By Michael Jacobs
A community-focused reorganization of the Police Department could be enacted as soon as April 1 now that commanders have been named for the two sectors of Sandy Springs, Police Chief Terry Sult said March 16.
Speaking at Dist. 6 Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny’s public-safety-focused town-hall meeting at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, Sult said the reorganization will make the department he has led since October more accessible to the public and strengthen its partnership with the community.
Each sector will have a lieutenant, a sergeant and two officers who will connect with city residents. They will regularly attend neighborhood association meetings and other community gatherings and will provide points of contact beyond Sult, Deputy Chief Kenneth DeSimone and Senior Officer Larry Jacobs, the community affairs officer.
The South Sector commander is Lt. Scott Jamison. The North Sector commander is Lt. Anthony “Bo” Eskew.
Assistant City Manager Noah Reiter said the city’s new 911 center, due to open by Aug. 1, will play a crucial role in Sult’s community policing plans by providing detailed surveillance and geographical statistics unavailable through Fulton County’s 911 system.
Reiter said the city within weeks will launch a “reverse 911 system” — a mass messaging system for major emergencies. The city will spread the word by land-line telephones, cellphones, e-mail and text messages.
The Police Department has other community initiatives planned beyond the reorganization, which Sult said he was planning to roll out in May but is being pressed to launch earlier. Neighborhood watches are expanding, and the Citizen Police Academy is nearing its first graduation. Sult said he also wants to start a program of volunteers on patrol.
Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Scarborough, the city’s fire marshal, also addressed community outreach efforts, including allowing children to have their birthday parties at city fire stations at no charge.
“It’s really your fire station, so we want you to take advantage of that,” he said.