In more than three years since it was created, the Beltline’s PATH force unit has responded to 18 crimes committed in its jurisdiction. Only three crimes have occurred so far in 2016, the Atlanta Police Department reports.
The Atlanta Police Department PATH Force unit was launched in July 2013. It has 15 officers, two sergeants and one lieutenant. They patrol the area around the Beltline seven days a week, with one day shift and one evening shift, according the Lt. Jeff Baxter, who heads the unit.
Crime statistics provided by the APD show officers in the unit issued charges for two counts of disorderly conduct, two counts of vandalism, three counts of larceny theft, and one count of marijuana possession. There were a few more serious charges, including an armed robbery and a sex offense over the 3-year period.
The Path Force unit patrols the Eastside Trail, West End Trail, and the Northside Trail, as well as interim hiking trails and the Southwest Connector Trail, according to information on the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. website. It also patrols nearby parks such as the Historic Fourth Ward Park, D.H. D.H. Stanton Park, Boulevard Crossing Park and Piedmont Park.
The positions for the unit were created after APD received a $1.8 million U.S. Department of Justice COPS in 2012. As required by the federal grant, the officers are all military veterans.
The APD does not have a specific line item for the Beltline unit, so it is unclear how much it costs to fund the PATH force unit on a yearly basis.
Their precinct on Memorial Drive is owned by Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and leased to the APD for $1 a year, Baxter said in an email.
The unit primarily patrols on foot and by bicycle. A few weeks ago, the city of Atlanta announced they were providing five electric vehicles for the Beltline which will be used by the PATH Force unit, as well as other city departments.