Local police departments have begun fielding complaints about violations of pandemic emergency orders. Most say they have not issued citations yet.

People gathering in parks in violation of social-distancing orders have been a common concern in Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, say police officials.

Maj. Andrew Senzer, the commander of Buckhead’s Zone 2 Atlanta Police Department precinct, did not respond to questions about citations, but circulated an email March 25 about the issue in parks.

“As I drove around today, I observed that many of the parks and recreational facilities had fairly robust crowds, including individuals playing tennis,” Senzer wrote. “At the moment, we are imploring folks to follow the ‘rules,’ and are encouraging everyone to educate others and persuade others to practice social distancing best practices. I understand that these are difficult and strange times that we are experiencing, but I’m confident that we will all get through this if we work together.”

Sgt. David Snively of the Brookhaven Police Department said officers have responded to some complaints of businesses remaining open in violation of closure orders. “Everybody’s been compliant” when informed by officers about the orders, Snively said, and no citations have been issued.

Brookhaven city spokesperson Burke Brennan said the city has “recieved a number of tips” about violations, especially related to gatherings in city parks, but that the people are typically gone by the time officers arrive. Some complaints about businesses turn out to be ones that are exempt from emergency orders or in another jurisdiction, he said.

The Dunwoody Police Department has not issued any citations related to the emergency orders, according to spokesperson Sgt. Robert Parsons.

“We have received a few complaints that we’ve responded to, such as people using closed city park facilities… but no issues getting people to disperse,” Parsons said.

The Sandy Springs Police Department has had similar interactions, according to spokesperson Sgt. Salvador Ortega.

“We have educated people, particularly at city parks that the facilities are closed and that they cannot congregate,” he said. “So far everyone has been receptive about it and have complied.”

Ortega said he believes officers have not yet issued citations. He said residents have asked how to lodge complaints about violations and advises that the best number to call is the non-emergency call center at 404-843-6670.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.