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Special Beltline Cops Squad To Hit Trails, Pending Training

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In the quest for an ultra-safe Beltline, the Atlanta Police Department has hired 15 military veterans that will form a special unit dedicated to safety on the completed portions of the Big Emerald Loop. Citing a recent Atlanta Beltline Inc. meeting, Patch reports the 15 new hires are in training at the moment and won't hit the trails until later this year; earlier reports estimated the squad would begin patrols in the first or second quarter of 2013. The new officers — hired as part of a three-year, $1.87 million federal grant — will form the "APD Path Force." Five more seasoned cops will augment the group.

Patch reports that 10 additional bicycles have been ordered. Officials at the meeting said additional lighting is being added to the Beltline's Eastside Trail, and street numbers are being assigned to existing mile markers on the trail to help pinpoint the locations of 911 callers. For now, the APD's mounted patrol and patrol officers on bike and foot will continue working the Beltline — a beat we're guessing is preferable to, say, Five Points.

In the same write-up, the community reporter offers sage advice: "The Beltline is a fantastic addition to Atlanta's list of assets — but do not consider that you have left the city and gone to the country when using the path. Use common sense by keeping usage to daylight hours, keep personal electronics hidden in your clothing, go with someone else, and do not get lost in your thoughts as you walk, jog or bike ride."

· Police Beef Up BeltLine Security [Patch]
· BeltLine Police Force To Be Ready By Spring [Patch]
· As the Eastside Trail opening nears, BeltLine security squad still is "more of a concept." [Atlanta magazine]