June 25, 2020
For the past several weeks, I‘ve connected with community members, interfaith leaders from various houses of worship in Johns Creek, racially diverse groups and community organization members, as well as city employees. All of these meetings and each and every conversation is a critical part of the city’s learning and healing process. These discussions have been constructive and I’d like to share some of the structures we have in place today and what we can do to continue public discussion.
The Johns Creek Police Department today adheres to a set of standards which help ensure accountability as we serve all members of the community equitably and without discrimination. Since 2010, we’ve been an accredited agency upholding high standards for non-biased policing and are recognized with distinction by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA)
. Our agency is also certified by the State of Georgia through the Georgia Chiefs of Police
We have never authorized carotid restraint techniques (chokeholds) and have always maintained comprehensive use of force policies and continuum, and requirements for de-escalation, each reinforced through annual training for all officers. We have a duty to intervene when a peer or supervisor is acting inappropriately and all incidents are reported and have a general warning system in place to identify potential issues with officers. Our officers are all trained on cultural awareness which includes implicit bias training and bias-based training. Our officers on average receive more than 100 hours of training annually, typically 80 hours more than the state requires.
In 2016 we launched a transparency portal tool, named PoliceView
, which allows us to engage more meaningfully with our residents. PoliceView increases transparency, provides context alongside data, and offers an avenue for the public to view calls, citations, incidents, and accidents. In September of 2019 we also implemented body cameras for all of our officers. Hiring, recruitment and training standards, as well as annual training, are centered on community-oriented policing concepts which help mitigate the type of incidents which have occurred in the metro-area, Georgia, and across the US. These important foundations are critical as we govern and effectively address issues such as equality, justice, racism, and other societal concerns which deeply effect our diverse community.
As promised, I am holding further small group discussions with local leaders and individuals who’ve expressed interest in engaging in a dialogue to navigate the complexity of the issues within our city. Additionally, I am coordinating Public Listening Sessions to be held during the week of July 5th, as permitted according to the state’s COVID-19 guidelines. Our objective is to hear from the community in an open and transparent format. Final dates and times for the Public Listening Sessions will be announced via the city website and social media channels. Please stay informed and connected so you can participate.
The city must look at the way we service, protect, and govern with mindfulness and equity, as well as acknowledgement and accountability. We can and will continue to listen, learn, and adjust to serve the community better and help foster healing. Learning and listening and understanding is a process. I hope you will join me in this process, as we cooperatively work to promote healing and help create a better and more inclusive community.
City of Johns Creek