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Atlanta Police 'de-centralizing' narcotics unit, shifting focus to violent gang crime

The move will mean future narcotics investigations will be integrated into overall efforts department-wide.
Atlanta Police Dept.

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Police Narcotics Unit will not exist in its current form following a decision to "de-centralize" the unit so its investigators can assist in efforts to confront violent crime and gangs.

11Alive requested details regarding a possible disbanding of the drug unit and received a statement that said, in part, that while the police department knows "illegal narcotics trade is often at the center of criminal activity fueled by guns and gangs," it is "decentralizing its Narcotics Unit in recognition that the violence that surrounds this trade should be the focus of the entire Department, not just one team."

The move will mean future narcotics investigations will be integrated into overall efforts department-wide.

The department went on to say that it had "tremendous success" in targeting the sale of narcotics by tracking violent criminals and getting illegally-possessed guns off the streets.

"One simply leads to the other," it said.

The decision regarding the narcotics squad intends to reinforce the department's priority on violent crime and gang activity where police believe they will "have a greater impact on the crimes affecting those most often victimized in our communities."

Police haven't released an exact timeline or process by which the narcotics unit will be absorbed into the overall department. But it suggests this is the next step in fighting crime in Georgia's capital city.

"We believe an evolution in our crime-fighting strategy is required as the margins for reducing crime beyond the historic lows we have experienced in the past decade continue to shrink," the statement said.

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