The new sheriff of Georgia’s most populous county, where the capital city of Atlanta is located, is quite a contrast to that city’s mayor. Just days after being sworn in, Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat announced that buying the Atlanta City Detention Center would be a great idea to keep Atlanta and Fulton County safer.
Fulton County’s jail is full, you see, and there’s no more room to house criminals. Yet Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is insisting that the city’s jail be closed even though murders and shootings are at a record 20-year high. Labat, though, has a blunt response: “The city of Atlanta’s plan to close ACDC, when crime is rising, sends the wrong message to criminals and the community at large.”
The city’s police morale remains low with officers resigning or retiring because of what critics say are the mayor’s permissive policies toward criminals that undermine the department. The fact that Bottoms won’t pledge to respect legal due process for officers involved in shooting cases is a big reason why this has been occurring. And now, according to a recent Fox5Atlanta TV report by Morse Diggs, there are not enough city officers to perform basic policing and effectively handle investigations.
Labat, however, is trying to help address the situation.
The other day he surprised the mayor by ordering Fulton deputies to start patrolling and making arrests inside Atlanta city limits to help the beleaguered city department. Already he is being hailed by residents in neighborhoods ranging from south Atlanta to Buckhead who rarely see law enforcement officers.
Labat also tells Fulton Countians to stay tuned. The sheriff has other public safety measures he plans to announce and implement.