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Police Chief Reassures Community

December 2005
Police Chief Reassures Community

at Asian American Media Luncheon

Shares commitment to diversity and multiculturalism in the face of potential terrorism.

Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington was the keynote speaker at last month's Asian American Media Lunch and News Conference, sponsored by the Atlanta Police Foundation and Georgia Power.

The luncheon was hosted in Roswell for more than 50 representatives of the Asian media. It was a unique opportunity for members of the Asian community to discuss how Atlanta has been addressing crime prevention and economic development with key leadership. Top on the discussion list were emergency preparedness, civil rights and greater recruitment of Asians in law enforcement.

Georgia Power has been working closely with the Asian-American community. It has established good partnership throughout the state. "With the increasing Asian-American population in our state, our partnership helps to make our communities a better place for all residents," stated Dr. Josephine Tan, chair of Governor Sonny Perdue's Asian American Commission for a New Georgia and Georgia Power's corporate liaison with the Asian-American community.

"Efforts by the Atlanta Police Foundation and Georgia Power have been key to strengthening relationships with our business and community leaders, which helps in supporting the fight against crime," said Chief Pennington.

The Atlanta Police Foundation provides essential resources to help the APD's 1,600 officers perform at their highest level through six focus areas: recruitment, training, scholarship, affordable housing, mounted patrol and crime stoppers program. The Foundation depends on individual and corporate donors to support programs that will help make Atlanta safer and more prosperous.

"Private/public sector partnerships such as the Atlanta Police Foundation are essential in this post-9/11 era, as we all recognize that safety and security is a shared responsibility. Private sector support provides the necessary programs and initiatives that enable the Atlanta Police Department to focus on the ‘prevention' of crimes as opposed to merely ‘responding' to the crimes," said Dave Wilkinson, Atlanta Police Foundation president and CEO.

Since Pennington took over APD in 2002, the city has seen a tremendous reduction in crime in recent years. In 2004, the reported crime was at its lowest since 1971. Moreover, within the past two years, there has been a decrease in each of the seven major crime categories.

During the Q&A session, the president of the Asian-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC), Ga., Subash Razdan asked, "How did the Atlanta Police balance its act between providing security against potential acts of terrorism for its citizens and, yet, not be accused of racial profiling and high-handedness?" Razdan also asked, "How safe was Atlanta, considering Center for Disease Control (CDC) could be a potential target?" Pennington allayed such fears, saying, "Adequate police preparedness already exists along with ongoing vigil to encounter potential terrorist threats. Yet, the Police Department and the Homeland Security are undergoing constant sensitivity training for respecting diversity and multiculturalism in Metro Atlanta."

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