One Third of Atlanta Police Academy Grads Have Criminal Records

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that 1 in 3 recent Police Academy graduates in Atlanta has a criminal record.

More than one-third of recent Atlanta Police Academy graduates have been arrested or cited for a crime, according to a review of their job applications. The arrests ranged from minor offenses such as shoplifting to violent charges including assault. More than one-third of the officers had been rejected by other law enforcement agencies, and more than half of the recruits admitted using marijuana.

“On its face, it’s troubling and disturbing,” said Vincent Fort, a state senator from Atlanta. “It would be very troubling that people might be hitting the streets to serve and protect and they have histories that have made them unqualified to serve on other departments.”

To be fair to the City of Atlanta, none of the men in question have a felony conviction–these are all misdemeanor convictions. Indeed, this isn’t really as bad as it seems. For example, if somebody shoplifted five or ten years ago but has had a clean record since, is it really that fair to bar them from police work? That said, I do find this to be a bit problematic when it comes to allowing those convicted of violent offenses to serve as police officers, even if they were only misdemeanors.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. just me says:

    I think even some violent misdemeanors may not be as bad as you think. For instance if you spit on another person this would/could result in an assault charge. And while spitting is gross and definitely indicates contempt, I would hardly call it violent.

    I think I would want more information with regard to how they screened the graduates with records before deciding it is out of line-even with the assaults. Was each case gone through and determined to be without risk, or did they just waive all applicants charged with misdemeanors. I would hope in the cases of anyone who had been charged and convicted of a crime that each individual case would have been decided on a case by case basis.

  2. Anderson says:

    Only one-third???

  3. Wayne says:

    Many cities charge assault to anyone who is involved in a bar room brawl even if that person didn’t initiate the fight. Also being cited or arrested is not the same as being convicted. Unfortunately many do consider them to be the same and they are wrong.

  4. JT says:

    There are really a couple of ways to view this:
    Should these men be held accountable for youthful indiscretions that happened years ago?
    Aren’t misdemeanors minor infractions that don’t amount to much?
    How could the city of Atlanta be so desperate that they would allow this sort of thing to go on?

    It’s probably a case by case situation.