The Atlanta Beltline will receive its own police force called the Path Force Unit. The police force was announced Friday during a press conference headed by Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner.
The new officers, Atlanta Police Department (APD) patrol officers and mounted patrols, will keep an eye on the corridor’s parks, APD Lt. Jeff Baxter told the AJC.
The beltline unit, funded by a $1.8 million federal grant, has been patrolling the Beltline since June when high profile crimes started to happen near the trail.
“The police got onto it pretty quickly,” Kit Sutherland, president of the Fourth Ward Alliance, told the paper. “They did assign a new troop of officers and they are pretty vigilant. If I’m on the Beltline for 10 minutes, I will see either the mounted police or the police on bicycles.”
There have been 12 ADP reports since the first half of the Beltline opened in 2011 as of this week. Cases included six robberies, two assaults, one burglary of construction trailers and three larcenies.
All reports happened on the 2.25 mile Eastside Trail that opened in October. The Eastside Trail extends from 10th St. and Monroe Dr. in upper Midtown to Irwin St. in Old Fourth Ward.
“Whenever we have people being targeted, some action has to be taken,” Makeda Johnson, co-chair of the MLK Merchants Association told the AJC. “I don’t ride bikes but my children ride bikes, and I would like them to be able to use the Beltline.”