By John Schaffner
Atlanta Police Chief George Turner has developed a plan for the realignment of police zones and beats throughout the city which would increase the size of Zone 2—already the largest police zone in the city—by adding the Cheshire Bridge Road area.
Atlanta City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean said that she and fellow council members Howard Shook and Felicia Moore, all Buckhead representatives, “are begging Police Chief Turner to reconsider the allocation of resources in Zone 2.”
Adrean recently told the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, “Not only are we the biggest zone geographically, we have the worst east-west connections. Looking at our Buckhead population, we also are a major employment center bringing in a ton of people to work every day.”
Adrean said according to the plan, which is being considered by the Atlanta City Council’s Safety Committee, “Zone 2 will get 15 new officers, six more cars and two more detectives. And, the zone would be taking over the entire Cheshire Bridge Road area, which it had years ago, before the last realignment.”
Adrean and Moore spoke at the Nov. 18 meeting of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, along with at-large City Council members Aaron Watson, H. Lamar Willis and Michael Julian Bond. Shook was unable to attend due to a previous engagement.
“You all need to start calling 911,” Adrean told the group.” One of the big drivers of allocation of resources is the number of calls to 911.”
She told the representatives from most of Buckhead’s neighborhoods “we kind of shoot ourselves in the foot because we are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on private security and using that private security to answer 911 calls. Call 911 first. A lot of these seemingly nuisance things lead to larger arrests because a lot of these people have records,” she added.
She also said she would like to see a mini-precinct at the Walmart store on Howell Mill Road south of I-75.
Moore said, “My district also is in Zone 2 and we sometimes feel like a stepchild. But we have a fire station that is being built and we also are putting a police precinct in the fire station. So we are happy that we are getting that way out on the west side.”
The new fire station is being built on Hollywood Road in the Bolton neighborhood.
Bond, a member of the Safety Committee, said, “The upside of this plan is the realignment of the beats. It should not be that difficult to get the chief to reconsider reassigning those beats between Zone 2 and Zone 3,” he added. The Cheshire Bridge Road area presently is in Zone 3.
Under the proposed plan before the council, Bond said, beats are smaller, they have more police officers patrolling and more defined areas, so the response time should be a lot quicker.
“The way those zones are configured and the beats assigned is more administrative than it is practical application of where those police officers are going to be and how they are going to patrol,” Bond explained.
He suggested residents should e-mail the chief and make known their feelings about the realignment.
Bond said the plan “has not been a political decision in the department. It has been purely based on data.”