By John Schaffner

Lt. Mark Cotter

Lt. Mark Cotter, who had been a fixture representing Atlanta Police Zone 2 at community meetings and presenting crime update reports, has been transferred out of Zone 2 to become the commander of the city’s police narcotics unit.

In announcing the promotion at the Neighborhood Planning Unit B meeting Aug. 3, Zone 2 Commander Major Robert Browning said, “It was an unfortunate loss for us, but he had a nice pat on the back from [Atlanta Police Chief George Turner]. It is a very nice recognition for him.”

Replacing Cotter is Lt. Jeff Cantin, a newly promoted lieutenant who had previously worked in Zone 1 as a sergeant. “He is the new evening watch commander, and we are very lucky to have him,” Browning said.

Turner said he has known Cotter since the days when Turner was commander in Zone 1.

“He was a great beat officer,” Turner said. “We needed some aggressive officers to go out and work on what I called a strike team. Those officers were going to be responsible for that corridor (in Zone 1) that created problems for us — people just hung out, drank liquor; quality-of-life types of challenges.”

Turner said he took five of “our most aggressive officers,” who included Cotter, and put them on that detail.

“We went into June that year with a 9 percent increase in crime, and they drove that crime down to a 7 percent decrease by the end of the year. It was because of those young, aggressive officers, and Cotter was one of them.”

Turner added, “He now is working narcotics, and we have seen a difference already with what he is doing with the narcotics unit.”