ATLANTA — A brand new police precinct opened in the heart of Buckhead on Thursday. The unveiling of the facility comes just a day after Mayor Andre Dickens said to a crowd of lawmakers and state leaders that he didn't have much time to head off a Buckhead City referendum.
Mayor Dickens stood by his stance during a press conference Thursday that the creation of the new precinct is motivated purely by an increase in crime and population.
"This is motivated by the need to fight and deter crime in this particular area, this is not motivated by the Buckhead city movement at all," said Mayor Dickens.
According to proponents for Buckhead City, crime has been a major factor in the push to break off the Atlanta neighborhood from the rest of city.
“This is about making sure people are safe. This is the real work. This is making sure that our Major has the tools that he needs in this area," added Dickens.
Leaders said they expect the precinct to be fully up and running by the summer. The mayor would not specify a total cost for the project, but said that the city was welcoming donations and the Buckhead Coalition had already committed $150,000.
Meanwhile, Atlanta Police officials said the precinct will mainly serve as a traffic response center in order to free-up the beat officers to respond to higher priority calls. The chief of police added that the other reason for the creation of the facility is to due to the exponential amount of growth that the area has seen recently.
“The growth that we’re seeing in Buckhead far exceeds what we’re seeing in any other part of the city. And that is why we’re initiating this effort here first," Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant explained.
The Zone 2 commander over the precinct, Major Andrew Senzer, reiterated similar statements, adding "the service population of this area doubles in size with people coming to work and when they visit our bars and our restaurants.”
The real estate company Cousins' Properties is donating the space to the department which is located in the One Buckhead Plaza building on West Paces Ferry Road.