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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77021 Find in a Library
Title: Beleaguered Department Faces Its Toughest Test - Progress Report - Atlanta
Journal: Police Magazine  Volume:4  Issue:3  Dated:(May 1981)  Pages:45-50
Author(s): M Levinson
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report tells how the continuing tragedy of the killing of 22 black children and 4 young adults in Atlanta, Ga., since July 1979 has affected the community and the police department.
Abstract: The Atlanta police department has suffered from both community suspicion that the killers may have posed as authority figures and from community criticism of the department's inability to solve the cases quickly. The article describes the creation of the Special Task Force on Murdered and Missing Children which has grown to a staff of 84 from a dozen different jurisdictions; investigative methods used by the task force including the offer of a $100,000 reward and the use of a telecomputer to call 150,000 homes in areas where children disappeared or where bodies were found; and the controversies that have involved the Atlanta Bureau of Police Services over the last decade. The article states that Atlanta police initially defended their reluctance to relate the cases by pointing out that many of the cases were similar only in the age and race of the victims. However, at least a dozen of murders under investigation by the task force involved strangulation or asphyxiation; it was these cases that investigators believed might be related. The article also describes aspects of the constant publicity surrounding the murders, the current response by Atlantans such as the organization by civil rights groups of emergency summer recreation programs, and the effects of the investigation on the police bureau. These include an increase in younger police officers who have better community rapport but lack investigative skills. a 50 percent reduction in the burglary squad, and continuing communications problems. In addition, although there is more unity within the bureau, this has not been enough to keep the Atlanta police, who say they are underpaid, from seeking opportunity elsewhere. In 1980, the bureau lost 12.3 percent of its personnel. Photographs are included.
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Crimes against children; Georgia (USA); Manhunt; Murder; Police community relations; Police management
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