The Atlanta Police Department is forming a unit specifically assigned to the Atlanta BeltLine and will staff it with 15 officers.
The APD Path Force, as the unit will be called, is charged with patrolling the BeltLine, a 33-mile loop of trails and 1,200 acres of greenspace that will form a necklace of green around the city.
The unit's creation comes amid growing concern about the use of BeltLine trails as .
Residents in Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward and Ormewood Park have pressed police officials about a plan for the BeltLine following recent incidents.
Matthew W. Garbett, president of Fourth Ward Neighbors, welcomed the measure.
"Sounds good to me. I would hope that they would focus on the points of intersection between the BeltLine and the regular roads used for access and egress," Garbett told East Atlanta Patch. "Glad we're getting more cops and that certainly helps with more security in the area."
APD doesn't have a target launch date, but Carlos Campos, a department spokesman, said the unit's formation was made possible by the $1.87 million in federal Community Oriented Policing Services grant it was awarded this week.
That grant, which APD says will fund 15 new officer positions, is spread over a three-year period and the city has to contribute $966,075 in additional matching funds.
APD will hire military veterans — a stipulation of the grant — and pull from existing officers to staff the Path Force.
Those assigned to the Path Force also will work with BeltLine leaders, city departments and representatives of the 45 neighborhoods that the BeltLine will touch to develop crime prevention and safety strategies.
"We're very happy for our partners in the Atlanta Police Department for their successful grant application," BeltLine spokesman Ethan Davidson told Patch. "This will further strengthen our working relationship and continue to improve quality of life in Atlanta BeltLine communities."