[Officer Mike] Costello, 28, bought this three-bedroom bungalow in Atlanta’s Edgewood neighborhood in April as part of a new program by the Atlanta Police Foundation to help more officers live within the city limits. As tensions have heightened nationwide between police and the communities they serve, the program in Atlanta – which launched before the most recent demonstrations – aims to include officers as part of those communities.
In Atlanta, less than about 25 percent of police officers live within the city’s limits, said Marlon Trone, vice president of programs at the Atlanta Police Foundation.
“We’re trying desperately to change the culture, change the percentage,” Trone said. “We are actively pursuing officers, engaging them, and making – adding those extra layers of incentives for them to move and relocate.”
Costello said he’d been eyeing living in Edgewood for a while, but that the prices on homes had been too high. ...
“I didn’t really dream of owning a home before I was 30, so I’m very happy about it,” Costello said.
As part of the program, the police foundation helped to renovate the house, which had been previously blighted property, and helped Costello with closing costs. He also receives a $300 stipend a month. In turn, Costello said he has promises to the community he has to keep, like going to neighborhood meetings and doing what are known as “knock and talks.”
“I’ll just be going up to people’s houses, knocking on the door. Hopefully, they’ll want to speak to me. It’s a positive visit. I’m not executing a search warrant or anything like that,” Costello said. “I really just want to get to know them.”