The Atlanta Police Department performed their work duties and made exceptional sacrifices over the last four days to protect the people of Atlanta during the Winter Storm PAX emergency.
Led by Chief Turner and the Executive Command Staff, hundreds of officers, commanders, 9-1-1 Call Center personnel, and other essential department employees put their lives on hold in order to respond to the needs of the community. All essential personnel went to 12-hour shifts beginning on Tuesday morning at 6AM.
Over the 96 hours of the emergency, approximately 1,282 Atlanta Police essential personnel worked the storm detail, and a majority of these individuals “sheltered in place” – that is worked their 12 hour shift, slept at their workstations, and woke up to begin their next 12-hour shift. They repeated this schedule for four days.
“I am so very proud of the entire Atlanta Police Department. Throughout this winter storm event, our employees, both sworn officers and dedicated civilians answered the call of duty. They took care of the city of Atlanta despite the cold weather and long hours. The true test of a department is measured in times of crisis and the Atlanta Police Department responded with courage, commitment and selflessness.” said Chief George Turner.
Here are some of those efforts:
- Specialized enforcement units like APEX, the Beltline Path Force, and the COPS Unit transported key city personnel, the homeless, and those without power to warming centers and shelters – making hundreds of trips through the ice and snow. They also provided round-the-clock security at those shelters and delivered meals to the shelters and warming centers, as well as to APD personnel sleeping at their precincts, the Annex, and Police Headquarters.
- The Special Operations Section (SOS) officers were part of an “All Hazards Task Force” that worked with the Forestry Unit of Parks and Recreation and Georgia Power to respond to downed trees and power lines, providing escorts, security and safety.
- The Atlanta Police School Detectives Unit provided around-the-clock security at the Atlanta Public schools being used as shelters.
- The Logistical Support Unit and the Background and Recruitment Unit officers and staff picked up meals from vendors, delivered cots and hygiene kits, towels and blankets to APD personnel across the city.
- Employees of the 9-1-1 Center worked in some cases more than 12 hours and sheltered in place from early Tuesday (2/11) morning through Friday (7/14)morning. Several enlisted friends and relatives to secure their homes and care for their children who were not in school.
- More than 60 Command personnel and staff kept the Joint Operations Center (JOC) up and running for 96 hours without a break – tracking weather conditions, coordinating response to emergency calls with MARTA, Georgia Power, the Department of Public Works, Atlanta Fire and Rescue, Atlanta Department of Corrections, the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services, Parks and Recreation Department, Department of Watershed Management, the Atlanta 9-1-1 Center and Grady Emergency Services – watching the video integration center traffic cameras, drafting strategies and logistics, and dispatching officers and other personnel wherever they were needed.
- Atlanta Police recruits worked in 12-hour shifts to provide support to the Joint Operations Center, checking staff into the Center, collecting cots and mattresses, setting up meals and running errands. They also sheltered in place for the entire weather emergency.
By the numbers:
950 meals were delivered TWICE a day, 1500 meals each day, to officers and staff;
Meals came from Jason’s Deli, Chick-Fil-A and Popeye’s – and an additional 400 meals were prepared by staff at the Atlanta City Jail for APD personnel;
Each shift, officers and staff slept on 476 cots and mattresses provided by the American Red Cross, the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department and the City of Atlanta Department of Corrections.
The Atlanta Police Department demonstrated their commitment to their mission, despite personal sacrifice – as one officer said, “As long as it takes…”