Metro Atlanta school police officers to get body cameras

Updated Jan 25, 2018
HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/hshin@ajc.com
APS Police Chef Ronald Applin and 67 certified law enforcement personnel are sworn-in during Inaugural Swearing-In Ceremony at Atlanta Public Schools in 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Atlanta school police officers are getting a new addition to their uniforms: body cameras.

Atlanta Public Schools announced it would equip its officers with body-worn cameras, using a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, part of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The district was awarded a $249,608 federal grant to be matched with local money and to be divided among it, Clayton, and DeKalb school districts based on the number of officers in each district.

But on Thursday, DeKalb County School District spokesman Andre Riley said DeKalb has withdrawn from the grant because of costs associated with the project. The school’s officers don’t use body cameras and will not receive them, he said.

APS  launched its own police force in 2016 after ending a contract with the city of Atlanta. 

The district plans to buy 70 cameras, enough for every school officer to use one, said spokeswoman Latisha Gray, in an email.

She said APS still can use its part of the grant funding regardless of other districts’ participation.

The cost to APS will depend on the type of device and video storage plan the district chooses, and the district will seek community input on those options.

APS held one meeting this week to discuss the project and will hold a second community meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Benjamin E. Mays High School Auditorium.

In other Education news:

An Atlanta charter school founder, Christopher Clemons, entered guilty pleas in Fulton County Superior Court in two cases linked to thefts of at least $1.2 million, including money stolen from the schools he helped start.