BREAKING: Midtown APD Chief Ousted for Opposing Patrol Cuts

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(APN) ATLANTA — Major Khirus E. Williams was apparently ousted from the Atlanta Police Department after a recent email he sent to Midtown Atlanta residents warning of proposed cuts to community patrolling, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

Williams was the commander for Zone 5, which includes much of Midtown.

“Good evening, as a result of this e-mail, which was intended to protect Midtown’s best interest, I have been forced into retirement.  It has been an honor to serve you,” Williams wrote to Midtown residents in a follow-up email earlier this evening, Tuesday, May 03, 2011.

Previously, Williams had warned residents of proposed changes–which would drastically reduce the amount of police protection for Midtown–in an email dated Wednesday, April 20, 2011, with the subject line, “Restructuring of Zone 5’s Midtown Police Precinct – PROPOSAL.”

“Good morning, the Midtown Police Precinct current allows us the opportunity to have officers, 24 hours a day, to provide community oriented policing, via foot beats, segways, bicycles, and motorcycle patrols. We are also on fixed posts in some areas, such as the Peachtree Street and Pine Street Shelter and the Piedmont Park detail, to maintain order,” Williams had wrote.

“However, D/C Finely [Deputy Chief Ernest Finely] is proposing to change the mission of this precinct and assign our officers as beat officers, responding to 911 calls, solely,” Williams wrote, of the proposed changes, which to date have not been made known to the general public.

“Thus, motorcycle, segways, foot beat, bicycle, and Piedmont Park patrols would be efforts of the past. No more Officer Stevens to patrol Atlantic Station and the Home Park community.  I suggest that you contact Chief Turner and express that Midtown deserves the officers’ presence that have been in place for the past twenty years and by having ‘only’ one officer to serve Beats 502, 503, 504, and 505, each, would be counter-productive, taking us back to the 1980’s, when there were crime concerns here, due to lack of police presence, which is why the Midtown Precinct was implemented,” Williams wrote.

“I assure you, there are too many citizens, residents, churches, businesses, and the city’s most prominent park, for this area not to maintain its current level of staffing, which is in need of additional staffing.  Just a year ago, at the Midtown Annual Breakfast, Chief Turner mentioned to the forum that the area needs more officers, which everyone applauded,” he wrote.

“Presently, he is not aware of the desire to remove our employees from their current mission, but you, as stake-holders, are asked to speak out on this matter and save your investments from ruin,” he wrote.

“In closing, as a great example, the Midtown Precinct’s employees were off on Monday night (off days Sundays and Mondays) and Beats 502, 503, 504, and 505, were patrolled solely by the listed beat officer, unfortunate, without the additional presence of Midtown’s staff, the area experienced a shooting at Club Sutura, and a home invasion at Atlantic Station, where gambling items were discovered (two poker tables and a large number of poker chips),” Williams wrote.

“Without the additional presence of officers, the club scene would explode and suspicious persons would overwhelm our communities!  Furthermore, more of these type of issues would be reported in the future. Please make a difference to protect this great area!  The chief’s office number is 404.546.6900,” Williams wrote.

Atlanta Progressive News first learned of the proposed changes to community patrolling in Midtown late last week.

Rick Day, who co-owns the Spring/4th Center with his wife, Stacey, and is active with the Midtown Neighbors Association, is one of the citizens who received the April 20 email.  He forwarded it to several members of the MNA Board.

Day told APN that Williams regularly sent emails out to a distribution list concerning safety in Midtown, but that he does not know how many people received the April 20 email.

Williams’s email was reprinted on the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance Website, and then reported upon by the Midtown Patch, a new hyperlocal website by the AOL corporation.

Midtown Patch reported that Councilman Kwanza Hall (District 2) said he was opposed to the proposal.

And Carlos Campos, APD spokesman, told the Patch, “We’re having some internal discussions about how to best utilize our resources in Zone 5.   I don’t think we are ready right now to discuss this.”

“I’m very disturbed at this development.  It seemed like he was doing his job, trying to promote public safety in the neighborhood, which has been an ongoing concern in Midtown,” Day told APN.

“The politics is highly suspect here.  It must’ve been a passionate thing for him to put his career on the line,” Day said.

Day praised Williams for his work with the GLBTQI community.  “He did a lot… to build bridges, especially after the Eagle raid.  I was very impressed, he worked with both the African American gay community and the gay community in Midtown in general to listen to everybody’s concerns.”

(END / 2011)

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