Atlanta leaders considering adding rangers to make city parks safer

ATLANTA — A proposal presented at Monday’s Atlanta City Council meeting could have a major effect on parks across the city.

Atlanta city leaders say they want to take steps to add rangers to city parks.

One of the organizers said with a shortage of police officers, this could help keep people safe while they visit places like Westside Park and Piedmont Park.

Jennifer Ade, who has lived in Atlanta’s Vine City neighborhood for 10 years, told Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston she thinks it’s a great idea.

While Channel 2 Action News crews were getting video at Atlanta’s Rodney Cook Sr. Peace Park, Ade approached Huddleston to see if was there covering a shooting that happened just 10 minutes before.

“Literally, I looked out and saw people grabbing their children and running to the car with children in tow, it was really scary,” she said.

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Luckily, no one at the park was hurt

Almost a year ago, Katherine Janness and her dog, Bowie, were stabbed to death inside Piedmont Park. Police have still not identified her killer.

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“There’s just not enough police support to enforce what needs to be enforced around here, rangers would be amazing,” Ade said.

Atlanta City Councilman Byron Amos, one of the city leaders proposing the idea, said he wants the rangers to have similar authority to police officers.

“I personally would like to see a sworn officer so they could take immediate action. That would be the best thing to do,” Amos told Huddleston.

Amos will now talk with Mayor Andre Dickens about starting a 180-day study to see what the best way is to move forward.

“Park rangers would help like a camera would help. It would give us that extra visibility, so when something happens instead of waiting for the officer to respond to the scene to see what happened, that park ranger will be there,” Amos explained.

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There is currently no timeline for when this would go into effect if approved.

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