After two recent murders which both occurred inside Atlanta parks have citizens have now called for more security. City leaders in Atlanta have been trying to find the best way to respond to the public outcry.
The bodies of 40-year-old Katie Janness and her partner’s dog Bowie were found just inside Piedmont Park at the 10th Street and Charles Allen entrance on July 28. Just four days earlier, 17-year-old Jakari Dillard, a rising senior at Life Christian Academy, was shot following an argument with a suspect at the Anderson Park pool.
Both incidents have rattled city residents who use the more than 3,000 acres of parklands and 33 recreational centers on a daily basis. But the calls to increase security were being heard by the Atlanta City Council well before these two deadly incidents.
Back in May, just ahead of the busy Memorial Day weekend, Councilman Michael Bond introduced a bill that would commit full-time officers to patrol the city's parks. But with more than 300 individual green spaces, it might be unrealistic to have every park get the same level of security. The councilman said he understands this.
Bond asked, and a police commander agreed to survey hundreds of retired police officers who still would be young enough to serve exclusively at the parks. Deputy Chief Darin Schierbaum briefed Bond and other members of the public safety panel on the responses. Nineteen retirees, so far, have said they would be willing to return.
In addition to paying a salary, Schierbaum said, the Atlanta Police Department would have to supply the infrastructure for the proposed park force -- cars and supervisors.
The council is looking into bolstering surveillance cameras, especially around Piedmont Park, considered the city's crown jewel of green space. Right now, the nearly 200-acre park only has nine cameras, one of which was not even working the night Janness was killed.