A Petition to Reinstate Atlanta Police Sgt. Kreher
On May 20, Atlanta Police Department Sgt. Scott Kreher spoke at length during an Atlanta City Council budget hearing regarding the city's ongoing practice of cutting back public safety in order to counter financial decisions made in other areas of the city's government. He also referred to the shameful treatment endured by police officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty at the hands of Mayor Franklin's administration. These indignities include the failure by the city to pay for wheelchair repair and medication for police officers who have been paralyzed by bullet wounds sustained during attacks on them by criminals. Kreher, who has spent a great deal of time with the injured officers, has tried for months, as president of the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, to coax Mayor Franklin's administration into paying for the medical care and equipment the officers need so desperately, and which, in fact, they are entitled to have paid by the city under the terms of the city's workers compensation policy. Kreher tried repeatedly to get Mayor Shirley Franklin to answer correspondence about the officers' plight, or to sit down and meet with the officers to hear for herself how they have suffered as a result of the practices of her administration. She has repeatedly failed to respond and has ignored invitations to meet with the injured officers. Finally, on May 20, as Kreher spoke of the injured officers and how their most critical needs were being ignored by the Franklin administration and how she refuses to meet with the officers, he became emotional and said "These five officers were injured in the line of duty;I want to beat her [Mayor Franklin] in the head with a baseball bat sometimes when I think about it. I cannot believe Mayor Franklin's administration would allow this to happen. This administration should be ashamed of itself." On May 23, he apologized. He addressed the following to Mayor Franklin and posted it on the IBPO website: I wanted to express my sincere regret for the comments I made about you in our recent presentation to the City Council over the 2009/10 proposed budget on May 20th, 2009. My actions were inexcusable and certainly not what our officers and City expect from a leader in our department. Yet, on May 24 Kreher was removed from duty, suspended with pay, and ordered to have a psychological evaluation, and Mayor Franklin continues to lobby and agitate to end this fine officer's career because he stood up for injured police officers who could not stand up for themselves. The effect Mayor Franklin's hounding of Sgt. Kreher has had on police department morale is devastating, and this is in a department that was already struggling mightily with morale since Franklin cut the officers' pay last December through furloughs, which also seriously diminished the public safety of the citizens of Atlanta. As of this writing, officers who have been with the department for seven years are earning about $450 per week. Meanwhile, those same officers are painfully aware that if they pursue robbers, rapists and other thugs and are seriously injured in the process, the Franklin administration will not take care of them. Their wheelchairs will not be maintained. They will not have access to critical health care. Anyone can imagine the impact this realization has on the officers' ability to do their jobs. The purpose of this petition is to signify the support of the undersigned for the acceptance by Mayor Shirley Franklin of the apology offered to her by Sgt. Scott Kreher for his ill-chosen words during the council meeting on May 20, and to demand that she allow Kreher, who has served the City of Atlanta with honor for 17 years, to return to his job in good standing so that he can protect the people of Atlanta during this time of need. Â The undersigned citizens of Atlanta want Sgt. Scott Kreher back on the job, with his pay and benefits fully restored and no adverse impact to his status and standing in the Atlanta Police Department. These citizens want Mayor Franklin to accept Sgt. Kreher's apology and to meet with the above-described injured officers, or to make sure their medical costs are covered in a timely and efficient fashion as described by the city's workers compensation policy. Please sign and include address and phone number. You do not need to be a resident of Atlanta to sign. If you come into the city for work or play you are also encouraged to sign!