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Richard J. Pennington For DC Police Chief


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Richard J. Pennington is Atlanta’s 22nd Chief of Police. He is responsible for the overall operation of the largest municipal law enforcement agency in the State of Georgia which consists of 2,300 sworn and non-sworn employees, three divisions and an annual budget of more than $165 million. He has been active in law enforcement for over thirty years. He began his law enforcement career in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Police Department rising to the rank of Assistant Chief. In 1994, he was hired after a national search to become the Chief of Police in New Orleans, LA.


During his tenure in New Orleans, he dramatically reduced homicides by fifty percent, created a Public Integrity Division to root out internal corruption, implemented community policing programs and created effective partnerships between the police and community. He established new hiring standards for recruits and totally reorganized the department by decentralizing all enforcement and investigative functions, holding Commanders accountable, and implementing the Computer Statistics (COMSTAT) program. This resulted in a 55% (fifty-five) decrease in violent crimes.


As Chief of the Atlanta Police Department since July 2002, Chief Pennington has been instrumental in assisting business leaders to establish the Atlanta Police Foundation; established a weekly Command Operation Briefing to Revitalize Atlanta (COBRA) to discuss crime patterns and develop strategies to eliminate problems throughout our city; has received national accreditation for the Department through CALEA as of March, 2005; and reorganized the Department by decentralizing all enforcement and investigative functions. He has also implemented a new beat redesign to more evenly distribute officers’ workload; formed the Cyber Crime Task Force with the FBI to develop skills and resources for investigating computer-related crimes; and established a new Homeland Security Unit within the Department.

Chief Pennington has implemented a lateral entry program which recruits and trains new officers who currently have policing experience; received approval to hire 100 additional officers; and most importantly, has reduced crime in the City by 21.2%.


He is a graduate of American University (Bachelor’s Degree), University of the District of Columbia (Master’s Degree), the F.B.I. National Academy, the George Washington University Executive Development Program, the F.B.I. National Executive Institute, and the Senior Executives Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has received numerous awards from citizen groups, federal agencies, civic organizations and business communities including Governing Magazine’s “Public Official of the Year.”

Chief Pennington is the current National President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and is a member of the following organizations: International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs of Police Association, Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, 100 Black Men of Atlanta, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He is also a member of Cascade United Methodist Church.

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