ATLANTA (CW69 News at 10) — A program allowing the public to engage in Fulton County’s court system is back up and running following the pandemic. The CourtWatch program is part of ongoing efforts to address crime and repeat offenders in the area, and officials are urging residents to sign up.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis joined Mayor Andre Dickens and law enforcement officials to announce the return of the program. The program was stopped because of the COVID-19 pandemic and inactivity, but now, officials are now urging the public to get back involved.

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“This is going to be a key part to citizens being able to hold the justice system accountable,” said Willis. That system includes the DA, law enforcement, and judges in Fulton County. “They will have a first-hand view as to what is going on and be able to write reports to allow other citizens to know what is going on in our court system.”

In the first round, they’re looking to recruit and train 250 volunteers who will monitor court proceedings to ensure a fair process.

“This is a way for members of our community to ensure that there are equal and appropriate consequences for the decisions made by repeat offenders,” said Mayor Andre Dickens, who referenced several city programs that are currently in place to fight crime, including a tracking system for violent repeat offenders.

“That means an individual that has three past felony convictions and has now been arrested for a fourth felony. So, there’s 1,423 on our streets right now as we speak, or some of them are currently in the process,” said Atlanta Police Foundation President and CEO Dave Wilkinson, regarding repeat offenders.

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Officials say it’s about accountability and building public trust.

“For there to be true accountability, for our armed robbers, the gang members, those that target our citizens, make our parks feel unsafe, the courtroom is where we have the optimal outcome of safety of this city,” said Interim Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum.

Willis said this lets everyone have an opportunity to keep an eye on the justice system.

“Everyone will realize we are under a microscope, the citizens are watching, and they are making sure we are doing what is appropriate to keep them safe,” Willis said.

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For more information on CourtWatch, click here.