Fulton County Commissioner Bob Ellis is introducing a hate crime ordinance and conducting overviews and Fulton's law enforcement agencies.
At the request of Commissioner Ellis, each of Fulton County’s three law enforcement agencies will provide in-depth overviews of their individual use of force policies and procedures to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners at their meeting June 17. In addition, Commissioner Ellis will also introduce a Hate Crimes Ordinance applicable to unincorporated Fulton County.
“As a nation, state and county, we have witnessed the tragic and horrific impact of police brutality and abuse by certain law enforcement personnel," Ellis said. "This has understandably led many to question their trust in officers. Certainly, legislation at the state and federal level regarding policing reform is important, but discussions and work at the local level are key in ensuring effective and quality community policing.”
Fulton County Government has three different law enforcement entities – the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, the Fulton County Marshal, and the Fulton County Police. They each have specific functions, some of which are different from that of a traditional police department. Nonetheless, they each interact with citizens and may be placed in a situation where use of force by an officer may be required.
“Fulton County is a very diverse County and that diversity represents our strength," Ellis said. "It is well documented that hate crimes can have a heavy, negative impact on communities. As such, they deserve higher attention and penalties. The state of Georgia is presently discussing passage of Hate Crimes legislation, and I am hopeful that this passes soon. But, counties and municipalities have an important opportunity to also lend their voice and take action with specific ordinances of their own."
Ellis is proposing a Hate Crimes Ordinance at the upcoming Board of Commissioners Meeting for unincorporated Fulton County that closely mirrors an ordinance passed by the city of Sandy Springs. Ellis said he applauds the Sandy Springs ordinance and encourages other counties and municipalities to consider passage of comparable ordinances for their respective jurisdictions.
"I also expect the Board to review current and future accountability and transparency measures necessary to further foster trust, so that faith and respect can be restored with Fulton citizens,” Ellis said.