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APD Chief Bryant’s decision to retire was mutual, mayor says

The city will conduct a national search for a permanent replacement.
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 10:27 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant is retiring in June.

Bryant, who joined Atlanta’s police force in 1988, was confirmed to serve as the department’s 25th Chief in May 2021, almost a year after being chosen to serve as Interim Chief following the departure of Erika Shields.

His retirement announcement comes as Mayor Andre Dickens publicly stated he was evaluating whether or not to retain Bryant, a campaign promise he made during his mayoral election. At a press conference Friday afternoon, Mayor Dickens said he and Bryant came to the decision together.

“Chief Bryant has answered the call for our city time and time again throughout his career,” Dickens said. “Atlanta is blessed to have had a dedicated, committed member of this police force to serve our community for so many years.”

“The mayor has a very aggressive plan for this city,” Bryant added. “When he speaks, even now, he speaks in the term of 8 years, meaning he’s truly committed. So, when a leader lays out a strategy for that long, he should have a team that’s just as committed.”

Bryant said it was never his intention to remain in the position long-term. He came out of retirement in 2020, rejoining the department as interim chief as the city was reeling from COVID-19 and mass protests.

“I think as I leave and transition into my next phase, that I’m leaving this department in strong capable hands of executive leaders and people who are truly committed to this city,” Bryant said.

“The timing aligned up just right,” Dickens added.

While Dickens said he is encouraged by some positive trends within the police department, reducing violent crime remains a focus. Homicides are up 31% year to date, according to data from the department.

“Homicides are just too high for any of us,” Dickens said. “Homicides and rapes are higher than we want them to be. So, we’re going to continue to focus on that.”

As the city starts nationwide search for a new police chief, Dickens said he’s looking for someone who can recruit, implement community-based strategies, and has innovative solutions to deter crime. he also said he plans to involve the community in the search, conducting surveys and hosting town halls to gather input.

“While national in scope, there are some local talents that are definitely going to rise to the top,” Dickens said.

Whoever is chosen, Bryant said they will have his full support and cooperation.

“I believe in this city, this department, this mayor, and administration,” he added.

In a written statement, the Atlanta City Council said the following:

“Over the course of his decorated career, Chief Bryant showed true dedication to the department and took on tough challenges facing our city. His leadership played a consequential and positive role in shaping the community, and he showed a passion and commitment toward keeping us safe. We are deeply grateful for his service to Atlanta.”