Saying that much of the Atlanta Police Department has “fallen into a state of extreme disrepair,” Police Chief Richard Pennington yesterday announced a major restructuring of the department he took over a year ago, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The changes call for detectives who work burglaries, auto thefts, residential robberies, assaults, and larcenies to move from police headquarters to each of the six precincts throughout the city. “You’re going to get better service,” Pennington said. “People in the zones will be able to work with detectives.”
Homicides will continue to be investigated by detectives at headquarters, along with a new special victims unit that will investigate sex crimes and crimes against children.
The intelligence unit will be reorganized into a homeland security unit to work with federal and state law enforcement agencies relating to terrorism, investigate gang and gun-related activity, and conduct high-level intelligence investigations.
A new audit and compliance unit will oversee the crime reporting process. Pennington announced this unit after the Journal-Constitution reported last month that auditors hired by the chief had found 22,000 crime reports that had been unaccounted for. Pennington said those numbers don’t accurately reflect what his officers were doing, and the number of missing reports would probably be much lower. Some officers say the organization is suffering from low pay, poor morale and old equipment.