ATLANTA — The Atlanta Police Foundation paid a $500 bonus to every Atlanta police officer Thursday.
It will add up to more than $2 million in money the foundation has raised. No city funds will be used to pay for the bonuses.
“We felt like it was important at this time because the morale is at the level, there is the rumors of other officers leaving, and we just do not want to lose good police officers,” said Dave Wilkinson, with the Atlanta Police Foundation.
They’ll also be purchasing 20 police cars to replace those that were destroyed in protests a few weeks ago.
The foundation told Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Justin Gray that the bonuses are a thank you for the long hours and hard work over the past three months.
The bonus announcement comes one day after reports that several officers walked out on the job hours after the Fulton County district attorney filed charges against two of their colleagues in the Rayshard Brooks shooting.
Former Officer Garrett Rolfe was charged with felony murder among other charges and Officer Devin Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault. Both turned themselves into police Thursday.
After the district attorney‘s announcement Tuesday, reports came in from across the city that officers were not showing up at work. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms spoke exclusively with Gray about those reports, saying it’s a limited problem. She says only around a dozen officers called out and other officers have stepped up to fill in, so it’s not affecting public safety.
“What would you say to an officer who thinks the correct response right now is to stay home or to sit in their car and not answer a call?” Gray asked Bottoms.
“Think about the oath you took when you became an officer. This is as much about that oath as it is making sure that your brothers and sisters who are out there patrolling our streets are covered,” Bottoms said.
Bottoms pointed to a pay raise she pushed for and got for officers as proof that she has their backs.
“There’s a shift happening across this country, and we can’t be tone deaf to that. And what that shift is is that we have to respond very quickly when there are problems,” she said. “This is not about the mayor’s office against our police officers. It’s not about our communities against our police officers. It’s about us being thoughtful about how we continue to work together as a whole.”
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