teenage boys blurred faces talking to cop

by Robin Kemp

Clayton County Police Chief Kevin Roberts said he’d give an “A-plus” to the officer who pointed a gun at five teenage boys in Jonesboro Tuesday. Many area residents are angry after seeing video of the encounter, saying the officer put the boys in danger. Others say the cop was doing his job and that he could have arrested the kids but instead counseled them and turned them over to their parents.

A look at the Clayton County Police Department Standard Operating Procedures manual explains why the officer did what he did at various points during the encounter. While critics say police procedures–and the entire police system–needs to be changed, knowing what those procedures are can provide insights into why cops do what they do and give activists and officers a starting point for discussion.

The documents, which are chapters from the department manual, were obtained through a routine Open Records Request unrelated to Tuesday’s incident. The Clayton Crescent offers them in hopes they will assist citizens who want to discuss policing in their communities.

These are Clayton County Police Department procedures and policies. Different police departments may have different procedures and policies in place. We do not offer this information as legal advice nor as an endorsement of any particular policy.

Additional Resources

Whether you want to take on the way police do their job, change some laws, or give young people some direction, here are a few resources to consider:

To file a complaint about an encounter with the Clayton County Police, visit their Citizen Feedback page.

To see when the Clayton County Police Department is holding a community event near you, visit their Calendar of Events.

To learn about community policing, see the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Understanding Community Policing: A Framework for Action

Listen to The Beat podcast on numerous topics related to community policing from the U.S. Department of Justice

Read about BB gun safety and correct handling (yes, you can die from a BB gun shot). The Consumer Product Safety Commission says kids under 16 should not have BB guns.

See Georgia laws about the possession and use of firearms, which exempts any “gun which discharges a single shot of .46 centimeters or less in diameter,” creating a legislative loophole for BB guns.

See Clayton County code that makes it illegal “to fire a gun, rifle, pistol, revolver, cannon, air rifle, firearms of any type or shoot a slingshot or bow and arrow within the unincorporated area of the county within 1,000 feet of any residence, place of worship, business or public meeting place.”

See the county’s definitions of loitering and disorderly conduct.

See the Clayton County Office of Youth Services‘ list of programs and service providers.

Visit the Clayton County Parks and Recreation website for things to do this summer.