City leaders want to reactivate court watch program to keep track of repeat offenders

ATLANTA — Atlanta leaders are looking for people to reactivate their court watch program.

Regular citizens will be trained on how to spot repeat offenders that come through the court system multiple times and monitor what happens with them.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston learned the previous court watch program ended with the COVID-19 pandemic. When courts were closed, the unit was disbanded.

“The victims of these violent acts deserve justice. The families of those victims deserve justice,” Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said they need the public’s help to hold the justice system accountable for repeat offenders.

“When I say the justice system, I mean myself and the people in my office, law enforcement officers and the judges,” Willis said.

The volunteer court watch participants would sit in court and take notes on if the repeat criminal was released on a signature bond, if and how much jail time they got and if the judicial system handed out sentences that appeared fair.

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Willis said she wants to keep records of how the system is working.

“My theory is you cannot improve what you do not measure, and this is a real way to have improvement by measurement. It will bear fruit, because everyone will realize we are under a microscope. The citizens are watching, and we are doing what is appropriate to keep them safe,” Willis said.

In March, Huddleston did an exclusive report on repeat offenders and the problems they’ve caused.

During that report, he profiled Jimmy Thompson, 60. Atlanta police say Thompson has been arrested 68 times and has 14 felony convictions.

“Not only did he have drugs in the vehicle, but his driving was posing a danger, and he had a rifle,” Atlanta interim Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said about Thompson.

If you’re interested in being a part of the crime watch program, you can sign up HERE.

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