Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Community Meeting on Dunwoody Police - Tonight 6 pm at North Shallowford Annex, 2nd Floor (Shallowford & Peachford). Link to Polar Plunge Police Donation Page.

I am a fan and proud supporter of the Dunwoody Police Department and more specifically, a supporter of the Officers who do the daunting job of protecting our community.  The job is extremely stressful and hard on family life whereby the men and women who provide this service not only see but routinely handle the worst aspects of everyday life.

As a City Councilman, I am not allowed to blindly be just a fan of our Police Department, but I sometimes need to question, discuss, suggest and raise topics behind closed doors in order to be assured that our Department is always improving, adopting best practices, saving lives, protecting property and being ready to jump into action for the next bad day, be that a shooting at the mall, an incident at a school or an interaction between our Department and a resident.  We are selective as to the hiring of our officers and once on the force they are rigorously trained on both hard and soft skills of dealing with all aspects of our community, many of whom have special needs.  After that training, our officers are seen in the community, personally interacting with residents and humanizing the job of police officer as a trusted member of the community, because that is what they are. 

As a City Councilman, I review public arrest data, talk to residents, read the news and all aspects of social media; I meet with Police Management along with the City Manager to discuss issues, trends and to keep informed, I talk one on one with police officers as well as my fellow Council-members.  I as a member of Council, do my due diligence to ensure our Department is fulfilling the mission of providing professional law enforcement services to those within our borders and doing so with a goal of continuous improvement; and to that end, I can attest that we have that professionalism here in the City of Dunwoody.

I also believe that the main characteristics of good police officers are being physically fit, having integrity, empathy, team orientation, adaptability, even-tempered, having common sense, a desire to learn and having good communication skills.  If you look at the list above, being perfect is not listed as it is a quality as that is unattainable but striving for excellence for yourself and those around you, training to proficiency or certification while as a Department being self-reflective as to where we are, where we need to improve, all the while attempting to implement best industry practices.  That is the goal and we are meeting those objectives.  I am proud of our Department.

The Dunwoody City Council is now investing in a study of self-reflection of the Dunwoody Police Department and we need your help to provide us feedback.  Please attend tonight's meeting to give personal feedback or suggestions on the Department or I also see that there is a link available to  provide comments / questions.  In order to prepare for tonights meeting I would suggest you (everyone) review the Police Website and maybe a more informative read from an overview perspective is to read the 2021 Annual Report of the Dunwoody Police Department.

If you are happy with the actions of the police department and trust the leadership to continue providing the oversight appropriate for efficiency & effectiveness, therefore seeing no reason to comment.... here is something for you.  Today is also the annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Georgia, where members of the Dunwoody Police Department will once again be wearing funny-looking swim suits to take an ice bath to raise funds for an important cause.  If you would like to make a donation to support the Departments efforts, here is the link to do so.

Below is the meeting information and below that I have copied the mission and vision statements of the Department.

The City of Dunwoody (City) is working with BerryDunn, a national consulting firm, to conduct a comprehensive operational assessment of the Dunwoody Police Department. This independent assessment requires a thorough review of information from both internal and external sources.

The City is seeking community perspectives on how the Dunwoody Police Department performs its public safety function in serving Dunwoody residents and visitors. In addition, like many other areas of the country, the City is interested in evaluating the traditional police call for service (CFS) model. It is possible, and perhaps likely, that certain CFS might be better addressed through non-traditional methods.

The City, Dunwoody Police Department and BerryDunn are hosting a special community meeting to discuss these topics, and to explore thoughts and ideas from the community. Please join us for this meeting on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Dunwoody North Shallowford Annex, located at 4470 N. Shallowford Road, Dunwoody, GA 30338 (upstairs).

We welcome positive comments, as well as constructive feedback and suggestions for improving the department so it can meet the needs of the community. 

Founded on April 1, 2009

The Dunwoody Police Department provides professional law enforcement services to the residents, businesses, and visitors of Dunwoody.

The Dunwoody Police Department has the best and the brightest officers providing the highest level of service to the community. Our officers are committed to keeping Dunwoody a safe community and the Dunwoody Police Department a great place to work by promoting the highest standard of integrity, rigorous training, and maintaining numerous advanced certifications.

The Dunwoody Police Department works hard to engage the community in partnerships that help to reduce crime and improve the quality of life for Dunwoody citizens. By practicing a community policing philosophy throughout our organization we get to know the community we serve and the community gets to know us. Our department provides a variety of community outreach programs designed to build relationships in the community and provide participants with important information.

Mission Statement

To protect life and property by upholding the law through fair and impartial policing while being a trusted partner with our community in order to reduce crime and create a safer Dunwoody.


To provide a high level of professionalism, service and excellence in law enforcement while modeling our core values. By doing this, we enable our citizens to live, work and play safely, while enjoying an exceptional quality of life.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Dunwoody City Council Agenda for Monday January 23, 2023. (Girls Softball, Paving, Edge City, Spruill Arts, Survey)

January 23, 2023 - 6:00 PM

Agenda 6 pm  - City Site Agenda 

City Council meetings are live-streamed on the City of Dunwoody’s Facebook page

They are also available for viewing (no two way communication) on Zoom,  or 
phone +14702509358,,82324264973#

You can access the video after the meeting on the City of Dunwoody’s YouTube page.


Public comments - in person 3 min each / 30 min max with additional at end of meeting if needed.

Spruill Center for the Arts Presentation

Approval of 5-Year Contract Extension with Axon Enterprise, Inc. for Body Worn Cameras

Approval of 5-Year Contract Extension with Axon Enterprise, Inc. for In-Car Video Cameras

Contract for 2023 Pavement Resurfacing

Funding Authorization for 2419 Redcliff Way Storm Repairs

Edge City 2.0

Articles below related to Edge City by Atlanta Business Chronicle, - I have been arguing condos over apartments for years and these articles finally lean that way.

How Dunwoody is plotting sustainable growth, with empty-nesters in mind

Shape our future:' Dunwoody to craft plan for reenergizing Perimeter Center

Facility Usage Agreement with Peachtree Club Softball

Authorization to contract with Probolsky Research for the 2023 Community Survey

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Did you know the Scott Candler Reservoir in Dunwoody puts 1,000's of people at risk everyday? I asked a few questions of @DeKalbWatershed @ItsInDeKalb @DeKalbCountyEMA @atlantamagazine @JohnRuchAtlanta @SeanPMcGinnis

Review the path of flood, the heights of the water and the little warning time available. (Link)

The photo & link above is an abbreviated section of the full Emergency Action Plan telling local authorities and residents what to expect in the case of a dam rupture at the Scott Candler Reservoir.  It is not a fun read but for residents and local jurisdictional governments, this topic needs to be discussed, reviewed and possibly improved upon.

Dunwoody and most of DeKalb County gets its clean water from the Scott Candler Water Treatment Facility located in Dunwoody between Winters Chapel and Peeler.  When you drive east on Peeler past Tilly Mill, you see the beautifully landscaped path along the water works, you see the two huge pools of water sitting down below street level that holds millions of gallons of water from the Chattahoochee.  But what you don't see from the street level are the two huge dams (55 & 59 ft tall) holding back a torrent of water that if released, due to dam failure, would quickly wash away numerous homes in the Dunwoody North Community.  

If the dams were to rupture, a tidal wave of catastrophe would roll along the Nancy Creek Tributary all the way to 285 then on to Murphy Candler Park and beyond where it would finally flood the Marist School in Brookhaven.  Based on the attached engineering study, a dam failure would wipe out numerous homes, apartment complexes & businesses where it would put many of my friends and neighbors under up to 27 feet of water. It would easily be a Billion Dollar catastrophic disaster and the DeKalb Water System would then need to be rebuilt as the County's main water supply would be out of commission.  This loss of important infrastructure would cripple our County economically and threaten the heath and safety of all residents.  DeKalb County has the responsibility to ensure dam stability and they hire an outside dam inspection firm every two years to file a report with the State.  The County also has the responsibility to have an Emergency Action Plan (in case of rupture).

As an elected representative of the people of Dunwoody, I decided to ask for proof of compliance for Dam Inspections as required by the State in an email to DeKalb Watershed, where Commissioner Robert Patrick and the State Environmental Protection Division were also copied.

Reading various newspaper articles and other reports that concerned me regarding general maintenance on the facility, I sent the email below asking questions about dam safety about clean water tank safety as the linked report stated that the Scott Candler facility had 3 steel reservoir tanks built from 1950 to 1970 that were responsible for holding 15 million gallons of potable water. That water was then dispersed to DeKalb County for customer use. In 2018, the 2nd reservoir tank’s roof started to collapse in on itself. Scott Candler Water Treatment Facility (SCWTF) set out to rebuild these old tanks and extend their lifespan. The tanks would have their coatings stripped, any damage discovered would be repaired, and the old roofs on tank 2 and 3 would be removed and replaced. The coatings would then be replaced both inside and outside to prevent any future rusting on the tank. 

Finally because I work in chemical safety processes everyday for my full time work, I asked about their processes for chemical safety.

From: John Heneghan <>
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2022
To: Hayes, David E. <DEHayes>; Griffin, David <David.Griffin>; Robert Patrick <rjpatrick

Subject: Questions regarding dam inspections & Emergency Action Plan at Scott Candler Water Treatment Dams

Mr. Hayes, as the interim Director of the Watershed Management of DeKalb County, I will direct this message to you for reply but I am also copying in Commissioner Patrick, Dunwoody City Manager Eric Linton and State DNR representative Mr. Griffin for awareness and in case they can assist.

It has been a few years since I have been on the Scott Candler Water Treatment Facility property for a tour and it might be time to do it once again for Dunwoody folks when appropriate.  Until then, I am raising a few questions related to the safety of the neighbors to the water treatment facility that I would like answered.  I have no reason to be concerned specifically related to this facility but a news story in Atlanta Magazine entitled "In the Flood Zone" has raised my general concern, and then a few internet searches later, I am now forced as an elected official to assure myself of my communities safety & long term well being.

Based on a recent story in Atlanta Magazine (December 2022 edition) and a historic newspaper article from 2017 specifically highlighting the Scott Candler Water Treatment Dams, I am interested in reviewing the latest Dam inspections for Scott Candler Reservoir #1 and Dam #2 that may be dated 02/04/21.  I would also like to read the condition assessment dated the same date and I would also like to read the 2023 evaluations / inspection when complete in 2023 as the two year reinspection would be due in February.    Based on the height and volume behind the dam, I consider the Scott Candler dams to be high-hazard but the attached spreadsheets may not show this to be true?  That being said, I am also interested in reading the latest Emergency Action Plan for possible dam failure at the Scott Candler Water Treatment Facility.

I know there are huge water storage tanks on the property and besides the safety inspections of those tanks, I am interested in the mitigation structures that may be installed (raised containment berms to hold all the liquid) as I want to be assured that plans are in place to protect the neighboring residents from the water in those tanks.

Finally, I am interested in knowing about the chemical stored / used on site.  Does the facility use Chlorine Gas in the processes or does it use the safer Sodium Hydrochloride Liquid?  If using the gas, I am interested in your emergency plan for residents if there was a large-scale release of gas?  If using gas, are the internal storage tanks of Chlorine refilled on-site ?  If using gas, does the gas come in large ton tanks or in large / long steel cylinders?  I ask because I am concerned in the amount of Chlorine gas being stored on site.


John Heneghan, Mayor Pro Tem
Dunwoody City Council

Kudos and thank you to DeKalb County, both Watershed Management and the Administration (Zack Williams), as well as County Commissioner Robert Patrick for ensuring our safety to make sure these dams are safe and for providing documentation and answering my questions. It is appreciated.

Kudos and thank you to Mr. David Griffin of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division for also ensuring our safety (by staying after DeKalb) to make sure these dams are safe and for providing documentation and answering my questions.

I was informed that both Scott Candler #1 and #2 are high hazard dams.  They are not included on the HHPD eligible dams list because the dams on that list are dictated by requirements from FEMA for a specific grant program.  The State EPD provided the copy of the engineer inspection from 2021 and the Emergency Action Plan for these dams.  Note that an inspection for 2023 has not been submitted yet, and is not due until April 30, 2023 - but I will request it when appropriate.

I was informed the county does not house nor use Chlorine gas at the water plant. They do in fact use the safer Sodium Hypochlorite to maintain disinfection in the distribution system. There are 3 ground storage water tanks on site that can each hold up to 5 million gallons of  water. These tank have been recently rebuilt to ensure they are structurally sound.

Overall I am glad DeKalb has a dam inspection survey on hand, and that they have an Emergency Action Plan but I am disappointed that the EAP did not mention the City of Dunwoody, nor coordination with the Dunwoody Police.  City of Dunwoody Communications team should also be ready to share grim Emergency news via reverse 911 and other means available. DeKalb County Emergency operations might want to do a table top exercise testing how emergency services might work if the dams were breached.

I will be requesting that the City Manager and Police Chief have the appropriate staff review the Emergency Action Plan, possibly meet with DeKalb Emergency Operations and ask that the EAP plans be updated with Dunwoody information where appropriate.

I pray those dams never fail!   I hope DeKalb County follows the law and operational best practices when it comes to maintaining & inspecting those dams so that they can last for many, many more years.

I hope the affected residents are aware of the slim possibility that severe flood damage to their property is possible.  I hope that residents study the included flood maps for situational awareness because someday a reverse 911 or other emergency message may be given and that should not be the first time for residents to hear of this threat. 

We need to hope for the best but plan for the worst and when it comes to important safety activities being conducted by a governmental entity, we trust but verify.