Atlanta police officers failing firearms exam - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Atlanta police officers failing firearms exam

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A large number of Atlanta police officers are failing their annual firearms exam. The latest results show a nearly 10 percent failure rate.

Every year, every officer must go to the pistol range and show that he or she can shoot with proficiency.

FOX 5's Morse Diggs first reported on this failures back in March. Since then, Diggs says there has not been improvement in the passing rates.

"When we got our report in March, there were only six that hadn't passed the test. The ones that are not doing as well, are the ones, oddly, with the most experience," said Atlanta City Councilmember Michael Bond.

Since the beginning of March, 31 of the 349 Atlanta officers who took the exam failed.

When an officer fails, the city puts them back into a precinct, where they do paperwork.

Of the 39 that failed the test since March, seven of those have gone back and re-qualified.

Bond said the failure rate could affect neighborhood policing.  

"Not on patrol, not out fighting crime, they're assigned administrative work -- that's got to have an effect on the policing in the city," Bond said.

Ken Allen, the president of the Atlanta Police Union, wants to take another look at the process.

"I think that the number and how this is going is causing, or will cause citizens, to have a credibility issue with the quality of officers and what we are really performing and do," Allen said. "Ii think that maybe some of the people are already nervous going out to qualifying, and this may be adding additional pressures and concerns for them which may, in turn, be turning around and making it much more difficult for them to qualify and just relax and do what they're trained to do and what they know to do. "

Police brass say increased the standards of the test. Many of the officers told Morse Diggs that they're not allowed to try and acclimate or adapt to the new standard before they have to go and take the test.

Bond, the city council's public safety chairperson, says that he will call the commanders to the council's next meeting, and ask them to explain how they will improve the efficiency of these officers.

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