The task force, which was supported unanimously by the City Council, aims to address concerns expressed by Atlanta-in-DeKalb residents. The 14-member task force will be comprised of representatives of the mayor, council president, council public safety committee chair, DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson and the Atlanta and DeKalb County police departments.
Its formation also is designed to address the slow response times some residents have said they experience when calling the 911 system.
"A recent 911 call in the Atlanta-in-DeKalb area which resulted in both Atlanta and DeKalb County police officers responding, as well as confusion over which police department should actually handle the call, prompted me to establish this task force,” Archibong said in a statement.
“The safety of our citizens is of paramount importance to our city. Through the work of this task force, we hope to conclusively resolve all barriers to our Atlanta-in-DeKalb citizens’ calls being accurately and properly handled by the 911 call center.”
In a press release response, Atlanta City Council District 5 candidate Matt Rinker of East Atlanta called Archibong’s motivations behind the 911 Task Force “highly suspect.” Rinker explains that he knows first-hand of the frustration when a resident calls 911 and is bounced between the City Emergency Services and that of Dekalb County. According to the release, in 2010, Rinker’s home was burglarized and his call was bounced between the two entities.
Determining which 911 system covers a call has been a long term issue for residents in the corners of the city which are closest to the city line according to the Rinker campaign.
“Ms. Archibong has been long absent on the issue of 911 services in the Atlanta-In-Dekalb neighborhoods of our city,” Rinker said in the release. “This problem is not new and has been occurring for our neighbors over the past 12 years that she has sat on the Council. Her recent effort is nothing short of an election year smoke screen of her ineffective time on the Council. After 12 years we should have solutions, not election year study groups."
Councilwoman Archibong could not be reached for comment prior to this article's posting. Read the entire Rinker release here.
District 5, which like other districts, has changed boundary lines that will go into effect following the 2013 elections. It retains its historical neighborhoods such as East Atlanta, Kirkwood, East Lake, Reynoldstown and Lake Claire. It also adds some new communities, such as portions of Old Fourth Ward and North Ormewood Park.
East Atlanta Patch Editor Péralte Paul contributed to this report