Pubdate: Sat, 18 Aug 2007
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Copyright: 2007 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Author: Rhonda Cook


Responding to residents' calls for action, about 60  police officers
and two specially trained dogs swept  through two known drug areas in
northwest Atlanta on  Saturday in hopes of capturing drug dealers,
fugitives  and gang members.

With media along for the ride, officers made eight  public arrests
just before sundown in what APD  spokeswoman Judy Pal called "an
obvious showing that  the police are here to support the community."

"The reason we're doing this is the community wanted us  to come out
here because they are tired of the thugs  and criminality," Pal said.

The APD's first stop was an apartment complex in the  shadow of the
Georgia Dome. A wanted man and two  suspected drug dealers were
arrested on the street  along the Vine City Terrace Apartments. Police
found  almost three dozen bags of hashish and marijuana  packaged for
$10 sales.

 From there, a convoy of blue Atlanta Police cars,  accompanied by six
media vans and trucks and a  Journal-Constitution reporter, moved to
Bowen Homes, a  public housing complex on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway
  just inside the Perimeter to the west of downtown.

People scattered when the police arrived.

About midday Saturday, marked and unmarked police cars  and uniformed
and plain-clothes officers began to  gather under a bridge near the
Georgia Dome. There were  officers from APD's zone 1 and from the Red
Dog, drug,  gangs, fugitive and auto theft units.

About 90 minutes later, they were told to move to an  apartment
complex on Magnolia Street, two blocks from  the Vine City mini police

Those caught on the street were lined up to be  photographed - their
faces as well as any tattoos -  before most of them were allowed to
leave. Many of them  made calls on their cellphones as they walked
away from  those still being checked by police.

Pal said three arrests were made at the apartment  complex, two for
selling drugs and one on an  outstanding warrant. Police, with the
help of a black  Labrador retriever and a German shepherd, found drugs
  on the grounds.

The names of those arrested were not immediately  available, and Pal
said APD was not releasing the gang  affiliations because it did not
want to encourage the  groups or give them bragging rights when their
names  are in the media.

At Bowen Homes, police crashed into the public housing  complex, a
known drug market. Though police were still  processing the people
they had caught there, they'd  arrested five men by nightfall - four
for drugs and one  for driving a stolen car.

"A lot of citizens have been complaining about gang  members and drug
activity and crime activity in that  area so we are trying to assist
them in taking the  community back," officer Ronald Campbell said.
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