Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens announced a new ‘nightlife division’ within the mayor’s office during his first State of the City on April 4. The division will address venues with a history of high crime to include trainings for businesses on how to deescalate violent altercations. (City of Atlanta)

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens is implementing a new “nightlife division” in his office to tackle ways to reduce infractions at bars and clubs with a history of crime.

The announcement of the new division was made April 4 during the mayor’s first State of the City to business and civic leaders. It also came hours after a deadly shooting outside a strip of Buckhead bars on Roswell Road.

“Nightlife is a significant part of who we are as a city,” Dickens said. “But bad operators and bad patrons will be kept in line.”

Who will be a part of the division was not detailed. The division will be tasked with hosting quarterly trainings for businesses on how to deescalate violent altercations, security training and first aid and emergency response.

Dickens continued to expand on his public safety initiatives that he touched on at last week’s Buckhead Coalition luncheon, including adding 250 new Atlanta Police Department officers by the end of 2022.

“Recruitment efforts are yielding more applications, and for the first time ever APD partnered with Lenox Square mall to host a recruitment event there,” Dickens said.

A string of shootings at Buckhead’s ritzy Lenox Square in 2020 led mall operators to add metal detectors and gun-sniffing dogs.

Rising crime rates in Buckhead have spawned a movement for the wealthy north Atlanta enclave to break off from the city. State lawmakers declined to move such a bill forward this year, a move Dickens praised at the State of the City.

“I am grateful to our friends under the Gold Dome for agreeing with me that we will be one city with one bright future,” Dickens said. “So, thank you Lt. Gov. [Geoff] Duncan, House Speaker [David] Ralston and our entire Atlanta delegation for giving us the runway we need so our Buckhead residents, and all residents, feel safe in their neighborhoods and feel heard by city hall.”

In his first days of office, a new APD precinct in Buckhead Village, “located in the heart of Zone 2,” was opened, Dickens said.

The office is still under construction but is nearing completion. Dickens said the new precinct will be staffed by a dozen officers by this summer.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.