DeKalb County

GBI names first female head of investigative division

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has named a woman the head of their investigative division for the first time.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne sat down with Cynthia Adkins, who says the GBI strives to be diverse.

“I think diversity is important,” GBI Director Mike Register said. “Number one, Cynthia Adkins is in that position not because she’s a woman because of her performance and who she is.”

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From 2014 to 2018, Adkins headed up the GBI’s metro Atlanta office. During that time, she says she oversaw about 120 officer shooting cases. Her office oversaw nearly all officer use of force cases resulting in serious bodily harm or death.

Adkins acknowledge that lives and the public’s trust can depend on her decisions because of the effects they can have on real people.

This year alone, the GBI has investigated a record 108 officer-involved shootings. In 2021, there were 100 officer-involved shootings.

“At the end of the day, nobody is above the law,” Adkins said. “Whether you’re in law enforcement or not, we’re gonna seek the truth and we’re gonna take action.”

Adkins and Register both say that the level of violence in society plays a major role in the number of officer-involved shootings.

“There is a decaying of respect for authority all across the country,” Register commented. “How people react to police officers today or authority today is different from yesterday, I believe.”

The metro Atlanta unit used to have six or seven agents assigned to investigate officer-involved shootings. Adkins says that number has now nearly doubled due to the increase in shootings.

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Adkins says investigating Georgia’s gang crisis now falls under her.

“Gangs is a top priority for the GBI,” she said. “With gangs come guns, illegal drugs; they’re preying on our youth.”

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She says she also spent seven years investigating internet crimes against children.

“It definitely changed me. It opened my eyes to what really can happen on the internet and how easily bad guys can find our children,” she said.

Register says the GBI is committed to impartial comprehensive investigations.

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