Hours after a fired police officer was charged with felony murder for fatally shooting a man in the back, Atlanta police officers are not responding to calls in three of the department's six zones, multiple sources within the Atlanta Police Department told CNN on Wednesday evening.I'm surprised that Atlanta has only six zones. A police zone is an area in which officers are assigned for patrol and other purposes. You learn your zone like the back of your hand, and work within that zone to keep the peace. I know many small towns of less than 100K populatio who have more than six zones, but that is police trivia. What is more troubling is that half of the zones aren't answering calls.
"There's a lot happening in our cities and our police officers are receiving the brunt of it, quite frankly," Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN's Chris Cuomo. She said the city has committed to the officers through a big pay raise, and "we expect that our officers will keep their commitment to our communities."Police work isn't about the pay. I don't know any police officer, ever, who got into the service for the money. It's nice to get a paycheck and everyone has to make a living, but the money is not the reason why a person puts on the badge. The mayor should understand that.
And, it's not about the fact that an officer was charged with murder. During my career, I was involved in the arrest of several officers who tarnished the badge. We were doing our ob, policing ourselves as we policed the city.
It's about respect, and knowing that whatever happens on the street, that the supervisors will stand up and do the right thing. If the rank-and-file officers thought that the charge was righteous, they'd be at work. Evidently, they believe that the charge is a knee-jerk reaction designed to calm the outraged, without a serious, sober review of the facts.
Police work is hard. Sometimes an officer has to make a decision based on the facts on the ground without full knowledge of what might happen in the next second, or the next day. That officer has to know that his actions will be judged solely on what is happening at that instant based on his training and understanding of the law. Monday morning quarterbacking is not allowed.
The commitment runs both ways. When the Mayor, or Chief of Police does not support the officers, the best paycheck in the region won't keep officers on the force.