GSP and Atlanta Police Announce New Partnership

February 8, 2008

 

(ATLANTA) - The Georgia State Patrol and the Atlanta Police Department today announced a bold new partnership that will allow Atlanta Police to increase its police efforts and presence in the commercial and residential areas of the city.  Under the partnership, the Georgia State Patrol has assumed primary responsibility for traffic crash investigations on the sections of interstates located in the City of Atlanta.  Also included are the portions of Langford Parkway and Georgia Highway 400 in Atlanta.

      Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, and Atlanta Police Chief Richard J. Pennington announced the partnership this morning at a Jackson Street news conference.  The agreement was sealed with a ceremonial handshake with law enforcement officers from both agencies on hand.

      “The Atlanta Police Department is very pleased with this agreement,” Chief Pennington said.  “We estimate it will free up about 6,000 hours of police services to re-dedicate to crime-fighting rather than responding to traffic incidents on our freeways – and that’s good news for everyone – except criminals!”

      Colonel Hitchens said traffic crash investigation is one of the cornerstones of the Georgia State Patrol.  “The State Patrol was created in 1937 to investigate traffic crashes and enforce the state’s traffic laws,” he said.  Troopers will respond to Atlanta interstate traffic crashes around the clock, seven days a week under the agreement.  “I’m extremely pleased that the flow of communication between our agencies is perhaps the best it has been in a very long time,” Colonel Hitchens noted.

      The commissioner said the decision to enter into the agreement with Atlanta Police was made easier thanks to plans underway to increase the number of troopers in the Georgia State Patrol to meet Governor Perdue’s goal of hiring 205 new troopers over the next three years.  “Governor Perdue is committed to providing the resources needed for the Georgia State Patrol,” Colonel Hitchens noted, “and with a renewed effort to recruit top candidates for the Patrol, I am confident we will meet the challenges of Atlanta traffic.”

      Chief Pennington said Atlanta Police responded to more than 4,100 traffic crashes during 2007 on the interstates and the two Georgia highways on which troopers have assumed primary responsibility.  The majority of the crashes occurred between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays.

The Georgia State Patrol has 42 troopers assigned to the detail.  Colonel Hitchens said the goal for troopers is to keep traffic moving on the interstates while conducting a professional traffic crash investigation. 

      Colonel Hitchens and Chief Pennington sealed the agreement with a handshake while surrounded by officers and troopers from the two agencies.  The partnership is a benefit to both agencies as they work together to improve public safety and service to the community.

      Both agency chiefs remind drivers involved in a crash to “Steer It and Clear It” by moving their vehicles to the shoulder of the interstate if the vehicle is drivable and there is no serious personal injury or death involved.  They also called on the motoring public to help keep emergency services workers safe by obeying Georgia’s “Move Over” law.  Motorists must move over one lane or slow below the speed limit when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped in an adjacent lane.

 

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Contact Information: 
DPS Public Information Office - (404) 624-7597
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