Atlanta Police Chief George N. Turner

By Atlanta Police Chief, George N. Turner

Thanks to the concerned citizens in Zone 2 who attended a meeting on the Zone and Beat Realignment last month, and who continue to be interested in the future of public safety and the Atlanta Police Department’s plans.

We value your participation and input, and look forward to continuing to work with you to make the city a safer place. Your input has been valuable, and we appreciate all of the suggestions and proposals we have received.

The Zone and Beat Realignment was requested through City Council Resolution 10-R-0134 by Councilmember Michael Julian Bond. I formed a task force to develop this new plan.

The task force worked to formulate a plan to more evenly distribute the workload of the six zones and the beats inside of each of those zones. The methodology that was used for this plan was discussed in the Zone and Beat Realignment meeting, and can be accessed online at http://www.atlantapd.org/beatredistrict/2011/index.htm.

The reason for evenly distributing the workload is to allow each beat officer time to answer calls for service on their beat and to also be able to conduct self-initiated calls, whether they are quality of life arrests, drop-ins, traffic stops, or any other positive police actions.

Each zone has a similar workload and number of beats, and therefore the same number of “umbrella” cars – two per shift. Each Zone Commander has additional personnel, which we refer to as discretionary units, that they can add to a shift if necessary to assist the beat cars in handling calls for service.

Additionally, by making workloads more equal, the number of investigators is also more evenly distributed. I also have a plan in the new budget to develop a Domestic Violence Unit of Investigators to specifically investigate all domestic crimes in the city.

This will ensure thorough investigations and will assist these victims in getting all of the necessary services they need. Additionally, this will reduce the workload of all of the investigative units in the zones.

The plan began by formulating the workload for all of the city’s neighborhoods, and areas not specifically identified by a neighborhood, which totals well over 200. We then added 12 additional beats to ensure we would have better response times in each zone.

We rebuilt the beats based on the neighborhood’s workloads and natural boundaries. We have conducted several zone and beat realignments over the years and also had to move precincts for several different reasons – one of the reasons some of our precincts may not be centrally located in the zone.

Until the 1970s, all police cars throughout the city reported to the police headquarters located at 165 Decatur Street. The first zone plan in the 70s divided the city into five zones and dramatically changed the sizes of the beats at that time. We added Zone 6 in about 1983 and have had six zones since that time.

We are striving to conduct a Zone and Beat Realignment every three to four years so that we can keep up with the changing growth of the city and the changes in workloads.

In the meantime, I can assure you the APD will constantly be monitoring crime and public safety issues throughout the city to ensure that we our plan is working. Our zone commanders will make any adjustments they deem necessary to most effectively combat crime.

We would like to thank all of the City Council members, but particularly Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean, Councilwoman Felicia Moore, Councilman Howard Shook, and Councilman Alex Wan for attending the Zone 2 meeting, and for all they do for the city of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Department.

They have continually worked hard for their communities and the Atlanta Police Department to make the city a better and safer place. As mentioned, thank you for your input and please don’t hesitate to contact me or any member of the command staff.

George N. Turner is chief of the Atlanta Police Department.