SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Over the past year police agencies across the country have faced intense scrutiny and criticism from the public. There are now calls for increased police reform after multiple uses of force incidents turned deadly.
Protests in the streets across the country have erupted again nearly one year after they began following the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and more within the last month.
Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police (GACP) Executive Director and former Gwinnett County Police Chief Butch Ayers knows these calls for change all too well.
“I had two officers that had assaulted an unarmed Black motorist and I fired both of them the next day and prosecuted them,” Ayers said.
The GACP said they are listening to the police reform demands and offering what they call an effective solution.
“In our experience, and you see what’s going on across the country, and various critical incidents and controversial incidents involving law enforcement you go back and you look at an agencies policies,” Ayers told WSAV News 3.
He said there’s one proven process that has helped some agencies by enrolling in the Georgia Law Enforcement State Certification Program.
“It’s a compilation of best practices in the profession throughout the state and the nation as far as it relates to law enforcement and we put those into a series of standards,” he said.
The standards require program participants to comply with specific requirements through policy, documentation, supervision, and periodic reviews every three years to verify on-going compliance.
“That will hopefully allow them to be more effective, see less or fewer complaints, less critical incidents and actually generate the support of the community,” Ayers said.
Ayers believes critical incidents are caused by policy issues and with strict standards in place comes a safer community.
The organization is encouraging every law enforcement agency in Georgia to participate in the program. The program is voluntary. The Coastal Empire has several agencies certified and others are in the process.