By John Schaffner

The Buckhead Business Association recognized two Zone 2 Atlanta Police officers and a member of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department at its quarterly luncheon meeting July 19 at the 103 West restaurant.

In presenting the first award to Zone 2 Investigator Jacquelyn Gwinn-Vilaroel, the BBA’s Vice President of Public Safety Don Vellek said she was being recognized for her “exemplary contributions to the Zone 2 Investigations Section.”

Vellek said of Villaroel, “ When called upon, she hits a home run for the zone time and again. This officer’s dedication and diligence makes her a much sought after resource within the department.”

Sergeant Robert Price of the Fulton Sheriff’s Department was honored for several heroic events he was involved in while on patrol in the vicinity of Old National Highway.

Vellek specifically cited an incident where Price stopped a Mercedes for a traffic violation and discovered the tag did not belong to a Mercedes. Price arrested the occupant at the scene and then discovered he was on an FBI terrorist list and was wanted for a variety of offenses.

Price also was involved in a chase of a vehicle that turned into a foot chase and the officer having to subdue the suspect with the use of a Taser.

Turning back to Zone 2, Vellek said that about two years ago, when the BBA decided to put in place a number of initiatives involving public safety, Major James Sellers named Sergeant Tim Culberson as the “go-to” contact. Culberson oversees operations of the Lenox Square substation and the new Peachtree substation.

He has made Z-TEP (Zone Traffic Enforcement Patrol) “one of the most successful types of patrols Zone 2 has ever seen,” Vellek told the BBA luncheon audience of around 200. Vellek said Culberson has been active with neighborhood planning units, other neighborhood associations, and local businesses.

According to Vellek, Culberson was the first supervisor to host an intern from the “Next Step” program, a summer internship program for graduating high school seniors. “Matt Smith, a young man from North Atlanta High School, who suffers from spina bifida, spent last summer working with the sergeant, bringing him closer to his dream of a career in law enforcement,” Vellek added.

Each of the officers received an engraved glass award and additional gifts from BBA member companies.