ATLANTA (CW69 News at 10) — The Atlanta Police Department will soon open a new police precinct in Buckhead. During an announcement ceremony on Thursday, Mayor Andre Dickens said opening the new APD Zone 2 Precinct is just one step the city is taking to reduce crime.
“It is impossible to overstate just how important this new precinct is,” Dickens said. “It is of paramount concern to me to stop this crime wave that we have in our city.”
“The growth that we’re seeing in Buckhead exceeds what we’re seeing in other areas, and that’s why we’re initiating this effort here first,” said Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant. He said the police force is starting with a dozen officers and plan to add more.
APD Zone 2 Commander Major Andrew Senzer confirmed the precinct will handle mostly traffic calls in order to free up other officers to fight crime.
“It all comes down to results at the end of the year. Are we reducing crime? Do we have the resources,” Senzer said. “On any given day, the service population of this area doubles in size, with people coming to work, coming to visit our bars, our restaurants. Close to 50% of our calls are traffic-related.”
The city has signed a 10-year lease with Cousins Properties for the location.
“This year is about new leadership and real solutions to real problems,” said the company’s CEO Colin Connolly.
Jim Durrett is the Buckhead Coalition’s CEO and the executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District (CID), which are collectively contributing $150,000 to the project. “This is a shining example of how to come together, to unite, to solve our problems in the Buckhead Community and throughout Atlanta,” he said.
“This is motivated by the need to fight and deter crime in this particular area. It’s not motivated by the Buckhead City Movement at all,” Dickens said, regarding efforts in Buckhead to secede from Atlanta.
A pair of bills in the General Assembly could allow the city to separate and become its own city. Dickens, however, remains doubtful.
Buckhead city supporters disagree with Dickens.
“This really was a photo-op to try to convince Buckhead that this is some miraculous number of police coming in,” said Buckhead City Committee Chairman and CEO Bill White, referencing APD’s plans to start with 12 officers.
“We prefer 25 more cops than paying rent on a building in Buckhead,” he said. “We are very pleased with the forward process of our Buckhead City bills, and we are grateful for the Georgia Legislature for considering putting this on the ballot on November 8, 2022.”
During his speech, Dickens reiterated his stance on the matter, saying, “We will be one city, with one bright future.”
He says lawmakers have been receptive to his message. Dickens also said he’s addressing recruitment efforts and patrol cars issues with officers, and he’s open to potential officer pay raises in the future.
The city plans to open the new precinct by the summer.