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Atlanta Police Department gains 24 new officers

Atlanta Police Department gains 24 new officers

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Police Department will graduate Class #237 Tuesday evening.

The class of brand new officers consists of 21 men and three women. All 24 graduates concluded 22 weeks of training at the Atlanta Police Academy -- including arrest techniques, physical fitness and classroom courses -- and 12 weeks of field training with veteran officers.

They will officially become members of the Atlanta Police Department during a ceremony at 7 p.m. in the Atlanta City Hall Atrium. Robin Loudermilk Jr., CEO of the Loudermilk Companies, will be the keynote speaker.

Three of the graduates have military backgrounds, while nine have college degrees, according to the Atlanta Police Department.

Fulton County Fire Rescue provides guidelines to prevent holiday fire hazards

Fulton County Fire Rescue provides guidelines to prevent holiday fire hazards

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- As residents string up the lights and ignite the candles, the Fulton County Fire Rescue Department encourages everyone to keep fire safety in mind.

According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), fires involving Christmas trees caused more than $16 million in property damage per year between 2004 and 2008. Holiday lights and other decorative lighting caused more than $8 million dollars in property damage per year over that same time period.

Weekend roadwork: Once again, avoid I-20 on the west side

Weekend roadwork: Once again, avoid I-20 on the west side

(WXIA) -- Drivers are asked to avoid non-essential travel on Interstate 20 on Atlanta's west side this weekend.

Georgia Department of Transportation crews will perform several road projects on I-20 as well as other areas of metro Atlanta. Lane closures and delays are expected.

All work is weather permitting.

This weekend's work by county includes:

Cobb County
* Two northbound lanes of Cobb Parkway will be closed at the Chattahoochee River on Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon for pavement repairs.
* Two southbound lanes of Cobb Parkway will be closed at the Chattahoochee River on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. for pavement repairs.

Ex-Grady Memorial Hospital payroll director convicted of embezzlement

Ex-Grady Memorial Hospital payroll director convicted of embezzlement

ATLANTA -- Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation's former payroll director has been found guilty of stealing nearly half a million dollars from the Atlanta hospital.

Donald Thomas, 55, was convicted of six counts each of theft and wire fraud, and two counts of bank fraud. He will be sentenced in February.

According to information presented in federal court, from January 2008 to June 2011, Thomas oversaw payroll for Grady's 5,500 employees. During that time, he made 134 fraudulent payments to himself by removing fired employees' bank account numbers from their payroll records and replacing them with his own.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Thomas added vacation and severance pay for the former Grady employees, which was deposited into his personal bank account. In at least two instances, he created paper checks for payments to terminated employees, forged their signatures and took the money.

Protesters interrupt Eric Holder's Atlanta speech


ATLANTA -- In a speech in Atlanta briefly interrupted by protesters Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that new Justice Department guidance will aim to end racial profiling.

Holder spoke at Ebenezer Baptist Church in a town hall called The Community Speaks, which the church described as "a community dialogue that ties the killing of Michael Brown, the grand jury's decision on Wilson and the case at large to the greater issues of racial profiling and discrimination targeting communities of color."

Holder said that he would release details of the new Justice Department plan in the coming days.

In his speech, Holder discussed the often troubled and tense relationship between police officers and the communities they serve.

"Our police officers cannot be and cannot be seen as an occupying force disconnected to the communities that they serve," Holder said.

Atlanta-area unemployment decreases in October

Atlanta-area unemployment decreases in October

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate fell again last month.

October's rate was 7.0 percent, down from September's 7.3 percent. It was 7.6 percent in October 2013.

Fulton County's unemployment rate was 7.9 percent last month.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the area added 18,800 jobs in October, which contributed to the rate decrease. Metro Atlanta has added nearly 58,000 jobs since October of last year. Fewer area residents filed for unemployment insurance last month too.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest October unemployment rate, at 5.4 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 9.3 percent.

Personal Safety Tips

Personal Safety Tips

By Greg Norred, CEO, Norred & Associates

Over the course of your life, the chances of being the victim of a crime are at least one in three, higher if you live in a large city, and higher still if you’re a woman. The criminal’s objective is to maximize gain and minimize risk, and he’ll usually pick the easiest target with the most to offer. Given these odds, it pays to take precautions by following some basic safety rules: