BUCKHEAD COUNCIL OF NEIGHBORHOODS
September 9, 2021 Meeting Minutes
Zoom Meeting: 6:00 – 7:00 pm
6:00 – 6:02 Debra Wathen – Vice Chair
6:02 – 6:05 Gordon Certain, Secretary – Adoption of Minutes
6:05 – 6:25 2021 Debra Wathen and Sally Riker Elections – Get-Out-The-Vote, Early Voting locations, and timeline Request for Poll Workers and Poll Watchers
6:25 – 6:45 Public Safety Major Andrew Senzer – APD Zone 2 Commander
6:45 – 6:50 Tony Peters – BCID/BC – Update on Buckhead Security Plan
6:50 – 7:00 Zoning – Single Family Residential Task Force Gloria Cheatham and & Nina Schwartz
6:50 – 7:00 Adjourn
As reported on the next pages, the participation in our BCN meeting was once again very strong. Our September meeting had 208 registered participants and online viewers.
Mary Norwod – BCN Chair
Mary Norwood: Debra Wathen is going to run the meeting tonight. I will be an observer. When we set this up in July, I didn’t know if I would have competition. I thought it was not appropriate for me to be organizing a meeting where I might be a participant in it. So Debra’s leading it for that reason. We had over a hundred people who signed up to register for the meeting. So should be a great meeting and thank you, Debra, for putting it together. Rick, thank you for providing invaluable technical expertise.
Can everyone please mute yourself if you are not speaking? And the easiest way to unmute is to press the spacebar. There are several people who are not muted, and it starts interfering with how well the sound is transmitted.
I think we may just be able to ask everybody to mute from time to time and most everybody can figure that out. We should be okay.
Debra Wathen – BCN Vice Chair
Debra Wathen: It’s after 6:00 so we can start our meeting. Hello, everybody. I want to thank you all for joining us. I’m Debra Wathen and I’m your Vice chair and I’m filling in for Mary tonight. Mary is joining us, but she recently had some minor skin treatments recommended by her doctor and she’s not looking her best. So we’re glad Mary is taking care of herself. We need her to.
We want to congratulate Mary as well as Howard Shook as presumptive winners of their races in District 8 and District 7. Since they have no opponent running against them, we presume them to be the winner. Mary, however, will not be leaving as our Chair of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, which we are so excited and grateful about, we love her leadership. And she still feels through the end of the year, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. She is all in and getting it done. So, thank you, Mary, for hanging in there with us and getting that work done.
So, we also want to give a shout-out to Katie Howard. Katie has been the backbone of the district 8 office. We all know Katie, and she is running for School Board in her district. And it’s not a Buckhead district, but we want to show her our support, so “Go Katie!”.
And I also want to say if you’re interested in some good food and drink, we want you to check out The Taste of Buckhead. It’s sponsored by the Buckhead Business Association. It’s Thursday, October 21st. Their website is easy, it’s http://tasteofbuckhead.org. So let’s support the Buckhead Business Association as well.
And the last announcement I have is that the City of Buckhead Feasibility Study is about to come out and it will be on their website. I know so many people have said they’re interested in getting that information. I wanted to let you know that I think Tuesday is the day that it will be on their website. So having said all of that, I’m going to turn this over to Gordon to for the minutes, to be approved.
Gordon Certain – BCN Secretary – Adoption of Minutes
Gordon Certain: Our last meeting was in May, and we had two main topics. One of them was the City of Buckhead proposal, pro and con. And the other dealt with the zoning changes that were contemplated affecting our area. We had a good turnout for that meeting. Our minutes were 21 pages long. They’re on the front page of the website right now for you to look at, if you haven’t read them already, but I am asking for approval for those minutes. Please vote for approval.
Debra Wathen: Can we approve them without objection? Since so many people are muted.
Gordon Certain: I think we could do that. So the second thing was about the main meeting. We ran out of time to consider the March meeting. Can we approve them, too?
Debra Wathen: And then we will move to approve them the same way. All right. Thanks Gordon. All minutes are approved.
2021 Debra Wathen and Sally Riker Elections – Get-Out-The-Vote, Early Voting locations, and timeline Request for Poll Workers and Poll Watchers
Debra Wathen: Our first topic really, for the evening is we wanted to talk about the importance of this upcoming city election. We all know how important it is, and how important it is for Buckhead residents to get out and vote, and have our voices heard in this election. And so we have some information that Sally Riker has been working on some get out the vote information. So Sally would you like to tell people what you’ve been doing?
Sally Riker: Thank you, Debra, and hello everybody. I’m Sally Riker. I am the President of the Mount Paran Northside Citizens Association. We are in the northwest corner of Buckhead, and I developed this Buckhead Counts Campaign out of a true love for the community for Buckhead and for Atlanta. As you know, right now we’re faced with a lot of challenges, and I also feel like right now where we are public trust is at an all-time low. So I feel like we really need to get people engaged again and in a positive way. So as you see this is a sign campaign, a digital flyer campaign that that is developed here, called Buckhead Counts and the things that hopefully, this campaign will do, will be to increased awareness in our community of the upcoming election, turnout, which is typically and historically, very low. And it’s very low throughout Atlanta. And then to do something positive rather than always negative. So, to re-engage, folks, with a positive impact, so many of you have, maybe, received letters from Nina Schwartz. She’s been helping me with some of the outreach to some of the other neighborhood presidents and leaders and we’ve been reaching out to them to sell bundles of signs. So, what you’ll see (next page) is, these signs will be that top half of the sign that says, Buckhead counts, vote, November 2nd, and I initially thought, oh, we’re just going to sell a hundred, but we’ve been selling them in bundles of 9, 5, and 15. So far, I think we’re up to about a hundred and seventy-five signs. Hoping to get up to 200. Single signs are also available.
Contact Sally at email@example.com for information on getting signs and flyers. Some of you have already started receiving them because I’ve been dropping them off late at night on your porches and I still have some more deliveries to do, and I think Nina is also going to help me with that. Think about where you would place these signs. Again, we’re trying to create awareness for the important vote and talk about with your neighbors. So think about high traffic corridors, places where there’s a lot of foot traffic, and place the signs there. We have less than 60 days to create this awareness. In addition to the signs, we’ve created a digital flyer. And I’ve created this in all different formats and MPNCA is actually using this digital flyer to push out information. All of these flyers are available to you all to push out to your own neighborhood. I tried to make it really simple, so it wasn’t overly complicated. These are QR codes that you scan with your phone. So there’s one for an absentee ballot, one for early voting options, where to vote the same day and then to become a poll worker. So, trying to keep it simple.
In addition, what actually we’re doing with our newsletter is we’re going to push out candidate information as well. And I see some questions about my organization. I’m a neighborhood president in Buckhead for the Mount Paran Northside Citizens Association. I took this on as a challenge because voter turnout is typically low, and we need to show that we care and to re-engage with Atlanta. And as you know, every vote counts. And I put “Your vote is your voice.” And yes, you can purchase individual yard signs and I’ll have them. If you would pick them up at my house, that would be great. But overall, again, this is to create awareness, increase voter turnout, and to do something positive for the City of Atlanta. So, thank you so much, and I hope that you all will participate in the campaign.
Note: BCN established Election Central 2021 on its website. It includes materials covered above plus links to candidates’ campaign videos and campaign websites and other election information.
Debra Wathen: Sally, I really appreciate that. I also want to point out that this election, you have so many different opportunities to vote. It’s not just a mayoral race. It’s not just your City Council President. We have lots of votes that we get to cast.
- There are three citywide at-large posts: Post One, Two, and Three that that everyone in the city votes for and it’s important to understand that you also have your own City Council District where you get to vote.
- And then there’s the School Board which I consider to be hugely important because they’re the future. And you’ll have your School Board District candidate as well as three more at-large candidates to vote for.
So, that’s a lot of votes that you get to cast, and we really want people to know and understand who the candidates are. We think it’s important that you do your homework and do your research and look into each and every one of them. We have been working on a campaign here where we have asked all the candidates that we just described to send in videos and talk directly to Buckhead and tell us why they should get our vote. And it was hugely widely received, because I think all candidates understand the opportunity to speak to Buckhead, because we are a large number. If we get out and vote, we can make a difference. So, on Monday or Tuesday on our website, you’ll be able to go there and see a list of those candidates and be able to listen to their videos, side by side. And we’ll have links to their websites. We also have on our website a Buckhead voter’s guide called Election Central 2021. It really lays out all the information you need. A lot of this is on Sally’s signs, if you know how to do those QR codes; and if you don’t, we’ll be happy to teach you.
If you vote on Election Day, the polls will be open from 7 to 8 and your precincts are all listed here in the Voting Guide. We also have “How to Vote.” Early voting which starts October 12. There are two weekends that you can vote, both the 16th and 17th, Saturday, and Sunday, and the 23rd and 24th. So, if you have a hard time getting to the polls during the week, you can get there on the weekend. Our next page explains how to get an absentee ballot and all of these links are on Sally’s signs, so you can just shine your camera on that QR code, and it’ll take you right to these links.
There are three Buckhead Early Voting sites: the Buckhead Library, the Chastain Park Rcreation Center, and the Northside Library. And if you have an absentee ballot, you can actually drop that off at the Buckhead Library.
Our last page talks about working as a poll worker. I’d like to say a few words about that because it’s one day of your life. And I think it’s something that will be a huge learning experience for you and it’s a paid position. If you’re a poll worker, you have to do a few hours of training and then you work that day at the polls, and they won’t guarantee you to do a few hours of that you can work at any particular precinct, but they’re going to try their best to keep you as close to home as possible. So they really would appreciate anybody who wants to become a poll worker. They need as many as they can get, and we really want people to get the correct information about how to vote. And it’s a special job. You can also serve as a poll watcher and campaigns will contact you about that, as well as you can contact The Fulton County Board of Elections. So just give it a thought and think about giving up that one day, because it’s really important work and we’d like to see everyone come out and help.
We can definitely move on to our next topic which is really on the foremost of all of our minds, and that’s crime in Buckhead. And we have Major Senzer here who’s going to speak to us. And then we have Tony Peters from the Buckhead Coalition and Buckhead CID, and he has graciously decided to give us an update on what’s going on with the Buckhead Security Plan.
Major Andrew Senzer – APD Zone 2 Precinct Commander
Major Andrew Senzer: Good evening, everybody. I’m Andrew Senzer. For the past two years, I’ve been honored and privileged to be your Atlanta Police Zone 2 Commander. It’s still one of the most challenging assignments that I’ve had my 26 years with the Atlanta Police Department. I tell people that being a commander up here is like dog years. So, in reality, I think like I’ve worked 14 years in this assignment, but you guys keep me on my toes.
We’ve had a lot of challenges over the past couple years. I think we’re making some strides in the right direction with crime. Overall, if you look at our Part 1 crimes: if you compare us to 2019, our bottom numbers in the black compared to 2019, which was pre-COVID, pre-civil unrest, and our last normal year.
We’re also trending down for late compared to last year as well. I think, right now we’re at plus 8. And we’re projected to finish at minus 5, which is a fantastic thing. So the officers of the Zone 2 Precinct and all the other units that support us over here, including our state and other local partners outside of APD have been doing a fantastic job.
In spite of all the challenges lately, there’s been so many things to be excited about. I can’t thank everyone enough, who called in, spoke with their Council Members, sent emails, left messages in support of the new Public Safety Training Center. This is, in my opinion, the single most important thing that’s going to impact Public Safety in Atlanta well into the future. We want to attract our best and brightest candidates. We all know that we need more people, and the best and brightest have a choice. So we need a shining beacon of professionalism and a place where we can practice best practices Nationwide, and come together and do what we need to do to be world-class.
I spoke at the Citizens Police Academy recently and I see a couple of folks here that are in there. Tim Robinson, I saw you on here. And I said, this is one of those professions that is constantly evolving. You don’t just get out of the Academy, and you have learned all you need to learn. Even myself, we’re constantly students of our craft, and training is the most important thing and influences everything that we do both on the police and fire side. So thank you.
I see Councilmember Dickens. Thank you, sir, for your support. By far, the best thing to happen this year to public safety.
Another thing that boosted morale is working with our new Fulton County DA, Madame DA Willis. That partnership, as well as working with Sheriff Pat Labat, has been tremendous. Those Partnerships are already paying dividends and, in my opinion, it’s stronger than it’s ever been. So that’s extremely important as we tackle crime on all fronts.
Something else to be extremely excited about is the new West Village Precinct. If you haven’t heard Chief Bryant came out at one of the recent press conferences and announced that we will be setting up a mini precinct in the West Village area.
When you look at the sheer numbers, the population of Buckhead, the number of calls for service – The real estate that our officers have to cover and the traffic that we have to navigate – When you do a comparative analysis between those two beats in that area: 206 and 208, and you compare it to, let’s say, Midtown. The numbers are very compelling. And, when the Chief looked at that, he understood that we need additional resources in this area. Our transient population within this beat cluster doubles during the week. And so we need the additional support. I’m excited and we’re looking to have this staffed up with 24 additional officers by the summer of 2022. So, as someone who’s commanding this Precinct, those are going to be game changers for me, that’ll free up our beat officers to be more proactive and to handle some of the other issues that we’re facing. So that’s extremely exciting.
We also pulled the trigger with a four-man bicycle unit in the Piedmont-Morosgo-Lindbergh area. There’s so many quality-of-life issues over there related to homeless; we have a mix of crime, violent crime, property crimes. You know, I just don’t like pulling people off of the watches to just have a discretionary unit, but we did it. It’s been fantastic. The officers have made arrests and diversions and the business owners and the community in that area have already showed their positive feedback and appreciation for having those four officers in that challenged space.
And then, of course, our Partnerships with the BCID. They funded additional bike units along the Village area and the 3200-3500 block of Peachtree. And that unit has been a game changer for us, in helping us mitigate property crimes, like car break-ins. And just being a visible presence in that space, as well as the three marked Patrol units, that we have working the area. And we leverage those units to help us tackle some of the issues in our Entertainment Districts at night. Our focus this summer was to pay close attention to our entertainment districts because most of the violent crime that we see either involves people coming to, going from, or at these establishments. So, having that presence in that area helps us with that challenge as well.
Debra Wathen: Major Senzer, maybe we can just put some questions in the chat if they have them and then we can come back and read them out to you. So if you have a question for Major Senzer, put that in the chat, and Major, if you have the time we will come back and answer some. We can tell that you put your heart and soul into taking care of us. So, thank you. Thank you. I also want to thank Councilmember Westmoreland. I see he’s on here as well–for his vote for the Public Safety Training Center. So, thank you sir.
Tony Peters – BCID/BC – Update on Buckhead Security Plan
Tony Peters: I first want to say thank you so much for the offer to come speak with you all. I have been reminded in this past year and a half the true mission of the Buckhead Community Improvement District. We were formed 20 years ago mainly back then to address Peachtree Road and its inefficiencies to move cars, people, bikes, and pedestrians and you’ve noticed that we’ve done our best with that.
But since the summer of 2020, obviously the phrase “community improvement” has taken on a whole really new meaning for what the Buckhead CID decides to spend time and resources on, and obviously, in light of the events of the last year and a half, it became abundantly clear to us that our time and resources needed to – not shift away from investing in transportation improvements and finding better ways to get folks to and from Buckhead – but really to determine where to put resources and time.
So back in March of 2020, Major Senzer and the Buckhead CID had a very open dialogue about what could we do and it was determined back then that we would start a partnership between APD Zone 2 and the Atlanta Police Foundation to prop up what we call a supplemental Patrol that would really focus on the problem areas at the time. To supplement Major Senzer’s shift officers to be able to deter, to be present, and be able to find ways to assist him where needed, so fast forward to today on September 9, 2021, we now have three officers who work every Tuesday through Sunday.
Two of them work from 6:00 PM to 2 AM. The third one works from 8 PM to 4 AM We have purchased three co-branded APD Police cruisers. Two of them are currently in use because we’ve taken them from the production line. The third one is caught up with the chip issue, so that will come in time. And obviously, Major Senzer supplements the third vehicle with his fleet in Zone 2.
Back in March of 2020, the Pharr Road area was the obvious place that Major Senzer wanted these officers to spend the most time to really be able to deter and show presence. We speak often, obviously and we, of course, asked him his opinion of what the success is of that. And we rely upon his opinion, his data, and his facts for those assurances and we’re so pleased that our investment has put a huge dent in the Pharr Road problem. From what it was in March of 2020 to what it is today. Obviously, as time goes on, new problem areas pop-up. So now we have shifted some attention to the Roswell Road, Cain’s Hill, Irby Avenue area of Buckhead and continue, of course up and down the Peachtree Corridor around the Lenox and Phipps area. I just wanted to showcase to you all what we feel as though the effectiveness of our investment with this, effectiveness of Major Senzer being at the helm of Zone 2 to use these supplemental patrols to his advantage, to really make a dent and find ways to help wherever we can. All this really started back in March of 2020 when the Buckhead CID and the Buckhead Coalition partnered with the Atlanta Police Foundation to develop, what’s called a Buckhead Security Plan. And today about a million and a half dollars has been committed to go towards key components of that plan that include the supplemental patrol, a bike patrol that CID funds, and also the CCT TV cameras and LPR license plate readers around Buckhead as well. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the thank you to Councilman Matzigkeit, Councilman Westmoreland and Councilman Shook for their combined $125,000 investment in the Buckhead Security Plan.
About four months ago, we were with Major Senzer, and we asked, “What else do you need?” And I’m not sure if all of you know this but apparently Major Senzer used to be on a bike when he was a foot officer back in the day, and he was regaling us about the effectiveness of that. And wouldn’t it be great if we could find a way to revitalize that again here in Buckhead? Specifically, to address auto larceny deterrents in our parking decks for the hotels, office condos, and the residential towers as well.
So about four months ago, we propped up a four-unit bike patrol that operates in the Buckhead core area. They work from 10 AM To 6 PM Monday through Friday. They carry around some newly designed BCID bike patrol business cards that they give to anybody that will take one and also mainly the security officers that work in the parking decks.
And the feedback we have gotten has been really great as it relates to the fact that these officers who chose to do this, a) have to be bike certified and b) they want to be the type of officer who engages people on the street. And, it takes a different type of officer who truly wants to engage residents, employees, the workers and visitors of Buckhead while they’re on their bike up and down Peachtree, Lenox, Piedmont down to the Charlie Loudermilk Park in that area of Pharr Cain’s Hill, Irby and East Andrews. So we have been once again, incredibly pleased that whenever we have a dialogue with APD Zone 2 and Major Senzer and his team, when we talk about, what do you need? And by the way, we’ve formed a rapport now, we don’t have to always ask that all the time. We’re pleased that this and the supplemental. patrols are the biggest components of the 1.5 million Buckhead Security Plan.
I do want to mention that a bigger part of that – that you don’t see all the time – are the 24 closed circuit television cameras and license plate readers that are fed into the Operation Shield Video Integration Center for the city of Atlanta’s police department. And I think you’ve heard stories by now about how those cameras and those license plate readers are truly a game changer to aid and assist APD in apprehending folks who do damage to our area. And I think that we all can agree that that has been a great investment and we will continue to do that with this Buckhead Security Plan. In fact, 25 more cameras are slated to be installed before the end of the year.
Debra Wathen: Thank you so much. I appreciate that report. That was really important, and we’re excited about that. I just want you to know that Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods has Area of Interest Chairs, and we have a new one and it is going to be headed by Tim Robinson who is currently going to the Citizens Academy and he’s going to concentrate on security in Buckhead neighborhoods. So I hope we can all work together with him, and Tim will keep us posted.
There were some questions about one was about filming in neighborhoods and how you allocate police to that.
Major Senzer: We’ve had some incidents with houses to do videos, movies, etc. Where this becomes an issue where we intervene is when we have film crews and trucks parking on the right-of-way. And in that case, they would need to be permitted through the city to be able to park their trucks and block whoever is using the right-of-way to facilitate the filming. Or, if it violates, some of the noise ordinances on the books in the evening. So I know there have been times where we’ve responded out there. I’ve actually been out to a couple locations both when there were violations, we can enforce and when there were times when we just couldn’t do anything at that point, the operation was legal. So I hope that answers the question.
Susan Kreuer from Paces: I was the one who raised the issue about the filming. Major Senzer, the crux of our question is on the last two shoots that we’ve had – one as recently as last week, we are not seeing APD. We’re seeing Gwinnett County Sheriffs. We’re seeing Fulton County Sheriffs, we’re seeing police officers from Lithonia and officers from out in Macon.
Major Senzer: Okay. So are you talking about quality control issue with the level of enforcement that you’re getting out there? Not being equal to APD?
Susan Kreuer: That’s part of it. I also think the projection of law enforcement within our community may not necessarily be up to a standard that you would endorse. Additionally, we question what sort of jurisdiction these folks actually have when they are policing here in our area, should something arise that is actionable.
Major Senzer: Well, Sheriff’s offices have jurisdiction statewide. If you have an issue that’s recurring and you want me to put my eyes on it or it’s something I can have one of my watch commanders, put their eyes on it. Just send me an email and we can go out there and see what the issues are. We would something that we would handle on a case-by-case basis. Obviously, if they’re not conducting their traffic duties or other duties up to par where it becomes an issue for the neighbors, then that that’s something that our team can speak with the security team that.
Debra Wathen: There was a question about Lenox Mall and minors, and I know that they’ve implemented some new procedures. Would you just address those and how that’s going?
Major Senzer: The youth policy was something that was stood up by Simon for Lenox Mall. APD did not have any input in that policy and our officers, whether they’re on duty or working in an off-duty capacity at the mall, enforce laws and city ordinances. We don’t enforce policy. So let me give
you an example of what that looks like. So we would not go and challenge an individual because they’re underage. Private security would do that. If somebody is told that they have to leave the property or banned from the property and show back up and that transitioned into a criminal trespass issue, at that point, that’s a state or city law that’s broken. And we would intervene at that time. We enforce laws and city ordinances, not private policy.
Debra Wathen: So our final topic is an update on what’s going on with the zoning issues that y’all have all been participating in.
Zoning – Single Family Residential Task Force Gloria Cheatham and & Nina Schwartz
Nina Schwartz: Thanks to all of our neighborhood leaders and the members of your neighborhood for sending in comments on the Comprehensive Development Plan Draft II. There were around 1,100 emails on Draft II and all but about five or six were in opposition, which is a terrific response and compliment NPUs A, B, C, G, I,E,O,F…and that’s just to name a few who were all in opposition as well. So, thank you so much for taking the time to do that and also, making all the phone calls as well. It’s just terrific to have that outpouring during a public comment period.
Just to give you an idea of the time frame of what’s going to happen next. This Monday on September 13th, we are supposed to get Draft III of the Comprehensive Development Plan. On the 26th, I believe on the 26th we will have an opportunity to call in again, if necessary to make more comments and then there will be a public hearing on September 27th. The next day on September 28th, the Community Development and Human Services committee, which is chaired by Matt Westmoreland, will have a formal committee meeting. That Committee, Community Development and Human Services, is the committee that is responsible for the CDP. Then there will be the final vote by the City Council on either October 4th or October 18th, and it sounds like maybe it’ll be the later date.
So just a couple of comments that I would like to make is it’s interesting first of all that the CDP is based on population estimates that are so huge. For instance, the city would like to see 10,000 people per square mile, which is about a 260% increase over what we’ve got now per square mile, and I don’t know if any of you happened to see Bill Torpy’s article in the AJC. But he said, it will take a century to reach the population estimate that the CDP draft is based on at the rate we are currently growing.
You may recall that we have been advised over and over by City Planning or by Tim Keane, who is the Commissioner of Planning, that this year’s required update would be “bare bones”, “purely administrative”, and include only the minimum that the law requires. But instead what we got was some 600 pages of narratives, new policies, significant changes in policies and objectives, which wasn’t promised at all. We saw that in Draft I. And we saw that in Draft II. We believe that Draft I and II both fundamentally depart from the Atlanta City Design, and it changes the CDP policies and the current CDP vision. And that this has been done surreptitiously and promises have not been kept by the City Administration, by the Planning Department.
Also we feel that the consequences are so grave and the timeframe so short that we can’t review Draft III in the amount of time that we need, because the city has to vote on it in October, just a few weeks from now in a way that Atlanta deserves. So, in summary, this coming Monday on September 13th, we’re supposed to get our third draft of the CDP and at this moment, we don’t know what we will get. Will Planning give us what was promised? Will they give us the bare bones,
legally required CDP draft that was promised that at least 1,100 residents and a multitude of NPU’s have asked for? We hope so.
Mary Norwood: Thank you, Nina. You and Gloria Cheatham have both been just wonderful with this. Thank you so much.
Debra Wathen: As you have Mary, we really appreciate it. It’s been a lot of work. A lot of dogging paperwork, and we really owe a great debt to you as well as to all the citizens of Buckhead that have really jumped in and let their voices be heard, which I think is so important and hopefully they are being heard and as Nina said, will know that soon enough we see that new draft.
We have a few minutes left and I’m going to see if Major Senzer would answer a couple more questions. The first is: What about the noise or racing cars on Lenox between Piedmont and 400? This seems to be a forgotten area. I know 400 is supposedly responsible for 400. But something has got to be done about the racing cars without mufflers on 400. It’s unbearable.
Major Senzer: I get it. And this has been challenging since this began last year. So we are running a street racing detail every weekend through our special operations section. We do dedicate officers from zones to participate in that. So we try and focus on the areas where these individuals congregate and we try and stay ahead of their locations through social media, and we’ve had some good successes in embedding ourselves in some of the social media sites that they use to communicate, so we can stay ahead of that and displace them to other areas. There’s so there’s two categories. You have the actual street racers that take over an intersection and lay drag and put the marks on the street and are basically filming and close the events. And then you have guys that are just driving around in extremely loud cars.
And I can tell you, most of what we’re seeing right now is just people driving around with extremely loud, exhaust with no etiquette and no regard for people’s quality of life. And those are the most challenging individuals to get. Because by the time we get out there, they’re typically gone. I know we have some areas where we have some recurring issues. I try and pass those along to our Watch Commander so they can get them out to the beat officers, but I admit it’s very challenging. We have had success writing charges for exhaust that are unreasonably loud. It’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time when those occurrences happen.
We have to be able to articulate that in in our citations in our report. It’s not like we have when we have an entertainment establishment or a home that’s static and we can pace off 300 feet away and we can articulate this into our body cameras. A vehicle is a moving target, so it makes it a little bit more challenging.
Debra Wathen: Thank you. And somebody also asked about speeding on Peachtree. What can be done about that?
Major Senzer: Whenever we get complaints of speeding. I always loop in our special operations section. Our Motors Units are the preeminent group that handles traffic. They’ve done some stuff on Moores Mill Road. They’ve done some stuff on Peachtree, on Piedmont. I understand people drive fast in the city and that we some dangerous intersections – the propensity for bad things to happen when people are moving too quickly. So but if you’re experiencing something in a certain area at a certain time, I’m always available to take an email and I can engage SOS and have them dedicate some officers to that location to see if we can run some radar or have an impact.
Debra Wathen: And another question is about these alternative bikes scooters that are increasingly associated with the variety of crimes around Buckhead and Midtown. It seems that several crimes where these scooters were present result in parties leaving the saying which are not being identified on camera, what’s being done to secure rental data from companies such as Lime, etc. Can you address that issue?
Major Senzer: We saw the moratorium on that for a while and it offered relief. And now that scooters have been introduced back onto the streets, it’s enhanced our challenges, especially dealing with the youth selling water on the street corners. They’ve changed the dynamics of how we go about stopping them and detaining them. It makes it much more difficult for us. I know that our Executive Command Staff have reached out to the companies to see if we can institute some Geofencing around some of our busiest areas as well. The kids are using cash apps; they’re not using credit cards and that’s problematic. It’s challenging. It’s another challenge for us.
Debra Wathen: Thank you, Major. Thank you so much.
The videos that we asked all the candidates to do, I really do want to encourage y’all to take advantage of them. And if we want one night, we can have a Zoom meeting. We really would want you to visit the website because for a particular school board, you can sit there and click on each video, hear them, go to their website, and get a really good idea of who is your candidate. So look that. We’ll send out an email reminder to everybody to go and visit that site. But I really appreciate all of the hard work that the candidates put into sending us those videos and getting them to us. And so we really want to make sure that they’re viewed. And like I said, if we want to have an evening of viewing, we can do that where we just play, you know, all the mayoral candidates back-to-back and people can watch them.
But it will be very easy to go to the website and just click on them and see them. So take a look for that next week on our website and thank you all again. And thank you for all the people who spoke this evening. It takes a village to keep our village going. So we really appreciate it. And so I will close this meeting out unless there’s anything else we need to tackle.
Mary Norwood: Thank you, Debra. Thank you for organizing conducting and executing the meeting. Thank you very much. Have a good evening. Good night, y’all. Thank you, everyone.
Secretary’s Note: These minutes were prepared by BCN’s Secretary Gordon Certain with ample help from Mary Norwood and Debra Wathen. Internet software available from Sonix.ai was employed to prepare a substantially accurate word-for-word transcription using the audio from the Zoom meeting. Once the initial transcript is generated, Sonix allows the editor to then listen to the audio and concurrently read the transcript to make corrections and adjustments to the transcript as needed to improve its accuracy. Some presenter statements have been reworded for clarity or to improve grammar.