By Dick Williams
For The Crier
Major Tommy Gilstrap, commander of the DeKalb police North Precinct in Dunwoody, has been replaced. Chief Terrell Bolton, in a meeting Sunday with the board of the Dunwoody Homeowners’ Association said Gilstrap had been replaced by now-Major D. Calhoun, a 20-year veteran of the department.
“You’ve had a good organization over time,” said Bolton, “but there comes a time when you have to bring in fresh faces.”
Since Vernon Jones was elected county chief executive in 2000, DeKalb has had five police chiefs, each of whom has shuffled the command staff. Calhoun becomes the third commander of the North Precinct in three years.
The North Precinct change was part of several promotions announced Sunday by Bolton, including a new deputy chief over the North and Tucker precincts and with responsibility for code enforcement. Bolton also named DeKalb’s first female deputy chief.
Calhoun has been with the department for 20 years. He has experience in Youth and Sex Crimes, Narcotics and is a chartered member of the Community-Oriented Police Program. Calhoun received a bachelor of arts degree from Winston-Salem State University.
Bolton briefed the DHA board on his three mobile precincts - motor coaches that move a 50-person command anywhere in the county. They were purchased with confiscated drug funds.
Citing what he called a national standard of 2.7 police officers per 1000 population, Bolton said DeKalb has only 1.3 per thousand.
“That interpolates,” he said, “into a need for 800 more police officers for a major urban city.”
He said he was working with the DeKalb County commission on a plan to add 200 officers in each of the next four years, but said competition for trained personnel from counties such as Gwinnett and cities like Atlanta will make it difficult.
Bolton also responded to reports that the expansion of the North Precinct’s boundaries had reduced the number of officers on patrol in Dunwoody and Brookhaven.
He said nine additional officers were reallocated to the area so that current patrols are maintained.
The chief also pledged to work with the DHA on code enforcement. One of Bolton’s deputies said code enforcement force was well understaffed, but hiring was underway.