MARIETTA — The city's police department has been following the guidance outlined in a new presidential executive order on policing for years, according to Chief Dan Flynn.

Under the executive order signed by President Donald Trump earlier this month, policing agencies are to adopt certification by an independent accrediting agency certified by the U.S. attorney general and prohibit chokeholds except in cases where the use of deadly force is legally permissible, in order to receive Justice Department discretionary grant funding. The order does not mandate, but suggests all officers should be trained to encounter individuals dealing with mental health issues, addiction and homelessness.

"Very much to our delight, we were able to find that we were already 100% in compliance with everything we could do," Flynn recently told the Marietta City Council. 

The chief said the Marietta Police Department is certified nationally by the Commission for the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, which he said was the "gold standard" of accrediting agencies, and state certified through the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.

Chokeholds, Flynn said, have been banned in the police department "for as long as anybody in the department can remember."

"It’s right there in our policies. They are prohibited and we’re glad that they are. We agree; it's just too dangerous for police officers to use," he said.

Flynn said for the past five years, the department has incorporated a philosophy of "procedural justice" in its policing, including transparency, giving citizens a voice, impartiality and fairness.

Around the same time Marietta Police started that, the agency developed a "bill of rights" for citizens on policing, which lays out expectations the community should have for police, including transparency, thoroughness in investigations of misconduct and urgency in investigating, communicating and acting on the results, the chief said.

The police department also has programs that send trained teams to intervene when police respond to calls involving addiction, and has a similar approach to homelessness-related calls, Flynn said.

Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly asked the chief questions about the department, including how it approaches diversity.

"How are we recruiting women and then officers of color? Because I do think it's important for officers to have a frame of reference, and to be able to look like a community that they serve," she said.

Flynn said the department had "made a lot of progress" and done well in hiring a diverse group of officers by recruiting veterans, though he observed that many African American recruits move on to federal agencies and Marietta Police has a hard time retaining such officers.  

Kelly asked if the department offers bias training, and the chief answered that officers have access to bias training as part of a citywide online program.

The councilwoman also asked what can be done when officers have multiple complaints against them.

Flynn, who prior to Marietta worked for the Miami and Savannah police departments, said earlier in his career he developed an early warning system, which Marietta and other departments use across the country. 

"Even if an officer has not sustained, but you have a combination of things like complaints against the officer, police-involved shootings involving the officer, discipline, any combination of those, even if the individual cases are not sustained or exonerated or justified, you’re required, supervisors are required to bring that person in and conduct a full evaluation," he said.

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(14) comments

Mike Nelson

Unless you defund the police, turn it over to community counselors that have diversity training, Democratic Party will never be happy.

Sirhc Sivad

Marietta PD does very well for this community but there is a potential concern for issues going forward: What hiring practices are being put into place currently to weed out officer applicants from other jurisdictions who will look great on paper and can talk the talk through the interview process but are, truth be told, fleeing new levels of accountability in, say, City of Atlanta, because their personal policing methods are not accountable methods?

Mike Nelson

Go to New York where the Democratic governor just cit 1 billion from the budget. Crime is rampant. 22 month old killed in Chicago, Democratic mayor. Just look ar the numbers they don’t lie. Contrary to the press

Johanna Williams

@Sirhc Sivad

What you spewed out is wild speculation. Come up with some facts and figures, if you want to be taken seriously.

Sirhc Sivad

Chicago is in New York now. Hmm. I had not realized that. I wonder if they know up there?

Howard Peterson

Hey Sirhc. Let's compare Atlanta records for the week ending 6-14-20 with same week ending in 2019:

Traffic Stops for 2020 was 50. Last year it was 3,011.

All Arrests for 2020 was 155. Last year same week it was 550.

Shooting incidents for 2020 was 21 compared to 7 last year.

Yes, you & all your Democrat friends are just doing a "wonderful" job.........

Sirhc Sivad

Thank you Mr Howard, but I can't take credit. First the Republicans control the Executive, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the State of Georgia, every state adjacent to Georgia, and even right here, Cobb County. Despite all that power in the lily hands of the Republicans, the Coronavirus get most of the credit for people staying home and behaving themselves in City of Atlanta that you reference. But the White Power Trump Family gets all the credit for exposing the lows many police departments and other humans have sunk to, starting during the period of Emancipation thru Juneteenth, in their attempts to keep the powers that be from fading into being the powers that were. As a recent example, there once was Republican party, but racist white Democrats fled to that party in the 1980s to join up with the other racists plus the conservatives roundabouts of when Reagan pulled in the evangelicals, but given the ease of molding the thoughts of working class conservatives and evangelicals, the white power types ate the Republican party from the inside which resultingly ate the police from the inside but Trump let it all out and now we all live in this steamy hot soup of plague and mess. What comes next is that the non-racist conservatives and the truly Jesus-loving and Jesus-following non-racist evangelicals have fled the Trump Party with nowhere to go but the Democrat party and will vote out Trump and his Senatorial enablers, along with everyone guilty by anything and everything between silence to association to his accomplices. White Power already destroyed itself by putting The Biggest Loser on their, and somehow all of our, leadership throne. Now we wait thru whatever additional havoc he can wreak over the next 6.5 months until he and those who kept him, the Republican Senate, have all lost all their power. And then come the investigations to see where all our tax money has been going the last few years, because when Trump told you "Make America Great Again" he meant "Make America Make My Bank Account Great Again, Like When Dad Still Put Money In it"

Johanna Williams

@Sirhc Sivad

Your incoherent conjecture and speculation make it impossible to have an intelligent discussion with you. Instead of psycho-babble, how about presenting some facts and figures, IF you want to be taken seriously? After reading your lengthy rant, it is obvious you are in classic advanced TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). What alternate universe do you live in?

Mike Nelson

We said it before go to Seattle or even better Chicago. Look at those death numbers, but that is never mentioned by the Democratic Party, doesn’t fit your agenda.

Sirhc Sivad

@ Miss JoAnne, thank you! I appreciate your frequent brief comments that call back to what I wrote without ever having mentioned explicitly what I wrote. I can get a little long-winded and people might gloss over so much text since removes the line breaks, but your callbacks certainly send people back to finish reading what I write. I would think you are my alter ego advertising for me, except that I know you are not, as I am not Trump. I don't have an alter ego acting as my own agent!

Johanna Williams

@Sirhc Sivad

Your rhetorical theories present a fascinating glimpse into your dysfunctional mental process.

Howard Peterson

Chris Davis. You have exposed yourself as a phony. And no,that word has nothing to do with telephones. Give up! The jig is over & that word has nothing to do with jiggle.

Sirhc Sivad

I suppose I am a phony, having nothing to do with phones. I know nothing of how the Marietta police do for this community, as I have had no interaction with them since circa 1990. Only thing I "know" is what they say, and they claim to be doing a great job with our community. I assumed it to be true, because the firebugs over at Marietta Redevelopment Corp regularly take care of displacement of crime for the City of Marietta.

Sirhc Sivad

It's been a minute but I am now less phony to some degree regarding my opinion of Marietta PD. Yesterday I got to see a low speed chase of a junky old SUV by the Marietta police. The junky old SUV driver kept driving and driving and turning and turning, stopping to wait for traffic as needed, but never actually stopping for the police. Eventually upon the junky old SUV having no reasonable alternative, its driver did stop. The minority driver was approached by the Marietta polices and was treated very respectfully as the human being that they are. No guns drawn, no beat downs, no cuffs, no yelling, no nonsense, just very calm, even keeled talking. Had this same event happened in most of the Live PD jurisdictions, it likely would have ended poorly for the driver who was not stopping. Great job to Marietta polices, acting like polices ought to act. Thank you Marietta PD.

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