Mayor-elect Kasim Reed has announced that Deputy Chief George N. Turner will be acting Atlanta police chief, assuming the position on Jan. 4. He will serve in that capacity until a national search for a new chief of police is completed.

“I am delighted to announce Deputy Chief George Turner as my acting Chief of Police,” said Reed. “I am taking this action quickly because public safety was a critical part of my campaign and there is no time to waste when ensuring the safety of Atlanta’s residents.”

Reed added, “With 28 years on the police force, Deputy Chief Turner has the home-grown experience, ability and respect of his fellow officers to lead the Atlanta Police Department as we begin our search for a permanent chief. He will be instrumental in turning the tide of violence in Atlanta, improving officer morale and expanding the size of our police force.”

Reed said, as acting police chief, “Turner’s primary focus will be on keeping our citizens safe, taking a holistic approach to reducing crime, overhauling the city’s 911 emergency system and increasing the size of the police force.”

Turner will be considered in the search for a permanent police chief for the city, but Reed is determined to conduct a thorough nationwide search for the new chief and has said he does not want to hurry the process to the detriment of selecting the best candidate.

–John Schaffner