County Commissioner To Present Plan To Defund Police, Reimagine Public Safety
ATHENS, Ga. — As protests against police violence continue, there are now more calls for communities across the country to scale down their police departments and put more emphasis in social programs that target the root cause of issues that lead to police response.
11Alive has learned there is now a proposal in Athens-Clarke County that could put police funding up for a vote in just a matter of days.
In 2019, the county police department was involved in six shootings, five of them were deadly. Investigations by the same police department, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), and the county district attorney concluded “while tragic and truly unfortunate, the taking of lives by officers in these circumstances [were] justified.”
But Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Mariah Parker says they also could have possibly been prevented.
“Serious reforms are necessary,” she told 11Alive Investigator Faith Abubey in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
Commissioner Parker has put together a four-page proposal laying out what those reforms would look like. The measure could be put up for a vote as soon as next Tuesday, June 16.
It would be part of the 2021 Athens Clarke County budget amendment.
“There is a variety of community response that we can implement in order to take the burden off our police department and ensure that people experiencing crises get the help that they need,” Parker explained, adding that the plan includes:
Decreasing the Athens-Clarke County police force by 50% over the next 10 years.
Deauthorizing hiring for current vacant officer positions
Redirecting money to mental health and social services