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November 7, 2014

Decatur Police Department releases first quarter data of police-initiated stops

New tool will enhance department’s existing data tracking efforts

Decatur, Ga. ­– Today the Decatur Police Department released its first data since it began tracking the demographics of persons stopped by the police on Aug. 1. The first ever quarterly report shows that the racial make-up of those involved in police-initiated stops mirrors the racial make-up of Decatur, DeKalb County and the City of Atlanta, which shares a border with Decatur. Quarterly reports will be released and posted to www.decaturpolice.com going forward.

“It is still very early, but the police department’s tracking of demographic data of persons stopped by the police, whether on foot, bicycle or in a motor vehicle, seems to be working well,” said Decatur Mayor Jim Baskett. “The City Commission believes this and all the data collected by the Decatur Police Department are key to ensuring our city’s police department remains the responsible team of dedicated professionals that Decatur expects and deserves.”

In addition to recording the race of individuals stopped by the police, the Decatur Police Department tracks citizen complaints, use of force by officers and police pursuits of suspects. This week, all Decatur Police officers and the city’s management team completed a diversity program led by trainers from the Anti-Defamation League’s A World of Difference Institute (ADL.org).

“Our detailed focus on data, analytics and training is part of the Decatur Police Department’s commitment to enforcing a higher standard in law enforcement,” said Decatur Police Chief Mike Booker. “In the past two years, we have taken steps to ensure we are best serving the needs of everyone in Decatur. This includes buying new body cameras for officers to supplement the dashboard cameras already in use on police vehicles and creating the position of Community Information and Education Officer (currently held by Sgt. Jennifer Ross) to facilitate the flow of information to the community and coordinate free crime prevention classes, including the R.A.D. self-defense course for women.”

In October, the Decatur City Commission approved a proposed timeline and budget for Phase I of a process to create a Community Action Plan for a Compassionate Decatur. In order to draw on the experiences and knowledge of the community, the city’s efforts are intended to be comprehensive, intentional and take a holistic approach to developing a community action plan that appreciates diversity and supports a community of inclusion and compassion based on justice and equity.

“Principle B: Encourage a Diverse and Engaged Community is one of the four core principles in the city’s 2010 Strategic Plan,” said Decatur City Manager Peggy Merriss. “Over the next year, we will work to develop a Community Action Plan that reflects the community’s wants and needs, with many opportunities for input and discussion.”