Buckhead, Georgia, Residents Elect to Pay for Off-Duty Police

Buckhead, Georgia, residents confronted the reality that tax-payer funded police protection was inadequate for providing a sense of safety and comfort in their community. The residents elected to pay for additional protection with their own funds.

Buckhead residents are increasing the scope and reach of public safety by “opening their wallets to pay off-duty police officers to patrol the area.” As reported, nearly half a million dollars has been raised. The Buckhead residents decided that determining whether city funding was adequate or whether city hall was competent did not advance their safety. They decided to pay for enhanced safety themselves.

Citizens and businesses raised money through private dollars to hire off-duty officers to patrol strategic sectors of Buckhead. “Nearly half a million dollars will be allocated for off-duty Atlanta police officers that will provide comprehensive coverage specifically at and around the retail corridors.” That is where Chief Darin Schierbaum says crime often occurs, where citizens frequent restaurants, shop and gas up their vehicles. “In addition to the contributions for officers, the Atlanta Police Foundation purchased cruisers.”

A two-minute video, here, describes the strategic use of the privately-funded police patrols. The “patrols will focus around the retail spots where people gather and shop and focus on gas stations.” The video content acknowledges that “no area in Atlanta is crime free,” and at least some residents in Buckhead feel unsafe “when dark.”

The patrol, as disclosed in the FOX 5 Atlanta video, will “be nearby when we are shopping,” explained one or more advocates for the privately-funded patrols of off-duty police officers. The belief is that crime will be deterred by enhanced presence and visibility of police and patrol cars. Buckhead’s private funding endeavor will not be inexpensive, generating some estimates of annual costs to be over one-half million dollars.

As reported, “the paid off-duty cops will have full arrest powers.” Mimi Maslia, a Buckhead resident, declared: “I think it will be a success.” Coordinator Debra Wathen of the Buckhead Safety Alliance said “there is enough cash on hand to run patrols for nearly a year.” Wathen stated she will try to raise more dollars so service is not interrupted.

D & B Staff

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Episode 123