The Marietta Police Department has four unique tools it will use to close streets to vehicular traffic during events around the city.
The department has repurposed four decommissioned Marietta City School System buses it will use to block roads for safety during festivals and other special events.
Marietta police said the buses “provide easy, affordable, movable, attractive road blocks for the many times we need to close streets around the city.” Police spokesman officer Chuck McPhilamy said the buses are much more attractive than garbage trucks many cities, including Marietta, have used in the past.
The city paid the school system $750 per bus, or $3,000 total, for the vehicles. Marietta City Manager Bill Bruton said the city formally acquired the buses April 2.
Marietta police have paid Adnormous Graphics $8,000 to have the buses repainted and the exterior wrapped with graphics, McPhilamy said. The buses are blue and white, with the city’s blue, white and gray logo on both sides.
“The police department is very appreciative of the ongoing partnership the department has with the city as well as the Marietta City School System in working together to come up with creative solutions,” McPhilamy told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday.
McPhilamy said the department has had the buses for a couple of months, and one made its debut last month during the city’s Juneteenth celebration. Two buses were on hand July 4 to block off streets around Marietta Square for the Independence Day celebration. McPhilamy said the city received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback from attendees.
The interior of two buses will also be renovated to serve as comfort stations during emergency situations, such as a house fire that drives residents outside. For example, McPhilamy said the buses’ interior seating can be rearranged in a circle, and the vehicle can be outfitted with cooling and heating units to keep users comfortable. First responders such as firefighters can also use the buses to rest when they take turns battling fire, McPhilamy said.
When they are not in use, the buses are being stored at the site of an old fire station on Cobb Parkway at Allgood Road. McPhilamy said the police department would be interested in exploring an expansion of this program if the need arises. McPhilamy said using decommissioned buses gives governments a chance to find a suitable use for something “instead of throwing it away.”
“We are taking something that would have been discarded and we are using it in the name of public safety,” he said.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.