ATLANTA — Departing Atlanta cops are voicing their mounting frustrations with department leadership. The crescendo of criticism has reverberated around the law enforcement community, as principles of maintaining good order have been largely cast aside, Law Officer recently reported.
Lt. Mark Cooper spent 26 years with the Atlanta Police Department. His goal was to hit the 30-year mark, collect his pension, and retire. However, he cut his journey short, according to the Washington Examiner.
“Until last week, I was proud to tell everyone that I met that I work for the Atlanta Police Department,” he said in his June 10 resignation letter obtained exclusively by the news outlet.
He said his perspective of the organization took a turn after the arrest of six Atlanta police officers after a video surfaced of them pulling two college students out of their car during a protest.
The hotly debated incident was saturated on social media. Sadly, it added to the distance and vitriol growing between police and the people they are paid to protect. According to Cooper, the officers were following directives from police management but were thrown under the bus by leadership who should have supported their efforts at following orders.
“The direction this department has taken is nothing more than sad,” he wrote. “I was a long-time believer in our leadership, but I am now disappointed to find out just truly how poor it is.”
Cooper said he needed to leave since he couldn’t “represent a department that does not support the backbone of that very department. It’s disheartening and it’s demoralizing.”
Another departing officer shared his view with the Examiner.
Officer Thomas A. Crowder recently tendered his resignation. The disheartened officer was born and raised in Atlanta, had always dreamed of becoming a police officer, but his thoughts have soured.
“Today is my last day as a City of Atlanta employee and I would never have thought that I would be so happy to leave,” he wrote in his June 17 farewell missive.
“I can not see a reason that [an] officer who has been on the department less than 20 [years] would not leave,” he continued. “At this moment you guys have NO backing from your command staff. It is crazy that they could ask you to stay at work or even leave the precinct knowing that they are not going to have your back and is willing to fire you as soon as a citizen complains.”
Cooper and Crowder’s frustrations accurately reflect what many police officers have told the Examiner. They are done being labeled public pariahs and lacking internal support of their superiors.