For 15 years and three Atlanta mayors, the quest for a police force with 2,000 officers has been what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls “part magical number, part mirage, part running municipal joke of political promises unmet.” Reaching that goal has been like filling a bucket with holes in it. In 2008, the city poured in 120 recruits but 177 veteran cops leaked out. In 2009, 112 were poured in and 140 leaked out, retiring, heading to other forces or even changing to careers that offer better pay.
The elusive goal was set in 1997, when then-Mayor Bill Campbell promised 2,000 cops by 2000. The city has never come close until now. This year, Mayor Kasim Reed vowed to obtain the goal by June 30, 2013, a timeframe that would coincide with his re-election effort. So far, the city seems to be tracking toward hitting the mark, having hired 674 recruits since he was inaugurated in 2010. There are now about 1,925 officers, although that includes 160 recruits who are being trained or waiting to go to the academy.