By Chris Newman
Recent events have drawn attention to the Zone 3 precinct building here in Grant Park. Why is this precinct located here when the officers staffed there do not serve the Grant Park community? For almost ten years now this has caused confusion for neighbors when they go to that office to file a report or discuss other police matters.
In 2010-2011, the Atlanta Police Department commissioned an analysis of calls for service and response times throughout the city. The city is divided geographically into six zones. Each zone is subdivided into beats and each zone has about 10-12 beats. At that time, the Grant Park neighborhood was located in Zone 3 and the main precinct offices were located on Cherokee Avenue. Additional offices for investigators (who handle incidents such as robbery, burglary, and auto theft) are located at the community center near Lakewood Avenue. A recent analysis also identified additional problems with police coverage and two beats from Zone 2 were relocated to Zone 6.
The study showed that Grant Park would be better served by the officers from Zone 6. Grant Park is now known as Beat 605. The study also showed that several neighborhoods to the south near Moreland Avenue and McDonough Boulevard which were served by Zone 6 should be moved to Zone 3.
So why does the Zone 3 precinct remain in the neighborhood? Several years ago, voters in the city approved a bond initiative to be used for construction or renovation/upgrade of public safety buildings in the city; fire stations and a new police precinct building were on the project list.
Following the approval of the construction bonds, a site on Metropolitan Parkway near I-85 was identified and purchased for a new Zone 3 building. Design and engineering were contracted and construction of the new building is underway. Projections indicate that the building should be ready as early as later this year.
Chris Newman is Public Safety Committee Chair of the Grant Park Neighborhood Association.