What is O4W Patrol?

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Why and how was the patrol started?

For many years residents in Old Fourth Ward have expressed interest in having a safety/security patrol in Old Fourth Ward. Other neighborhoods surrounding Old Fourth Ward have them, so why don’t we have one? The issue came up more recently on the Fourth Ward Alliance (FWA) newsgroup so a few FWA residents who wanted to make it a reality got together, did more than a year of research and due diligence and decided to give it a shot. (return to top)

Who runs the patrol?

The patrol is run by Lieutenant Isom, a veteran of the Atlanta Police Department (APD), who is retired but on the equivalent of the APD “Reserves”. His experience and connections within APD are critical to the success of our patrol. Lt. Isom:

  • Has all of the arrest and other police powers that active APD officers have and is armed when on duty
  • Knows all the streets in Zone 6 and Zone 5 due to prior supervisory experience in the Zones
  • Has an excellent relationship with the commander in Zone 6 and Zone 5 and C.I.D. unit commander
  • Gathers statistics weekly, compares them to areas that need attention, and provides info to the O4W Patrol members monthly
  • Has expertise in local ordinances and Georgia state laws
  • Wears an APD uniform while patrolling and thus increases police presence in patrol area
  • Makes arrests when a violation has occurred and attends court for final
    disposition of cases
  • Supplements coverage by APD in Zone 6. O4W Patrol officers work closely with the beat officers.

A team of Old Fourth Ward resident volunteers manage the administrative aspects of the patrol including finance/accounting, membership, communications, website management, etc.(return to top)

What is the patrol’s goal and what does it do?
The goal of the patrol is to conduct proactive, community based policing across a defined patrol area in the Old Fourth Ward. This develops a focused police presence in our patrol area that goes beyond what APD can currently provide due to their limited resources. While our patrol makes arrests of people who are committing crimes in our patrol area and responds to member and 911 calls, much of the patrol’s efforts are aimed at providing additional police presence designed to proactively deter crime. In addition, our patrol focuses on “quality of life” issues in our patrol area such as deterring graffiti, loitering, scoping of targets, code violations, etc. (return to top)

How is community policing different from what APD does?
Back in the “good old days” many cities had foot police patrolling specific, manageable beats each day. The officers knew the neighborhood inside and out. They knew the residents, business owners, and also the bad guys in that neighborhood and built relationships with everyone in the beat area. Because of their presence and relationships, they were able to proactively address problems in the area before they resulted in crimes, and when crimes did occur they were well positioned to address them.

That is what we are striving for with our patrol for our members. APD is stretched very thin. APD does not have enough officers and does not have as much gear and support equipment as they would like to have. As a result, they are not able to provide the level of community based policing that they would like. Our patrol provides this much needed security supplement to fill the gap, so to speak. APD is more geared to responding to 911 calls rather than proactively addressing problems. This is not a knock on APD; it is a function of the limited resources that APD has to bring to bear.

How does the patrol determine where to patrol and what to focus on?
Our patrol pulls crime statistics from APD for our area and adjacent areas to get a sense for what types of crimes or issues need to be addressed. Our patrol discovers and addresses issues it finds while on patrol and also relies on leads/information provided by the membership as well. Our patrol also regularly communicates and collaborates with APD and neighboring neighborhood security patrols like the Inman Park Patrol, Midtown Ponce Security Alliance, FBAC Virginia Highland and the Poncey-Highlands Security Patrol. (return to top)