There is a unique practice Chief Keith Meadows implements with his team at the South Fulton Police Department and the decrease in South Fulton Crime statistics have shown that it might be receptive to the South Fulton Community.

“We have regular routine discussions about race relations in our Police Department,” Meadows said. “Among our command staff and among our people.”

Although race relations are deemed a priority for most, many are concerned about the rise in auto theft within the last year. According to a spokesperson within the Department and the South Fulton Police Statistics Report, there has been a decline in the number of auto thefts between 2020 and 2021 by -20 percent and a 24 percent overall crime reduction.

These crimes are not being committed by your average next-door neighbor, but there is a high chance it is by a repeat offender. The South Fulton Police Department sensed it was time to create a change and do away with a “zero-tolerance mentality.”

“We are looking at that small percentage of people in our communities that is creating a bulk of the crime. We arrest the same people over and over again,” Meadows said.

Meadows believes that is what allows his Department to stand out among the rest. Some officers outside of his jurisdiction tend to write tickets to everyday individuals such as the nine to five workers going to be with their families when that time could be used for ones that wake up to commit crimes every day.

“We are going to target them, not through race, not through color, not through ethnicity. We are going to target them through behavior,” Meadows said.

He believes this builds a sense of legitimacy not denying the importance of being aware of everyone within the community.

“There is a lot of angst about policing in general, but the one thing that I know about the South Fulton Police Department is that we are interested in hearing from our residents on how they want their communities to be policed,” Meadows stated.

The Chief emphasized that the residents’ values are a priority to the South Fulton Police Department. It allows his Department to police in the right areas centered around the projected values.
“It is important that we figure out ways to better educate our citizens on proper interactions with police,” he exclaimed.

There are around 400 subdivisions within South Fulton. Some of these neighborhoods are partnered with the South Fulton Police Department and are equipped with cameras that contain license plate reader technology.

“We have gone into several of our subdivisions to help them establish neighborhood watches,” Meadows said.

A driving factor behind the neighborhood watches for Meadows is his goal to expand and create a network of cooperation with South Fulton Police officers. There have been several Facebook groups created to inform citizens of South Fulton about politics, crime, and events happening within the area.

These groups are important to a lot of people in the community who consume their local news and political updates through social platforms. Studies have shown that individuals in Facebook Groups with a knowledge sharing behavior are currently being examined to determine the “extrinsic motivation, social and psychological forces” that lie within this culture.

The South Fulton Police Department encourages the community to help build a bond with their officers to create a better sense of community.

“We’re constantly reaching out to our residents trying to figure out if our resources are being placed properly,” Meadows said.

Photo: South Fulton Police Department on FLICKR

Alexis Grace is a recent graduate of Clark Atlanta University and a current Graduate student at Agnes Scott College. During and after her time at CAU, she has worked and interned for several publications...

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