Atlanta police chief to deploy HERO traffic service inside city limits

Image 1 of 2


Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum plans to deploy a HERO-style traffic unit in the city. HERO stands for Highway Emergency Response Operators.

Schierbaum believes civilians can be trained to clear traffic resulting from stalls and other stoppages.

The chief told city council members employee slots have been added to his new budget.

"We can free up police officers to go back to do what they need to do: crime fighting," he said.

Schierbaum said Atlanta is currently 450 officers short of full staffing.

He has been looking for ways to shift police from administrative functions, so they can go back to the neighborhood zones.

Michael Bond, a member of the public safety panel, was interested in the idea.

"It can benefit drivers," Bond said. "They will be able to get faster service and not have to wait on an officer who may be out handling a crime call."

Schierbaum will start the service as a pilot project.