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A new security plan, coupled with a much smaller than usual crowd, made for a peaceful resumption of Piedmont Park’s summer film series Thursday night.

Atlanta police reported no arrests and no major disruptions, said Atlanta Police Department spokesman Carlos Campos. “From a public safety standpoint, the new plan was a success,” he said.

Screen on the Green’s return was delayed one week after roving groups of teens took over the June 3 showing of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

Then, there was roughly one police officer for every 500 movie viewers, with an estimated crowd of 10,000 showing up for the action blockbuster. Atlanta Police would not disclose numbers for Thursday night’s film, except to say the private security force — paid for by sponsors Peachtree TV and the Piedmont Park Conservancy — had been tripled.

They were flanked by off-duty APD officers and a mobile command patrol empowered to marshal on-duty cops, if necessary.

“Communication was a big problem last time,” said APD Lt. Joe Spillane, assistant commander with Zone 5. “We’re all on the same channel this time.”

With “Dreamgirls” appealing to a less broad audience and stormy weather keeping many moviegoers away from the sundown showing, APD was able to use Thursday’s screening as something of a dress rehearsal.

“[Attendees] want to see [security], but they don’t want to see so many where they think this is a police state,” Spillane told the AJC.

A handful of on-duty police officers, some on horses, were spotted before the film’s start, and a cadre of undercover APD school detectives were dispatched throughout the crowd, which appeared closer to 1,000 than the 10,000 who packed the park two weeks ago.

“Everywhere I’ve turned I see a cop,” said John Rogers, 29, of Marietta, who attended with his wife and 10-week-old baby, adding he did not mind the extra security.

Read the full story here.


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