PTC using path patrols for info gathering

Fri, 08/22/2008 - 3:31pm
By: John Munford

141 citations issued so far in 424 hours of path patrol

So far this year, Peachtree City police have logged 424 hours of patrol on the cart path system.

With two new all-terrain vehicles, officers have been able to cover ground on the paths during patrols. They’ve even conducted safety roadblocks on the path system, said Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark.

The patrols focus not just on crime prevention but also path safety, Clark noted. Reckless driving is a frequent complaint police hear about the path system, he added.

“The fact is it’s another roadway,” Clark said. “... You can get seriously injured or killed.”

Traffic issues on the cart path are as much a concern as crime issues, Clark noted.

So far, police have issued 141 citations on the cart paths this year, Clark said. The highest number of citations has been 24 handed out for underage golf cart operation, according to data provided by the police department.

In second place is driving on the highway/using an unauthorized vehicle on the cart path system, with 15 citations. The department has also made 11 DUI cases on the cart paths and nine cases for disregarding a traffic control device.

The 141 citations so far this year compare to 269 citations issued last year, police said.

While police are handing out citations and making some arrests on the cart paths, Clark is hoping to gain an intelligence benefit as well, since cart path users can speak directly with officers on the ATVs, relaying concerns they might not have thought to call into the department as a normal complaint.

Many cart path users travel in specific areas frequently, so Clark thinks those people know a lot of information about those places.

“Sometimes people see things but either don’t think much of it or they’re afraid to call us or they think there’s nothing to it,” Clark said. “But it could be something we’re looking for.”

Clark noted that the department recently learned about a golf cart path that was being used for normal vehicle traffic surreptitiously. He’s hoping the city can erect vehicle barriers to stem that problem.

“A great example is the graffiti issue,” Clark said, noting that a golf cart with spray paint cans would be a good tip police want to hear about.

The city is trying to cover up graffiti within a day of it being reported so it doesn’t spread and get worse, Clark said.

The department just implemented a system to code cart path incidents to distinguish them from other locations in the city, Clark said. In the future the city may be able to use GPS data to log with each incident to help with crime analysis, Clark added.

Perhaps as early as next year, police can roll out a citizen’s patrol opportunity to even further enhance safety on the cart path system, Clark said.

So far 16 police officers are trained on the ATVs for path patrol, and another 16 will be trained in the near future, followed by the department’s volunteer auxiliary police unit, the chief said.

The department is also looking to perhaps acquire a golf cart in the future to further add to cart path patrols, Clark said.

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Submitted by Spyglass on Mon, 08/25/2008 - 4:07pm.

is anywhere near safe. They drive faster on the paths than any golf I've seen yet. I appreciate the effort, but for goodness sake, SLOW DOWN and obey the same rules you want us regular citizens to obey.

For the most part, I find that folks are friendly on the paths. In the area I frequent, the paths are busy, and many people will slow down, etc when you are walking, etc. Some folks will not, and are just flat out rude, but I guess that's life.

Submitted by Bonkers on Mon, 08/25/2008 - 6:49pm.

My friend how much do you travel the paths say after 9:00 at night on Friday and Saturday, on into the morning?

Do you ever go home late at night around the section 8s and the apartments?

Those people have as much right to safety as anyone else!

How many friendlies did you find there? Remember the nude swimming?

Imagine what actually happens----not what you want to happen!

Submitted by Spyglass on Mon, 08/25/2008 - 7:54pm.


I'm not sure that the "section 8's" are in one area, I'm sure at some point I've been near one. Re the apartments, yes, I've been behind Harmony Village on a few occasions at night, mainly when coming from a friends house that is out near Redwine and the Parkway.

No friendlies, or unfriendlies found for that matter. Yes I remember the nude swimming episode, and it still gives me a good laugh when I think about it.

The 5-0's picture
Submitted by The 5-0 on Mon, 08/25/2008 - 6:05pm.

How else are we going to catch the speeding golf carts if we can't speed up to catch them?

MissPittyPat's picture
Submitted by MissPittyPat on Sat, 08/23/2008 - 2:28pm.

I am thrilled and delighted! Hope the patrols continue with an increase in dollar amount for citations given. Kids too young, barely touching the pedal of a golf cart are out of control, hanging off golf carts while flying, laughing, having a good time. I see this on a daily basis. Teenagers use the paths like the Indy 500, especially when running late for school. I stopped walking the paths a long time ago because I was nearly run over by an idiot that decided not to stop at an intersection. To his right, coming down a steep hill, a golf cart being driven by a young man, was unable to stop. He took to the right on two wheels to avoid collision and almost hit me. I dove into the wooded area to avoid being run over. By the time I could get up and see the gof carts, both were out of sight for me to get any numbers.
I'll take my chances behind the wheel of a car any day rather than risk my life on the golf cart paths in my area.

Submitted by ptcmom_2_3 on Sat, 08/23/2008 - 9:21am.

How about posting a phone number in this article that citizens can call instead of 911 when they see something on the paths that need attention. If you call 911, you are routed to Fayette County and then they have to route your call to PTC.
I agree with the registration sticker placement. When you pass a cart that has done something wrong, your too late to get the number. Teens are smart, we had an incident where the passenger knew someone was trying to read their number and put his hand over the sticker as they were driving away. Also, when Fall comes around and covers are down, the stickers can not be seen at all.
Evenings and weekends are when the hoodlums are out mostly. I would love to see those new ATV’s out roaming the paths, specially behind the apartment buildings where we have encountered a few problems. I do want to say that PTC was quick to respond! Thank you!

Submitted by NeedtoKnow on Sat, 08/23/2008 - 6:18pm.

When you call 911 in Fayette County, it rings into the Fayette County Communications Center, where anyone that answers the phone will take your call, and where all the dispatchers for all the agencies in the county (5 law enforcement and 3 fire/ems) work in the same room and the call will be immediately dispatched by the proper dispatcher. So while the phone may be answered "Fayette County 911" it is the 911 center for Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Tyrone, etc (because, yep, they're in the county, too!).

The only time your call has to be transferred is if you are using a cellphone and call 911 and your cellphone "hits" off of a tower in another county, so would then be answered by that county. Whatever county it is can easily transfer you to Fayette County, though.

BUT... you asked for a number to call instead of 911. That would be 770.461.HELP (4357). Still rings to the same place... the Fayette County Communications Center. Still answered by the same people. And will still get help to you. So whichever you want to do.

Submitted by Bonkers on Sat, 08/23/2008 - 10:59am.

Those guys aren't crazy in the PD! Only with YOUR phone number and address!

Behind your house they may consider.

What can be done if I say that cart number XXXX is a problem? It is long gone! Just like saying car # XXX XXX was speeding by me!

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Fri, 08/22/2008 - 4:49pm.

I commend the PD for doing this-more checkpoints are needed, but they are needed in the evening and on weekends, not on weekdays. Same with the ATV's. May I suggest we add or change the golf cart registration sticker placement on the carts? We need to add them to the front and backs so when that cart goes by me at a high rate of speed or cuts me off when they go by, I can see the tag number from the front or back if I try to report it? I think a checkpoint to check for horns would be beneficial, too. I bet less than one percent of carts have them. Get the golf cart dealers on Huddleston Rd. involved by seeing if they can advertise a special rate to get a horn added to an older cart. Again, thank you to the PD for making the paths a priority.

Submitted by Dondol on Sat, 08/23/2008 - 1:56pm.

In the words of Elmer Fudd, Be Very Careful what you wish for. All 'Ol Harold needs is just a hint and you'll be paying another $30-$40 for those stickers. Like the last go around, we didn't need to replace the stickers that were on our golf carts, we just needed the little stickers like they use to register your car every year. That would have cost everyone about $5, and you didn't need to slap another large sticker on top of the other one. As for calling the police when you have a problem with another cart, I believe that'll cost you about $50 to file a report, but maybe that went out with the old chief.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Sat, 08/23/2008 - 5:34pm.

Okay, Dondol, the front and back stickers are a suggestion. What is your recommendation for improving the identity of out of control golf carts? Do we know where the money for fines goes to? Maybe some of that could offset any costs for larger or additional stickers. I don't have the answers but after driving on the paths for over 10 years, seeing the volume of carts increase, (and we have carts coming from Redwine Rd. area, too), it is a game of chicken almost every time I ride now.
As far as filing reports, if you can get the registration, the PD will go to the home and talk to the owner there, if they can't/or don't have time to catch them on the path. I have done this 3 or 4 times and there has been no fee involved.

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