Surveillance tower used as deterrent in Marietta park
by Geoff Folsom
gfolsom@mdjonline.com
January 12, 2013 12:34 AM | 4708 views | 5 5 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Marietta Police security tower is set up at Al Burruss Park in Marietta. The park is in an area the city made improvements to in order to keep out men who take part in illegal sex acts, but the presence of the tower does not mean more crime has been taking place there, according to the police department.<br>Staff/Emily Barnes
A Marietta Police security tower is set up at Al Burruss Park in Marietta. The park is in an area the city made improvements to in order to keep out men who take part in illegal sex acts, but the presence of the tower does not mean more crime has been taking place there, according to the police department.
Staff/Emily Barnes
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MARIETTA — Marietta Police say that the use of a mobile surveillance tower at Burruss Nature Park should not be seen as a sign that people are again using the park for illicit acts.

“It’s just there to be a deterrent and to keep a watchful eye,” said Marietta Police spokesman Officer David Baldwin. “We haven’t had any calls on it or anything. It’s better to be proactive instead of just reactive.”

Baldwin said the tower, also called the “Spy in the Sky,” is used at a number of locations around the city, including the Marietta Square and various shopping centers.

But it stands out in the parking lot of the wooded 45.6-acre Burruss Park on South Cobb Drive near Cobb Parkway, which is in an area the city made improvements to in order to keep out men who take part in illegal sex acts.

In 2009, Police Chief Dan Flynn said up to 10 misdemeanor arrests were being made in a month at Burress and nearby Wildwood Park .

And parks director Rich Buss said at the time that the parking lot was a popular hangout for gay men, and that any man who walks alone through the park was likely to be propositioned.

Among the improvements to the facility were a dog park at nearby Wildwood Park on Barclay Circle, where complaints of illegal activity were also common, and new bicycle trails at Burruss and Wildwood.

Some vegetation was cleared out to make it more difficult for people to conceal themselves during sexual activity. In addition, the surveillance tower was placed there and was credited with helping keep some potential illegal activity away.

“You have a specific purpose when you go over there now,” said City Councilman Grif Chalfant, who once called the activity in the park “perverted.” “You go to the dog park or you go to ride. If you’re not doing those, then you really shouldn’t be there.”

Chalfant said he is pleased to see the police tower being used as a deterrent to crime in the parks and elsewhere.

“I think it is a good thing to move it around and make people aware that (police) are active in the city,” he said.

Chalfant said that one of the advantages of the tower is its tinted windows, which prevents people from being able to tell whether or not a police officer is eyeing them.

“You really don’t know whether there’s anyone there or not,” he said. “It’s a pretty good little deterrent.”
Comments
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Southern Patriot
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January 13, 2013
Postings photos is a great idea, however some of our fellow readers might be surprised when they see familiar faces...... such as their beloved "Bible pounding" pastor, the "compassionate" undertaker who buried their sainted mother, a "God fearing and teetotaling" politician from an adjoining county, or perhaps their child's "very viril" football coach. However, if their favorite florist or hair dresser was arrested they would be totally nonplussed.
anonymous
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January 14, 2013
No, yeah right, we are not in Germany. We are trying to keep things like AIDS and child abuse in check and I wouldn't set a 12 year old son loose in that park to explore nature. People can practice whatever s__ they want to practice in the privacy of their own home. Whether it be male/male prostition or female/male prostitution, a county paid for public park is not the place for it. How can you defend s__ in a public park and compare that to Germany????? You must be one of those that frequent the park to have s____. O-k-a-y. Why don't we just open the parking lot at the mall for this same activity then?
More is needed
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January 12, 2013
There are other areas that these degenerates will gravitate to and the enforement needs to match the problem. Posting their pictures in the paper and stiff charges would be somewhat of a deterrent. It appears they may be starting in Leone Hall Price Park in west Cobb, but they will be run out of there if the locals have anything to say about it.
Yeah Right
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January 13, 2013
Great, just what we need, more para military gear for law enforcement to keep those evil homos in their place. After all, they might actually be Al Queda terrorists hiding in the bushes at Wildwood masquerading as gay men.

What next, a Peacekeeper to roll down Cobb parkway to conduct traffic stops? This is an absurd waste of money and resources. Spying on citizens is not what I want my police doing. I though they were here to SERVE us not spy on us and act as some kind of occupational force.

Are we in Germany?
anonymous
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January 14, 2013
I have been to this park and have been shocked at what I have witnessed there between two males. The city is doing the absolute right thing. This park has been a gathering place for men to go out into the woods to do, well, I won't say, for years, and they don't care who sees them. They have put the tower up before, but just days after it is gone, the perverts come back. Stiffer fines needs to be enforced. Put their pictures in the paper for a whole month and here on the MDJ web site; fine them double; keep the tower up for at least a month, then patrol every 15 minutes for another month. Then patrol again and again for a whole year. Perverts won't go away until you force them out. They need to be forced out.
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