ATLANTA — Atlanta police walked into local barbershops Thursday night to connect to the people they serve.
The Clippers and Cops program was put on pause during the pandemic, but resumed in person this week.
With the number of brazen shootings in Atlanta in the last week, officers told Channel 2 investigative reporter Ashli Lincoln that getting back to this program in person was important.
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Even the most seasoned law enforcement veterans told Lincoln they have found themselves cringing at the crime in the area.
Clippers and Cops organizers say this first meet-up of 2022 is crucial for the Atlanta community.
“When people talk about police reform, we are police reform,” said founder Tyrone Dennis.
The event has been the bridge between Atlanta police and the community for the last four years.
“Clippers and cops have done something very important by bringing the community together in a way you can have true conversations,” said Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant.
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Tyrone Dennis, the organization’s founder and a 16-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department, says this is where they can have candid conversations about crime and community-based solutions.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens attended the event and says the cause for many of the recent shootings involve incidents where emotions were running high.
“Folks are going to the finality of any argument, like the end of the argument is to end you, it’s to end your life,” Mayor Dickens said.
Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant agrees with that sentiment.
“The criminal justice system and the community, it requires the entire community getting involved in that,” Chief Bryant said.
Bryant says since gunfire erupted at Loca Luna in midtown over the weekend and the murder of 6-month-old Grayson Fleming-Gray on Monday, they have increased patrols in those areas alongside Fulton County sheriff’s deputies.
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He adds that they are continuing to their aggressive efforts to recruit officers amidst an officer shortage.
“Right now, the city of Atlanta is doing very well as it comes to recruitment. We’re ahead of some of the metrics that we have, we’re confident we can accomplish some of the goals set by the mayor,” Chief Bryant said.
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