The center of Buckhead is the intersection of West Paces Ferry Road and Peachtree Street. It was also where Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and the Atlanta Police Department unveiled a new precinct for the Buckhead Community on Thursday, January 13.
Dickens was joined by Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant and Major Andrew Senzer, the Buckhead Coalition, the Buckhead Community Improvement District and Cousins Property.
The purpose of this new precinct located in Zone 2 will provide residents with a more secure environment, help with traffic calls, patrol neighborhoods and create backup for other Atlanta Police in the area. The precinct will begin with 11 officers on the beat and increase over time. Dickens stated that it will not be fully operational until Summer 2022 at the latest.
What our studies show was our officers were primarily responding to traffic accidents. And that took away from their ability to patrol in the area,” Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant explained. “So when we created this new precinct, we recognized that they needed a traffic component that would help alleviate some of the issues that the patrol officers were facing.”
Many believe the opening of this precinct was in retaliation of the Buckhead City movement which claims Atlanta’s wealthiest neighborhood must break away from Georgia’s capital city due to rising crime and safety concerns. However, Mayor Dickens disagrees and reassures citizens that his main focus is to keep everyone safe.
“We are not going to go to bed at night feeling that we have not done all that we could throughout that day to make sure that one one person in Buckhead, one more person across Atlanta believes in this series of togetherness,” Dickens emphasized.
Major Andrew Senzer of APD is excited for the growth within the Department and looks forward to the new additions bringing relief to his officers and reducing crime.
“Calls take a tremendous amount of time and require commitment from our police officers,” Senzer said. “Those are lost opportunities for crime fighting, for patrolling, and going out to do good police work. When we have additional resources that can help mitigate the traffic stops, it’ll free up beat officers to patrol the neighborhoods, to be more proactive and hopefully reduce crime even more.”.
Dickens did not neglect the fact that crime needs attention everywhere and is participating in ride-alongs to ensure police have everything they need to keep communities safe.
“This is us making sure that Major Senzer has the tools that he needs in this area,” Dickens continued to address that this is not the only area in need of a new precinct. “It is also about going back South and looking at what they need.”
Reassurement was present as Dickens stated that this project would be a minimal cost to the city.
Jim Durrett, the Executive Director of Buckhead Community Improvement District and the President of the Buckhead Coalition is committed to a donation of $150,000 of tenant improvements, according to Mayor Dickens.
Dickens looks to see more contributions from other businesses looking to donate to the cause.
“We would love all the contributions and donations and support of the business community,” Dickens said.
Colin Connolly, President and CEO of Cousins Properties, and member of the Buckhead Coalition praised Atlanta Police and Mayor Dickens for their efforts to address Buckhead’s concerns.
There will be an increase in resources for the Police Department over the next few weeks as Dickens also announced the unveiling of Recruitment Housing located in the Vine City and English Avenue area for students in the Police Academy. This housing is a partnership with the Atlanta Police Department and the Atlanta Police Foundation.
Chief Bryant believes the new Police Academy and Training Center will have a positive impact on those that matriculate through the program.
“I think this is a big deal for us to be able to do. We get so many police officers from across the country and a lot of times they struggle,” Bryant said. He believes this will give the Department an opportunity to address the lack of housing amongst incoming officers and give their families a sense of security.”