Politics

South Fulton, Georgia approves $3,000 bonus to keep officers amid cop shortage

On Tuesday night, the South Fulton City Council approved unanimously an incentive that is targeted towards keeping cops in their jobs as police departments across the metro area have struggled to attract and retain officers.

The city will be offering a one-time $3,000 bonus for officers who have been in the department for at least 90 days and sign a three-year commitment to remain on the force.

The measure took a difficult path to gain a unanimous approval. The effort was initially passed by the council on January 25, but the mayor of the Georgia city, Khalid Kamau, vetoed it.

He said he made the veto decision not because of the content, but rather on the principle. Kamau added that he wants to make meetings themed, so since this was an issue regarding human resources, he wanted to deal with it at an HR-themed meeting.

Council members pushed back on that concept, noting that he would need to introduce legislation in order to change the entire process. Kamau indicated his believe that communication with the council is going well, and the council needs to get adjusted to how he prefers to communicate since the former mayor ran and lost the seat.

But South Fulton Councilwoman Helen Zenobia Willis was not a fan of that line. “This is not right, leave the former mayor’s name out of your mouth,” she said. 

For the retention bonus, a city news release indicated that the police department would be using salary savings from other positions to fund those payments.

“The retention and hiring incentives allow us to remain competitive among other law enforcement agencies in the region, especially during the pandemic, when recruitment has been a challenge,” said Keith Meadows, the police chief for South Fulton.

So far, the city has already instituted a pilot program to give 25 cops and firefighters $450 per month to reside in South Fulton.

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: AJC.COM

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