Take a multi-million dollar transportation overhaul project, add the concurrent replacement of gas and water main lines, then throw on top a fake police officer misdirecting traffic, and what do you have?
That’s what happened last week on Chamblee Dunwoody Road when all the elements converged to create a traffic snafu that had commuters calling foul and resulted in the arrest of a man who pretended to be an off-duty police officer and did more to misdirect traffic than direct it.
A citizen who was trying to turn into the Georgetown Shopping Center around 3 p.m. on Feb. 28 was accosted by a man wearing a yellow vest with the words “Police” emblazoned on it, who allegedly called the man “stupid” because the officer said the entrance was closed, despite the fact that several cars in front of the driver had turned into the entrance.
The driver reported the man to the Dunwoody Police Department, which, after some investigation, found that the man was impersonating a police officer. According to Dunwoody Police Public Information Officer Mark Stevens, the construction company they believed they had hired a person who “worked with Adairsville Police and had been out at the location the last two days.”
“Adairsville Police was notified, and they informed us no officer works with them by that name, nor has he ever worked for their agency,” Stevens said. “When officers arrived (at the same intersection), the male was actively directing traffic with a police traffic vest, gun, magazine, and handcuffs.”
After the man, identified as Brandon Jones-Henderson, was confronted, he admitted that he was never a member of any police force.
Jones-Henderson was charged with impersonating a police officer, and booked into the DeKalb County Jail. He was released after posting a $5,700 bond.
Even without the interference of a police imposter, the traffic jams caused by the Chamblee Dunwoody Georgetown Gateway Project, an initiative that has been almost a decade in the making, has been vexing drivers in the area since it began in 2021.
According to the city’s website, the project “seeks to create a more welcoming environment for pedestrians and bicycles and serve as a signature gateway for one of the primary entrances into Dunwoody. The project entails extending the Dunwoody Trailway in both directions along Chamblee Dunwoody Road from Georgetown Park and creating a consistent streetscape that will enhance the visual appeal, walkability, and safety of the corridor. The streetscape will include street trees, pedestrian lighting, and wider sidewalks.”
Dunwoody Communications Manager Jennifer Boettcher said the project is not without inherent headaches that come with multiple changes to the area’s roadways and sidewalks.
“This is a big project, and there are a lot of moving parts. In addition to the road improvements, the project includes replacing the gas and water mains and relocating other underground and above-ground utilities,” Boettcher said in a statement released by the city. “We do expect traffic disruptions from time to time throughout the duration of this project. It’s the only way to accomplish the significant upgrades included in the plan.”