Potential Public Safety Crisis

May 4, 2011 · Posted in Eye on Midtown 

CALL TO ACTION DISCONTINUED

I. BACKGROUND

We just sent an open letter (see next section) to the Mayor, Chief of Police, and members of City Council regarding the forced retirement of Major Williams. For background details please read the media links following this paragraph. We urge you to write to these public officials asking them to to work toward rescinding APD’s politically motivated move to oust Major Williams, and to copy us at info@midtownponce.org so we can monitor community sentiments.

II. OPEN LETTER TO THE MAYOR, CHIEF OF POLICE, AND CITY COUNCIL

To the Honorable Mayor, Chief of Police, and City Council members:

On Tuesday evening we received the shocking news that Major Williams, in his own words, “was forced into retirement” as a result of an email that he sent to the community standing to be affected by a dangerous proposal in the works. We have no idea what to expect from here on out, but Major Williams has been instrumental in the improvements we have seen in Midtown and other Zone 5 neighborhoods in the last couple of years. In his tenure as the Zone 5 Commander, and earlier in his capacity as the head of the Midtown Mini-Precinct, he helped greatly to shape our expectations of how APD should respond to, and collaborate with, neighborhoods like ours. We have been most grateful for the way he proactively responded to our public safety needs of the Midtown community.

Among his key accomplishments in the last year alone, he directed the Midtown Mini-Precinct to implement patrol practices that greatly reduced the presence of prostitution and cruising traffic affecting certain parts of the neighborhood. Increased bluelight patrols and roadblocks in key places and at strategically critical times became the norm, and we have been happy to see the results. While improvement always takes place slowly, Major Williams’ style of management has shown us unprecedented results that we can bank on.

Major Williams’ proactive style took a good bit of pressure off of our patrol, and thereby better enabled Sgt. Cooper and the officers working under him to focus on other critical issues affecting the neighborhood. Making the most efficient use of very limited resources will always present challenges, and we still face many public safety issues to contend with. The progress we have seen remains fragile. We therefore hope for a continuation of the close, proactive collaboration we have enjoyed to date.

We implore you in this open letter, in your role as elected and public officials, to reassure the greater community that a decision over a political difference of opinion will not stand – one that truly had the best interest of the Midtown and surrounding community at its core. As a neighborhood-based community service organization we find it upsetting and discomforting that one of the best of  Atlanta’s very finest would be ousted for genuinely serving our community. It was Major Williams’ opinion, and one in which we agree, that he was serving the best safety interests of our community by calling out an utmost destructive proposal to eliminate critical policing strategies.

We are hereby asking for a public meeting where the Mayor and Chief of Police will have the opportunity to explain to residents of Zone 5 and others, how this entire episode came to be, will answer questions from the audience, and hopefully allow us to come to a better conclusion where everyone is not a loser.  A political difference of opinion is not worth the loss of Major Williams.

– The Board of Directors of the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance (Steve Gower, Don Jones, Peggy Denby, Jeff Ellis, Michael Floyd, Bill Nickles, Ed Seeman, and Jim Urbanski)

Sent to “Mayor Kasim Reed” <mkreed@atlantaga.gov>, “Chief George Turner” <Gturner@atlantaga.gov> and copied to “Aaron Watson” <awatson@atlantaga.gov>, “Alex Wan” <awan@atlantaga.gov>, “Archibong, Natalyn” <narchibong@atlantaga.gov>, “Ceasar Mitchell” <cmitchell@atlantaga.gov>, “Cleta Winslow -” <cwinslow@atlantaga.gov>, “CT Martin” <cmartin@atlantaga.gov>, “Hall, Kwanza” <khall@atlantaga.gov>, “Howard Shook” <hshook@atlantaga.gov>, “Ivory Young” <ilyoung@atlantaga.gov>, “Keisha Bottoms” <dbottoms@bellsouth.net>, “Michael Bond” <mbond@atlantaga.gov>, “Moore, Felicia” <fmoore@atlantaga.gov>, “Sheperd, Joyce” <JMSheperd@atlantaga.gov>, “Smith, Carla” <CSmith@atlantaga.gov>, “Willis, H Lamar” <hlwillis@atlantaga.gov>, “Yolanda Adrean” <yadrean@gmail.com>

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