ATLANTA - A spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department says the number given by the Atlanta Police Foundation for police resignations is not accurate.
Late Monday afternoon, the foundation told FOX 5 that 19 police officers had resigned within the past ten days. The foundation said the resignations were a mixture of the current climate and the workload police officers are facing.
In a now-retracted statement sent to FOX 5 News, the foundation wrote:
"We are now going into the third consecutive week of unabated protests in which officers have worked 12-hour shifts seven days per week. As you can imagine, their stress levels are exacerbated by physical and emotional exhaustion. We are grateful for the sacrifices they are making every day and will continue to support them while accelerating the programs under the Atlanta Police Foundation's mission in order to address police reform and other issues the protests and their aftermath have illuminated."
A few hours later, the police department issued a statement only eight officers have resigned since the start of the month.
The statement to FOX 5 from the department reads:
"There has been a claim circulating that 19 Atlanta Police Department officers resigned over the weekend. We have checked with the source of that claim and they are planning to issue a retraction of that statement because it is not correct and was not verified by APD. The information we have is that eight officers have resigned since June 1. Our personnel data indicates that we have had anywhere from two to six officers resign per month in 2020."
The foundation later released this statement correcting its initial statement:
"Earlier today, the Atlanta Police Foundation reported an inaccurate number of officer resignations within the Atlanta Police Department since the start of the social justice protests. Eight officers (8) have resigned since June 1. Due to a miscommunication, we reported inaccurately that 19 officers had resigned. We apologize for the error."
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms during a press conference Monday announcing police reforms after the death of Rayshard Brooks addressed the issue of morale.
"The morale is bad right now,” the mayor said. “My understanding is it is really bad.”
Mayor Bottoms said she understands the morale is low because of the current events across the country. She said there is a lot of scrutiny, focused anger, and frustrations directed at law enforcement and Atlanta is no different.
“There is a shift of expectations across the country and that shift will be no different than here in Atlanta,” the mayor said directing her comments to the city’s officers. “And I think in the long run it will be better for the men and women who work within our Atlanta Police Department if we are very clear on what our expectations, our policies are, so they also be clear...in how they police our community.”
The mayor announced on Monday a series of initiatives she believes will help improve the policing within the city and will work towards rebuilding the trust between the public and police.
This article has been updated to include information released by the Atlanta Police Department dispute the number of resignations released by the Atlanta Police Foundation earlier in the day.