BY ELLIE HENSLEY
By most any metric, 2020 has been a difficult year. Fortunately for Major Prenzinna Spann, the new Zone 5 Commander for Atlanta Police Department, she already knows her city and patrolling area like the back of her hand.
Zone 5 is the area that covers Midtown, most of Downtown Atlanta, Ansley Park, Castleberry Hill, Centennial Place, Downtown Atlanta, Mercedes Benz Stadium, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, Home Park, State Farm Arena, Piedmont Park and Sherwood Forest. See Zone 5’s crime data and more here.
Spann was promoted to her new role in January 2020, but she’s been with APD since 2001 and has worked in Zones 1, 2, 4 and 5. She has worked in the criminal investigations unit of the police department, as well as the special victims, robbery, gun assault, internal affairs, and crime stoppers units.
Zone 5 was previously overseen by Major Darin Schierbaum, then Major Michael O’Connor and, briefly, Major Richard Mason before Spann took on the role. Her promotion came as a result of her good rapport with community leadership and constituents. Although she has experience working in most of Atlanta’s zones, she has a special affinity for Zone 5.
“Zone 5 is really the heartbeat of the city,” Spann said. “Although it’s the smallest zone out of six, we have the most activity, and we’re the home of numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as our arenas and largest park.”
Spann and her team work daily with Midtown Blue as a support function to APD to address public safety issues that police officers on regular patrols through the district might otherwise miss.
“Our beat officers can’t always be the eyes and ears for activity in the Midtown area, whereas Midtown Blue can pick up where we left off,” she said. “Midtown Blue often hires APD Zone 5 officers to work additional off-duty shifts, so those officers are familiar with the community and the challenges it faces and they can address them when they’re working both on and off-duty.”
Spann’s first several months as commander of Zone 5 have been a true test of fortitude. National calls for police reform and the pandemic have resulted in staff turnover this year at APD, and she said she and her team appreciate any support they can get from the community.
“APD has certainly faced our share of challenges with 2020 as a whole,” she said. “In the climate we’re working, it will always be looked at as a great thing if community members can take a moment to pat an officer on the back, tell them they’re doing a good job and help to rebuild morale and willpower to assist the community they serve.”
Zone 5 is regarded as one of the safest areas in the City’s 130 square mile footprint. And the Midtown Improvement District’s 1.2 square mile area served by APD and Midtown Blue is even more safe, as 94% of the crime that occurs here is categorized as nonviolent property crime.
View historical year-over-year crime data for the Midtown Improvement District Geographic Subset of APD Zone 5:
When you’re in the district and you encounter a situation that seems unsafe, dial 911 first, then call Midtown Blue at 404-817-0500.