As a result of months of meticulous planning – our Zone 6 changed boundary lines at 3 a.m. Tuesday – resulting in Amsterdam Avenue being the northern boundary of Zone 6, with our neighbors north of this street now being in Zone 2. At the same time Zone 6 welcomed much of the Old 4th Ward and Grant Park into its district. See the new city-wide changes as well as our new Zone 6 changes here. Our Amsterdam Avenue Street Captains will now have residents in two Zones.
Our Major Dalton responded to this challenge by creating a new unit specifically to address problems in the Old 4th Ward/ Boulevard area consisting of 8 Officers, a Sergeant and a Lieutenant. He emphasized that this new unit was created by additional personnel added to the Zone, so no resources were shifted from existing Beats. He stated to me – “Of course, decreasing crime (both on the newly acquired beats and the old beats) is the goal. When we decrease crime in the Old 4th Ward, it will have a positive impact on crime in nearby neighborhoods, both in Zone 6 and Zone 5.”
Two of the men in this newly formed unit are our former A Sector supervisor, Sergeant Sokloski, and our former evening watch patrolman, Officer Woolfolk. Officer Woolfolk proudly sent me this report on 12/15 after just two days on his new assignment – ” I took two convicted felons with firearms and drugs off the street tonight on Boulevard. My unit made 6 arrests in three hours yesterday and another 6 tonight. We also received some very good information from one of the arrestees. Our goal is to turn the tide on Boulevard and we are off to a great start.”
Officer Woolfolk sent me this farewell message as he moved into his new assignment by saying – ” I would like to thank you and the VaHi community for welcoming me in addition to giving me an opportunity to serve such a wonderful, dedicated and at times, even pugnacious group of people when it comes to keeping the Highland neighborhood safe. The experience has truly been invaluable and I will carry the lessons I’ve learned with me the duration of my career, as the VaHi community strengthened my understanding of community oriented policing and ultimately facilitated in making me a more well-rounded officer. It’s been an absolute pleasure serving as your beat officer each and every day.” I guess that one of the “pugnacious” folks he is referring to is the resident who went on a rampage with his vehicle last July on Arlington Place, Rosedale Drive and North Highland Avenue.
Our new evening watch man is Officer Lightkep and he wrote to tell me – ” Officer Cooper persuaded me long ago that this was the best community in Atlanta and ever since that conversation I have been trying to become the VaHi Beat Officer. I have filled in for Woolfolk and Cooper many times. I’m still technically a rookie as I am coming up on one year of service in January. In my short tenure I have over 80 arrests, ten of them for felonies, and just recently received Officer of the Week for nabbing the perps who stole the camera from the vehicle on Bonaventure Avenue (this was in the last Safety Team Report). I am becoming very familiar with the homeless/drug crowd that likes to hang out on PDL Avenue. I plan to actively patrol Ponce in efforts to keep them from wandering into the community, where they just can’t seem to resist looking into cars and knocking on doors. I look forward to policing in your community and establishing a healthy relationship with the people in it.”
We have been blessed by having diligent officers in the all-important evening watch period – starting with Officer Cooper, continuing with Officer Woolfolk and now with Officer Lightkep. Incidents in this evening watch time period are down dramatically from just a few years ago – thanx to these exceptional Officers, and to the expansion of the FBAC to the southern part of the neighborhood.