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Monday, May 4, 2009

Mayor owes apology to police union leader

click to enlarge MAYOR SHIRLEY FRANKLIN OWES APD SGT. AND POLICE UNION LEADER SCOTT KREHER AN APOLOGY: He's waiting. (Photo by Joeff Davis)
  • MAYOR SHIRLEY FRANKLIN OWES APD SGT. AND POLICE UNION LEADER SCOTT KREHER AN APOLOGY: He's waiting. (Photo by Joeff Davis)

Shirley Franklin owes Atlanta police union head Sgt. Scott Kreher a public apology.

Speaking at the Atlanta Press Club in January, Mayor Franklin announced her intention to grow the Atlanta Police Department from 1,633 officers to 2,000 officers by the end of 2009.

Franklin has been promising for years to grow the force to 2,000 officers.

But APD isn't growing. It's shrinking.

In October 2007, the city claimed to have 1,833 police officers. By January, the force was down to just 1,633 officers. And the city's police union says the police force's attrition rate is accelerating.

If Mayor Franklin couldn't grow the force to 2,000 officers during her first seven years in office, it was implausible and laughable of her to suggest she might pull it off in her final year.

The Mayor's suggestion was so laughably implausible, in fact, Atlanta police union chief Sgt. Scott Kreher laughed and called it implausible when the AJC asked him what he thought.

Kreher's laughter so irritated the notoriously thin-skinned Mayor, she published a bizarre open letter calling his comments "divisive." Furthermore, she suggested his criticism could undermine efforts to rally the city residents behind growing the police force — a slimy, roundabout way of insinuating Kreher's attitude is a threat to public safety.

So who was right, Franklin or Kreher?

Hmm, let's see.

Last week, CL's Scott Henry reported Mayor Shirley Franklin proposes a property tax increase. According to the Mayor's office, the tax hike would pay to end citywide furloughs of police officers and firefighters.

In other words, in just three months, Mayor Franklin has gone from "I want to expand the size of the APD by a whopping 25%" to "We need a tax increase or else we won't even be able to pay the salaries of the officers we already have."

Franklin's proposed budget, in other words, proves Kreher was right to laugh at Franklin's suggestion about growing the force to 2,000 officers.

It also proves Franklin was wrong for publicly lashing out at a city employee who's only offense was reacting honestly to a politician's ludicrous suggestion.

Mayor Franklin owes an apology to Kreher.

And Time magazine: it's never too late to print a correction.

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