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Andy Nguyen
By Andy Nguyen October 29, 2021

No, Atlanta did not lose two-thirds of its police force

If Your Time is short

  • Although Atlanta has been dealing with police staffing issues since 2020, it has not lost 75% of its officers through a mass resignation.
  • The police chief of Nahunta, Ga., a small town about 250 miles away from Atlanta, tweeted that he and 75% of officers resigned from the city’s police department.

A Facebook post makes the startling claim that the city of Atlanta, Ga. lost two-thirds of its police force as a result of mass resignations.

The Oct. 20 post shows a screenshot of a tweet from a person named Chief Jimmy Banks.

"My time as chief, at my current agency, has come to an end," the tweet says. "There are some things worth fighting for, even if it means walking out the door! Please pray for the city, as 75% of the officers left with me."

The Facebook post’s caption claims the tweet is proof that "Atlanta just lost 75% of its police force."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Although the tweet featured in the Facebook post is from a Twitter account, it is real and from a now-former chief of police in Georgia — just not in Atlanta.

Jimmy Banks served as chief of the Nahunta Police Department until he resigned on Oct. 12, according to Angela Wirth, Nahunta’s city clerk. Nahunta is located about 250 miles southeast of Atlanta. It appears that Banks’ original tweet has been deleted, but we found a picture of it archived Oct. 19.

The comments on the Facebook post suggests Banks’ resignation had to do with COVID-19 and a possible vaccine mandate. Wirth declined to say why Banks resigned, but she disputed accounts that it had to do with COVID-19.

Nahunta does not have a vaccine mandate, Wirth said. She also said no other officers have left. Though when we spoke to Darin Jennings, Nahunta’s new police chief, it appeared that was in dispute.

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Jennings said a majority of the city’s police officers did resign with Banks. At least three officers left the six-officer department, he said.

A fourth officer also sent in their resignation, but Jennings said the department was trying to "work things out" with them. 

The resignations were a result of a dispute on how to properly compensate officers, according to Jennings. "It was a difference of views between (Banks) and the City Council," he said.

PolitiFact was unable to reach Banks for comment. 

While the Facebook post incorrectly states that 75% of Atlanta lost its police force, Atlanta has been grappling with a shortage of police officers. More than 200 officers have retired or resigned from the Atlanta Police Department since 2020, and an additional 115 people left the department this year for other reasons, according to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal.

The department currently has 1,623 officers on staff, 423 people short of what’s considered full staffing by the agency, the paper reported.

Our ruling

A Facebook post claims two-thirds of Atlanta’s police officers resigned en masse, and pointed to a tweet made by a police chief announcing the resignations as proof.

Although the tweet is real, it was made by the resigning chief of police in Nahunta, Ga., a small town nearly 250 miles away from Atlanta. Atlanta has seen more than 300 employee departures since 2020 but they weren’t "en masse" resignations and, even if calculated at its most liberal interpretation, does not equate to anywhere near 75% of the department.

We rate this claim False.


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No, Atlanta did not lose two-thirds of its police force

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