Atlanta Police Department Growing

March 15,2011

By Ty Tagami

The Atlanta Police Department is bolstering its force with 50 new hires to target aggressive panhandling, graffiti and illegal dumping.

The new positions were funded for three years by an $11.2 million federal grant in 2009 aimed at "quality of life" issues, said Carlos Campos, a police department spokesman. Police will use the money through the summer of 2013 to hire more patrol cops, then reassign veteran officers to the Community Liaison Unit.

Officers in the liaison unit "will work closely with the citizens of the city to embody the APD’s mission statement of reducing crime and promoting the quality of life in partnership with our community," Campos said, adding that they will work with children through the Police Athletic League.

Police Chief George Turner said he expects the officers "to dedicate the time to strategize and follow up with our communities more closely than patrol officers are currently able to due to their busy workloads."

It's all part of a new Community Oriented Policing Section that will be unveiled for the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in Woodruff Park Downtown.

Chief Turner will be there with a variety of special units, such as the horse and helicopter patrols and the SWAT Team. Mayor Kasim Reed is scheduled to appear at 2:30 p.m.

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