A future Brookhaven Police Department will likely mean a reduction in police officers in other departments, Atlanta’s deputy police chief said.
Deputy Chief Shawn Jones said during the Buckhead Business Association’s weekly breakfast meeting on Aug. 16 that the Atlanta Police Department saw an exodus of officers to the newly-formed police departments of Sandy Springs and Dunwoody.
Officers will likely do the same when Brookhaven’s police force is established, he said.
“They feel they have opportunities to rise up through the ranks quicker,” Jones said of officers who get jobs with newer cities.
DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader, who represents a majority of the new city, recently said that a governor’s commission that will help establish Brookhaven will work out an agreement with DeKalb County to provide services such as police and fire during the city’s start-up phase.
Not all new cities have created their own departments. Dunwoody, for example, still uses the DeKalb County Fire Department but there recently has been talk of creating an independent department there.
Oliver Porter, who was heavily involved in the formation of Sandy Springs, told potential Brookhaven city council candidates during an Aug. 11 forum that DeKalb County will likely play hardball in negotiations with the new city over police and fire services.
The creation of Brookhaven will remove revenue from DeKalb County’s budget, with some estimates saying it could be as much as $20 million.
Jones also talked about staffing levels in Atlanta’s Zone 2, which includes Buckhead. He said Zone 2 has about 120 officers now. He there is not an “authorized amount” of officers for precincts, comparing the police department with the military. He said the department will “shift troops to areas that may need them over time.”
He said the department three weeks ago provided eight more officers to Zone 2 and said more will be added as recruiting classes graduate.
Jones said the biggest crime issue in Buckhead right now is theft of property from automobiles.
“We promote a clean car campaign,” he said. “We try to encourage men and women to avoid leaving valuables in their cars when they park their cars.”
There have been no homicides in Buckhead this year, Jones said.
Another Buckhead issue: noise complaints from residents about local nightclubs.
Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell last year called nightclub owners to a meeting about the complaints, and he said the complaints have decreased.
Jones said the city is working on improving its noise ordinance. He said the department this week received six decibel meters that will be given to each zone.
He wasn’t sure why the coalition has received fewer complaints.
“I know the major in this area had some dialogue with some of those business owners,” Jones said.