One of Buckhead’s most high-profile crossroads is getting a cop shop.
At a press conference this morning, new Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, Atlanta police leaders, and other officials announced that a Zone 2 Village Precinct is under construction at the base of One Buckhead Plaza.
The 20-story building owned by Cousins Properties is steps from the busy Buckhead intersection of Peachtree and West Paces Ferry roads, between the St. Regis Hotel and Buckhead Village. King + Duke restaurant is next door, and a Whole Foods stands across the street. Calling it the heart of Buckhead wouldn’t be incorrect.
Crime spikes have been cited as the main impetus for Buckhead’s controversial cityhood movement. But officials today said the new police precinct is being implemented to better allocate resources in the Buckhead area—and not in response to a crime surge or the threat of Buckhead going rogue as a sovereign city.
City officials were joined at the event by Cousins’ president and CEO Colin Connolly and Jim Durrett, head of both the Buckhead Coalition and Buckhead CID—and a vocal opponent of the cityhood push.
Atlanta police Chief Rodney Bryant specified the driving force behind the new precinct is the area’s exponential growth—not any statistical uptick in crime—that includes visitors funneling in and out of Buckhead on a daily basis.
The precinct will primarily be used as a traffic response center to help free up officers on specific beats in Buckhead, according to the city. A new crop of recruits is expected to staff the facility.
According to WSB, a dozen officers will initially be placed at the new precinct.
City officials expect the precinct to be fully operational by this summer, 11Alive reports. Donations are being accepted to help cover costs, and the Buckhead Coalition has contributed $150,000 to date.
The Buckhead City Committee’s efforts to break away from Atlanta became a national talking point last year.
A couple of blocks south of the new precinct, the BCC—formerly known as the Buckhead Exploratory Committee—unveiled an official, logo-bedecked headquarters on a corner of Peachtree Road two months ago.
Cityhood adherents hope the Georgia General Assembly will grant the right to have the matter put before Buckhead voters this year. That November 2022 referendum, if the city bill passes, would ask Buckhead residents to decide whether their upscale district should de-annex from Atlanta, and then incorporate as “Buckhead City.”
The cityhood movement—as led by wealthy New York City transplant Bill White—has been roundly criticized by powerful Buckhead voices and Atlanta government leaders who call the idea divisive, unnecessary, and potentially devastating for the city’s finances.
Will a new police hub help assuage Buckhead's crime fears and mend its relationship with the city that annexed it 70 years ago? Only time will tell.