Mary Norwood, back on City Council, proposes Buckhead safety task force

Now-Councilwoman Mary Norwood at her election night party in 2017. AJC file / Curtis Compton/
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Now-Councilwoman Mary Norwood at her election night party in 2017. AJC file / Curtis Compton/

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Mary Norwood, the former two-time mayoral candidate and Atlanta City Council member, made a return to the city’s legislative body when she was sworn in to represent the western half of Buckhead last week.

One of her first official actions: Introducing a measure to create a Buckhead Public Safety Task Force, an 18-member group that would develop a comprehensive plan to deter crime on the Northside, according to a copy of the legislation.

The proposal comes amid efforts to create a new city out of Buckhead. State lawmakers will begin the 2022 legislation session next week, and are set to consider bills that would allow Buckhead residents to vote on cityhood, an increasingly controversial and politicized issue.

The task force would include law enforcement representatives from the state, city and county, Neighborhood Planning Unit leaders and various business organizations. It would build on the work of the Buckhead Security Plan, an effort that was launched in 2020 and spearheaded by police and business leaders, Norwood said.

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In making the public safety recommendations, the group would work to get buy-in from businesses, neighborhood associations, residents in apartments and condos and other stakeholders like churches and nonprofits, Norwood said.

“This is important and is another step toward making sure that county, state, and city law enforcement officers are communicating clearly among themselves and coming up with something that will be very helpful for my constituents,” said Norwood, who previously held a citywide council seat from 2002-09, and again from 2014-17. She ran for mayor in 2009 and 2017, narrowly losing both times.

Norwood ran unopposed for the open District 8 seat in November. She has remained neutral on the cityhood question, but said the legislation is not intended as “political football.”

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“I, as a newly elected councilwoman, am going to start addressing something I feel needs additional enhancements,” she said, referencing the public safety issue.

Atlanta police data shows that the overall number of serious crimes was down in Buckhead in 2021 compared to 2020 and 2019, but murders and aggravated assaults were up. Burglaries, auto thefts and larceny from auto all dipped over the last year.

The City Council could greenlight the Buckhead Public Safety Task Force as early as Jan. 18. Norwood said once the task force is up and running, she hopes to see action within two to three months.

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