Fulton County’s chief prosecutor says a huge backlog of cases is making it hard for her office to keep up with current crimes.
Fulton County District Attorney Fanni Willis told a state Senate committee this week that the minute she was sworn in earlier this year, she found out she had inherited over 11,000 unindicted criminal cases.
Now her staff must sift through that backlog while trying to ensure current crimes are dealt with, she said, adding that rising crime rates and constraints on staffing and funding make both tasks more difficult.
“When I tell you that I am pushing my team and pushing them hard, that is an accurate statement,” said Willis.
Willis and other public safety officials met this week with the Senate Public Safety Committee, chaired by Sen. John Albers, a Republican from Roswell, to outline challenges and potential solutions for law enforcement.
Willis said more state funding, more facilities, additional judges and gang prosecutors, and better technology all would help to allay some of her department’s struggles. She also suggested the backlog of court cases might be eased by legislation that distributed cases more widely among jurisdictions.
“All the resources we need are here in Georgia,” said Willis. “I’m here asking for your help not only for my community, but for every community in this state.”
Georgia Corrections Commissioner Tim Ward echoed the dire need for staff and resources.
“Over 46,000 offenders are in our charge,” said Ward. “And just like every other law enforcement agency around this state, we are having staffing challenges.”
Albers was receptive to the suggestions of the officials, and said that he would be contacting them before the next legislative session.
“We appreciate your candor,” said Albers. “We hear you, and we are going to make changes.”