The Atlanta Police Foundation is giving every officer in the Atlanta Police Department a $500 check, a roughly $2 million investment to lift the spirits of local law enforcement.
The foundation announced the donation to each individual officer on Thursday, saying that the one-time payment was to thank police officers for working through the coronavirus pandemic and putting in overtime during recent protests and riots, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.
“In an effort to stem attrition and boost morale, we issued a $500 bonus to each Atlanta Police Department officer,” the Atlanta Police Foundation said in a Thursday statement.
In addition to the checks, the foundation will also feed officers working 12-hour shifts and replace at least 20 police vehicles that were damaged or destroyed by rioters. Experts working with the charity are creating a police reform proposal to present to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
“The plan will reflect the ideas of a broad array of law enforcement, business, social justice, and community experts. It will identify standards of operational excellence and reflect best practices from successful public safety programs across the nation, including some of our own work in Atlanta,” the foundation said.
The investment in police came less than 24 hours after reportedly dozens of Atlanta police officers called in sick or walked off the job in protest after Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard charged a now-fired officer with murdering Rayshard Brooks. Howard announced 11 charges against Garrett Rolfe on Wednesday. The DA also brought three charges against Rolfe’s partner, Devin Brosnan, who has been placed on administrative leave.
Rolfe and Brosnan attempted to arrest Brooks last week after Brooks was found passed out in his car in the middle of a Wendy’s drive-thru. The officers ran Brooks through a field sobriety test, and a breathalyzer measured Brooks over the legal limit for alcohol, according to police body cam footage. As the officers attempted to take Brooks into custody, Brooks wrestled a taser away from one officer and fled several steps before turning the taser on Rolfe who then shot Brooks.
On Wednesday night, dozens of officers reportedly boycotted the night shift. Bottoms, who has also called Brooks’ death a “murder,” appeared on CNN to reassure Atlanta residents that the protest would not have any significant impact on police department functions. She did not say how many officers had not shown up for work.
“This has been a very tough few weeks in Atlanta and with the tragedy of Mr. Brooks, and then on top of that the excessive force charges that were brought against the officers involved with the college students, there’s a lot happening in our city, and the police officers are receiving the brunt of it quite frankly,” Bottoms said, acknowledging that police morale is “down ten-fold” across the city.
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