On March 17, the Atlanta Public Schools Police Department (APSPD) bestowed 76 officers with the ability to endorse laws outside of our school district. To understand the significance of this, it is helpful to know that before June 2016, Atlanta Public Schools did not have its own police force. Students who ran afoul of District rules and the law were often simply arrested, charged, and put into the juvenile justice system.
Five years ago, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) created a different kind of police department – one trained in social emotional learning skills and restorative practices. Officers learned and then practiced techniques that encouraged – and enabled – them to work with students, teachers, staff, families, and the community to solve problems, work to get to the source of issues, and empower everyone with the skills to make better decisions.
It has worked. Since the launch of the District’s police department, arrests are down more than 50 percent.
The team of officers is critical to APS. There will be times when APSPD will need to keep students safe and strong outside of the District’s jurisdiction. This gives officers the authority to follow through issues previously handed off to other law enforcement agencies.
Even with a pandemic and while many schools were closed, APSPD protected our schools, conducted welfare checks when necessary, and helped prepare the district for reopen. This authorization allows officers to serve our students beyond the borders of school.
Visit https://www.atlantapublicschools.us/oss to learn more about the safe and secure environment our officers work to provide for Atlanta Public Schools students, staff and families.