The Dickens administration also answered questions regarding zoning, infrastructure, seat belts, homelessness and pickleball courts, among other topics.
When Dickens ran for office last year, the Democrat campaigned on a promise not only to fight crime, but to prevent the creation of Buckhead City.
Citing his frustration with the decline in police manpower and municipal services, the Buckhead Town Committee wanted the heads of state to pass legislation for the people of Buckhead to vote to secede from the town this year. Secession would remove approximately $232 million of tax revenue and create a new massively white city with 20% of Atlanta’s population.
But on Monday, Susan Pryor told the administration that residents of Buckhead still did not feel safe. Peachtree Battle resident Harold Hudson said he lived 100 yards from where he was 57. Christopher Eberhart was shot and killed in a carjacking this month.
“I haven’t seen this in any math presentation, but where are we at with hiring more police,” Hudson said, drawing cheers and applause.
Atlanta has 1,500 sworn officers, including 140 in training. Schierbaum says they have the largest law enforcement agency in the state, even though the police department is short by 535 officers. Schierbaum also said Eberhart’s killer was arrested in Alabama in the victim’s van.
“Your police department is doing its job, but I can’t say the courtroom is doing its job,” Schierbaum said.
Dickens urged residents to hold Fulton County courts accountable by participating in the Court Watch Atlanta program, which allows residents to watch criminal trials.
“Give some grace when we don’t exactly get it right the first time,” Dickens said. “I don’t care if you live in Buckhead or Adamsville or Cascade, because in fact, in 1952, all of those communities came to town at exactly the same time. We cannot decipher this egg.