A $1 million gift from the Loudermilk Family will play a major role in making the city's police video integration center the best in the country, officials said Moday.
The downtown center was named for the Loudermilk family Monday as Mayor Kasim Reed, Police Chief George Turner and Atlanta Police Foundation President Dave Wilkinson thanked Charlie and Robin Loudermilk and Lisa Degolian for the gift.
Wilkinson expressed "heartfelt thanks for this generous gift that will pay back for years." He added later that the city will "create a state of the art, best in class center in the U.S." With the video integration center, the police can gather information as a crime occurs and respond immediately.
Charlie Loudermilk, the founder of Buckhead's Aarons Inc. and a longtime philanthropist, thanked the police department for helping the company over the years and said the city's business community is happy with the Reed administration, particularly its emphasis on public safety. Loudermilk said the business community has never "felt any safer than we are today."
His son, Robin Loudermilk, said the video integration center will help the city attract visitors and families. He said it will give a message to the criminal element, "we're not going to put up with that in Atlanta." The Loudermilk family is going into its fourth generation in the city, he said, and is committed to its future.
After the ceremony, Robin Louidermiilk glanced at the row of monitors showing detailed images of city streets. Loudermilk, a member of the Buckhead Community Improvement District board, said that soon the 16 security cameras the Buckhead CID funded will be integrated into the system. The security cameras are expected to be operational in mid-April in the Buckhead central business district.
He recalled the Loudermilk family's support of securiity cameras in the Buckhead Village. "It all started with the Buckhead Alliance years ago," he said, remembering when an Atlanta police substation in Buckhead kept an eye on the monitors.
With the Loudermilk gift, the video inegration center will move toward the latest technology, including enhanced analytics, integration of the 911 system and the detection of weapons. Wilkinson said the business community has committed $3 million to $4 million and that federal money will be sought to "build out" the $30 million to $50 million system. "It's going to continue to grow for years to come," he said.
Turner said he wants to work with neigbhorhoods, especially those with high crime rates, to install cameras.
Reed cited the Loudermilk family's long record of generosity to the city. "You haven't just given today," he said. "You have given and given and given."