Atlanta police officers are getting a new motto: Answer the Call. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the phrase has nothing to do with 911 calls: whether cops answer those calls fast enough remains a matter of public debate and grumbling. Rather, the statement is meant to remind cops that they follow a “calling” to protect the public. The Atlanta Police Foundation, with the backing of Chief Richard Pennington, asked the Atlanta consulting firm BrightHouse to analyze the department and develop a battle cry to rekindle a sense of mission. The firm typically works with businesses to develop a core idea for employees to rally around and for the public to identify them. While it often charges $1 million for such brainstorming, it is working with Atlanta police free as a public service.
BrightHouse consultant Ashley Grice said that to help choose the motto, she interviewed 15 to 20 officers to find out why they entered policing. The foundation likes “Answer the Call” so much that it plans to copyright the phrase. Cops say what they really need is better pay, better equipment, and better support, both from a public they believe underappreciates them, and from courts, which they view as coddling thieves and drug dealers. “It says something but it doesn’t say a whole lot,” retired Atlanta officer Ronald Kelly said of the motto.