The Atlanta police department plans to redraw the boundaries of the beats its officers patrol in order to equalize their workload, police officials say. The changes they propose mean the area covered by Zone 2, which includes Buckhead, will grow by about 3.4 square miles.

But the plan, which adds officers in Zone 2, also means that the area each officer in the city covers, on average, will shrink, police officials told about 40 residents who on March 9 attended one of a series of meetings police planned to outline the changes. Police planned to present their plans to residents in meetings in each of the city’s six police zones.

The plan adds 12 beats across the city and “also allows us to bring more police officers into the precincts,” Police Chief George Turner told the Buckhead crowd.

“We have been able to reduce the size of the beats,” Turner said. “We think by having more officers on the street, it will reduce our response times across the city.”

The department’s proposal cuts the square miles patrolled by an officer to about 3 square miles from about 3.6 square miles, police said. In Zone 2, the number of beats will increase to 13 from 10, the said.

The plan offers the first complete realignment of the department’s patrol beats since 2003, officials said. Some less sweeping changes were made in 2007,  they said.

The new beat design is based on a measure of the workload for officers in each beat, officials said, and attempts to make their workloads more equal. “It was determined that several beats were too much to handle by one police officer,” Turner said.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.