BeltLine Path Force to Come Online in Spring of 2013

'We're in the process' of putting the team together.

The Atlanta Police Department anticipates it will have its Path Force fully staffed and ready to begin patrols of the Atlanta BeltLine in the first or second quarter of next year.

Speaking to a meeting of Neighborhood Planning Unit-M this week, Deputy Chief Ernest N. Finley Jr. said APD is currently looking to fill the 15 slots.

The unit is being formed via a three-year $1.87 million federal Community Oriented Policing Services grant, which also calls for the city to contribute $966,075 in additional matching funds.

The grant is enough to fund and create 15 positions. A grant requirement stipulates that the city hire military veterans, and APD has said it would pull from existing officers to staff the Path Force.

APD announced the creation of the Path Force in June, which it said would be dedicated to patrolling and serving as a crime deterrent on the Atlanta BeltLine.

The BeltLine is a 33-mile loop of trails and 1,200 acres of greenspace, that, when complete, will create a loop of park space around the city.

Residents who live off the area of the BeltLine known as the Eastside Trail,which includes Old Fourth Ward, are happy the trail is open, but have expressed a desire for a concrete crime prevention plan.

Kit Sutherland, president of the Fourth Ward Alliance, a neighborhood association that represents a portion of the Old Fourth Ward, reiterated that point to Finley.

Having the BeltLine come online is wonderful for the community and visitors alike, but she said it's imperative to show would-be hooligans that there will be a strong law enforcement presence on the BeltLine.

Indeed the new skate park in Old Fourth Ward was recently vandalized and Sutherland said she wanted the Path Force in place to address problems.

"You've got to get them before it becomes a trend," Sutherland said.

In addition to patrolling the BeltLine, those assigned to the Path Force will be tasked with working with BeltLine leaders, city departments and representatives of the 45 neighborhoods that the BeltLine will touch to develop crime prevention and safety strategies.


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Chris H November 29, 2012 at 04:10 PM
TV report on the incidents. http://virginia-highland.11alive.com/news/news/145660-trouble-beltline Bottom line...stay off the trails at dusk and at night until more cops and lighting arrive. And hopefully one day emergency call boxes. But enjoy it during the day!
Tammy November 29, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Or just don't bring your phone or anything of value. I know, it seems so strange but people did it for hundreds of years.
GH November 30, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Soon to be known as the crimebelt way.
Ms. November 30, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Sure if you're going out for a mile run, but for any length of time (bike ride, long run), you need your ID, and possibly a phone. I've got a semi-plan. This really only works for females, but I keep my ID and debit card tucked in my sports bra. I never have anything loud, and I use a small visible $80 shuffle, if anyone asks me to turn anything over, that's what they'll get. My phone is tucked away next to my body. And of none of that works, it just wasn't my day.
Sam December 05, 2012 at 09:44 PM
It sucks that something like the beltline, which was built to promote recreation, health, leisure and HELPING THE CITY, turns into a playground for theft.


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