planning and Management, to collaborate with PERF to ensure that all Atlantans have a voice in the development and review of reform policies.

“We are moving forward on our Administration’s commitment to building lasting, healthy relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” Bottoms said. “Thank you to PERF, Urban Planning, and all our partners for joining this collaboration to effectively reduce crime while building public trust.”

The City’s work with PERF and Urban Planning will build upon the reform recommendations submitted in July by the Bottoms Administration’s Use of Force Advisory Council. As of Aug. 5, nine Administrative Orders related to those recommendations have been issued—five of the nine orders have been implemented and four are in progress.

In June, Mayor Bottoms issued an Administrative Order to convene the Use of Force Advisory Council comprised of community members and partners to examine the City’s use of force policies and procedures.

PERF was established in 1976, to improve the delivery of police services and the effectiveness of public safety. Because of their long-standing commitment to progressive leadership in policing, PERF is relied upon by police leaders nationwide to provide critical management services and technical assistance. Their work will factor in continuous feedback to help inform policy improvements and training modifications over the course of their 18-month period of engagement.

“We look forward to working with the police department and the community to identify ways to enhance public safety and make Atlanta a model for the nation,” said PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler. “Through technical assistance, training, and collaboration we will focus on strategies to minimize the use of force and reduce crime.”

Urban Planning and Management specializes in planning and development work and has led effective efforts with the City, Invest Atlanta, the Atlanta Beltline, and Atlanta Housing. They will work directly with PERF and the City to establish a holistic strategy for ensuring Atlantans have a voice and input throughout the City’s comprehensive examination and reform process.

Their engagement will also review how community engagement can be integrated into the ongoing operations and practices of APD. Urban Planning and Management will also develop an outreach strategy to that focuses on communities that historically have been marginalized and negatively impacted by law enforcement.

“We are pleased to embrace this opportunity to work with Mayor Bottoms and her Administration on this important initiative,” said Jesse Wiles, Principal of Urban Planning. “We have captured a diverse range of opinions to help inform how one of the most important issues facing our city and country will be addressed.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms believes "personal retaliation" is behind Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's lawsuit challenging her decision to require masks in her city in response to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: CNN)

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