By that measure the richest man in Atlanta isn't Arthur Blank.
It's Pat Apoian (right) .
Detective Pat (as he's known) is an Atlanta Police officer who was injured last Friday while pulling a double-shift on behalf of the Kirkwood Security Patrol, a neighborhood group I belong to. He was called to a domestic disturbance a few blocks from my home, and was run over by (allegedly) a 29-year old named Khalif Edwards, who remains at large.
Last night four area restaurants got together on a fund-raiser for him. I went to the closest one, at Avellino's Pizza, and found an overflow crowd enjoying pizza, beer, and filling a tip bucket in his honor. Some 20% of the restaurant's receipts last night were also dedicated to him, as were 15% at three other area restaurants.
Det. Pat represents community policing, which I think is the best kind of policing there is. He knows the people he serves, and we know him. He knows where the trouble is, knows where most of the troublemakers are, and he lets us know, which keeps us all safer.
Community policing is making a comeback these days after any decades underground. Dragnet-style policing, in which cops want “just the facts” and go from call-to-call, has been the norm for a half-century, and it doesn't work. Cops who connect with their community were satirized in the show “Car 54, Where Are You” but they actually got a job done.
It's one thing to advocate something. It's something else to put your life on the line for it. That's what Det. Pat did, and last week he nearly lost it. That's a risk common to all our heroes, indeed to all of us, when the instruments of death are so common – cars, hard drugs, guns. Cops face these hazards every day, and the only people who have my contempt are those who claim these people just do it for the money.
We love you, Det. Pat. All of us, in Kirkwood, and in Decatur. We honor your service. We hope you get well soon, and pray that we again see you doing the hardest work that must be done.