Shirley Franklin praises her former police chief, Richard Pennington

8:17 p.m Thursday, May 4, 2017 Local
Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin watches former police chief Richard Pennnington at a 2009 press conference. Pennington and Franklin served together. Bob Andres,

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, reflecting on her first big hire as mayor, called Richard Pennington a “great leader,” who was “determined to improve the Atlanta Police Department. 

“He led the APD to expand officer training, to gain national accreditation, to launch the Atlanta Police Foundation, to access the root causes of crime, to realign resources and the precincts, to build the state of the art Atlanta Police and Fire Department headquarters, to launch COBRA and to promote fair and just treatment of Atlanta's residents,” Franklin said. “Richard was a great leader among leaders in the fields of law enforcement and public administration. I am honored to have served as mayor with him as Police Chief.”

Richard Pennington, who served throughout the Franklin administration, died Thursday. He was 70.

Pennington, who came to Atlanta in 2002 after leading the New Orleans police department, left the department in 2010 after Franklin left office.

During his tenure, Pennington was credited with a drop in Atlanta’s crime.

When he took over in July 2002, Atlanta was ranked the nation’s third-most violent city. By the time he left, it ranked 18th.

In June of 2010 Pennington was admitted to the Shepherd Center for rehabilitation after suffering a stroke on Memorial Day.

After his stroke, Pennington made few public appearances.

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