Assistant Atlanta Police Chief Peter Andresen told members of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods that restructuring the department’s beats would not slow police response in their community.

Gordon Certain, the organization’s secretary, expressed concerns that expanding the size of Zone 2, which includes Buckhead, would require some officers to drive greater distances to answer calls.

“It’s inescapable that response time is going to be a problem,” Certain told BCN members at the organization’s May 12 meeting.

Andresen explained that the Atlanta Police Department increased the area covered by some zones and decreased the area in others to better handle the volume of calls.

“We’re trying to get every zone to have a similar workload,” Andresen said.

The Atlanta Police Department divides the city into six zones. Each zone contains an average of 11 beats.

Andresen said from July 2009 to June 2010, there were two shootings in Zone 2 and 21 shootings in Zone 1, illustrating the discrepancy between different areas of the city.

“The idea was to standardize the whole city with one plan,” Andresen said. “But every zone commander has the option of what to do with his personnel.”

Under the new plan, Zone 2 increased from 36.1 to 39.5 square miles and went from 10 to 13 beats.

“The main thing is every beat is staffed every day,” Andresen said. “If (an officer) is doing less, he’ll be able to travel more.”

Andresen said the city is also adding new officers.

“We’re on schedule to graduate a new academy class every two months,” Andresen said. “We’re hiring to meet and exceed … and to get ahead of the mayor’s plan of 100 new officers.”