The City of Atlanta recently launched a program to enhance public safety on the Atlanta BeltLine and connecting PATH trails. Mayor Kasim Reed and Police Chief George Turner introduced a team of officers on bicycles as the Path Force Unit, charged with patrolling the Atlanta BeltLine Trail and many of the BeltLine connector trails PATH is building.
The unit is funded by a federal grant which requires that the officers in the unit be veterans who served in the military after September 11, 2001. This requirement means the officers on path patrol are seasoned officers who have completed years of military service. The officers will patrol seven days a week along the Eastside Trail, the Tanyard Park Trail (aka the Northside BeltLine), and the recently completed Southwest BeltLine Connector Trail. Patrols will also be added for any new segments of the BeltLine completed and future connecting BeltLine Trails.
“We are proud to take responsibility for helping to keep its users safe”, said Chief Turner. “Our officers will be highly visible and responsive on these trails”, he said.
Trail users have reacted favorably to seeing uniformed officers on the trail. “They really give me a secure feeling while jogging on the trail,” said June Black, a frequent user of the Tanyard Park Trail.
The unit will soon have off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles for patrolling the parks and greenspace connected to the BeltLine. Chief Turner is exploring the possibility of adding an electric powered vehicle to the mix.
The Path Force Unit will be based at the Lofts at Reynoldstown Crossing on Memorial Drive. Atlanta BeltLine and PATH will be extending the Eastside BeltLine Trail across DeKalb Avenue to Reynoldstown Crossing next year.