by Kay Stephenson
Recently there has been some chatter in the neighborhood that our private security patrol, (FBAC for Fight Back Against Crime) is not visible enough. Some residents feel they don’t know the officers and don’t understand what the patrol does. Over the next few months we will be publishing more information about the program, answering questions, and sharing results of our recent survey.
On a lighter note, we will also be publishing short interviews with each member of the patrol so that we can all know these officers when we see them on the street, and perhaps feel more comfortable approaching them or calling them for assistance. We begin with the profile of Sergeant Chris Clark.
Sgt. Clark is the head of our patrol. He recruits the officers who work for us, sets the schedule, monitors crime reports and trends, and makes assignments for what activities will be pursued during each shift. In addition to working full time for the Atlanta Police Department, and part time with FBAC,
Sgt. Clark coordinates security for many Class A events at Piedmont Park as well as neighborhood events like Summerfest and the Intown 10K race.
Chris has been a part of the Virginia Highland community for over 20 years, and some may be familiar with the courageous stance he has taken on medical marijuana (See the WSBTV story from last year here.
I’ve known Chris for a good while, but there were still things I didn’t know about him. Last week he answered my questions.
Where did you grow up?
I was raised in Lakeland Florida which is in between Tampa and Orlando. There were Orange Groves and Cattle all around. Most folks do not know that Florida is huge cattle country and both my grandfathers owned cattle.
Where did you go to school?
I went to college in the military and attended schools in different cities where my duty stations were located.
How long have you been a Police Officer?
I have been with the Atlanta Police Department for 28 years and have worked in various assignments to include patrol in Zone 6 and several units in the Detective Division.
Have you always worked for the Atlanta Police Department? If Not, where else have you worked?
Besides my stint in the United States Navy, I have always worked for APD.
How long have you been part of FBAC?
I have been part of FBAC in the Virginia Highland Neighborhood for over 20 years when Beth Marks, one of your neighbors, started the off-duty patrol.
Are you married? Do you have children? Pets?
I have been married to my wonderful wife 16 years and have two of the best boys any father could ask for. I also have two horses that are part of our family as well.
What is the best thing about being a police officer?
I have many answers for this question, but I will give you the one most important to me. I have always enjoyed meeting so many different people over the years and a lot of them have become long time good friends. We have the advantage to encounter many people in our job and I would not trade that benefit for anything.
Have you got a safety tip you would like to share with FBAC Members?
Always mind your surroundings! It’s easy to get distracted in this life but try not to get tunnel vision and pay attention to what is going on around you.
If you weren’t a police officer, what career would you have liked to pursue?