Posts on Jan 1970

Police Department Exploring Options for Funeral Escorts

Approximately two weeks ago, Chief James Chadwick met with funeral home directors concerning safety issues with police escorts during funeral processions.  Also, at or around the same time the Chief had a Sergeant in the Patrol Division to contact several other law enforcement agencies in the surrounding area to see how they handle funeral processions.

The Chief was concerned for the safety of motorists during a funeral procession and met with the directors to voice these concerns and discuss ways to make the escort safer.  Currently, the procedure that is followed involves a single police officer arriving at the funeral home shortly before the escort is needed.  Once the procession is underway, the officer, using emergency lights, leads the vehicles through the city to the grave site. 

The problem is that with a long escort, friends or relatives of the deceased toward the end of the procession will pass through a red traffic signal with no police vehicle present to notify other drivers of the escort.  This could possibly cause a traffic crash since other motorist may not be looking for a others proceeding through the intersection on a red light.

Georgia Code 40-6-76 governs Funeral Processions.  While given the "right of way" at intersections, participants of the procession are not allowed to proceed through a red traffic signal under the law unless an officer is present controlling the intersection.

For the procession to be done safely and legally, it will require an officer be present at each intersection the procession will pass through.  It is estimated that it will take 5 officers to conduct a procession which will last approximately 30 minutes from the funeral home to the grave site.  If this is done, it would put a strain on the remaining officers to respond to the calls for service during that time frame.  Also, the police department can’t predict or control events that may occur.  It is possible that an emergency call can happen during a procession requiring all officers to respond.  This must be taken into consideration.

Further discussion will continue to try and identify a solution that is both safe and legal, and still provide for a proper police response to other members of the community.

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DUI Arrests Up in 2006

DUI arrests were up in 2006 with a total of 593 versus 441 in 2005 representing a 35% increase.  This number represents the highest number of arrests for DUI in the past ten years.  The highest prior arrest numbers were in 1997 with 523 offenses.  This is a clear indication that officers are focusing in on DUI offenders.

According to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website, nearly 1.4 million driver’s were arrested nationally for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in 2005.  Also during 2005, 16,885 people in the U.S. died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes.  This represents 39% of all traffic related crashes.

Georgia State Law, O.C.G.A. 40-6-391, prohibits anyone from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol of drugs.  The blood alcohol limit in Georgia is .08 grams anytime within a three hour period of driving.

Present at some law enforcement sites is a program where the individual can enter basic information into a  "Drink Wheel" and get an estimate of what their blood alcohol concentration will be.  It is important to note that this should be used as a guide only as many other variables will factor into determining your true blood alcohol level.

The bottom line is this:

If you have been drinking at all, you should not be driving.  If you follow this simple rule, you will never be arrested DUI.

Download DUIStats2006.pdf

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The Patrol Officers Role in Crime Reduction

In 2006, the Dalton Police Department saw a dramatic decrease in the crime rate in our City.  Much of this can be attributed to the department’s patrol officer.

The duties of the current law enforcement professional today is extensive.  No longer is an officer merely required to just ride around and answer calls they receive.  The Dalton Police Department now requires more of it’s officers. 

In the past, officers would patrol his or her designated area or beat and responded to calls when dispatched.  Once at the scene of the call, they would take the initial report and then turn the case over to the Criminal Investigative Division. 

Now officers are doing more during the initial call and conducting many of their own investigations.  While the investigations will generally not be as involved as one done by the department’s Investigative Division, a basic limited investigation by the patrol officer has led to many cases being solved before the detectives are involved. 

Officers are also much more aware of crimes in there area due to receiving accurate and timely reports from our crime analyst, Tonya Dial.  Ms. Dial uses reported data to plot crime within a sector and reports on any "hotspots" that are present.  Armed with this information, the officers can zero in on these areas with various techniques to reduce or eliminate crime within their sectors.

Officers have also increased their use of Field Interview Reports.  Officers are making contact with individuals walking or driving within their sector.  With this contact, the officer reports the person’s name and circumstances for the contact.  These reports are forwarded to the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) for review.  If CID has a crime in a particular area, they now have information on who was in the area during the time of the incident.  This information can be very valuable in identifying possible suspects for the crime.

Through these and other innovative techniques, patrol officers will continue to target criminals and their actions to reduce crime in our City.

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2006 Officer of the Year

The 2006 Officer of the year award was recently named at the Elks Lodge’s annual event.  Every year the Dalton Police Department gives an award to a member of the police department for outstanding performance.  This years recipient for the Dalton Police Department is Officer Torrey Payne. 

Officer Payne started with the Dalton Police Department in September of 2004.  He is currently serving as a patrol officer with the department’s patrol division.  Officer Payne had recently returned from a 6 month tour of duty in Iraq prior to his employment. 

Since his employment with the department he has earned 2 outstanding performance awards.  He also serves as one of the department’s Field Training Officers.

In November of 2006, Officer Payne responded to a call were he found a 3 year old girl who was non responsive.  She was not breathing and did not have a heartbeat.  Officer Payne immediately began CPR and continued to do so until Fire and Emergency Services Personnel arrived.  Although the child died later at the hospital of cardiac arrest, Officer Payne’s quick response gave the child a second chance. 

For this action Officer Payne received the Officer of the Month award for November 2006.  This event, along with his excellent work conducted throughout the year, led to him being named Officer of the Year.

Payne2006_2 Officer Torrey Payne.  Recently awarded Officer of the Year for 2006

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Duties of a Dalton Police Officer

The Patrol Division is currently made up of 71 sworn officers.  There are three shifts within the patrol division with each shift made up of approximately 17 officers and 2 sergeants.  With scheduled off days, vacation, training, court, and sick leave, the city generally has about 8 officers and 1 sergeant working each 9-hour shift.

The officer’s day starts with a briefing in the roll-call room.  In this briefing, the sergeant goes over any past crime activity the officers need to be aware of.  Following the briefing, the officer gets into their vehicle which will serve as their office for the next 9 hours. 

Inside the vehicle is an array of electronic equipment the officer must navigate to aid them in their duties.  These include the in-car radio, emergency lights, siren, on-board computer, on-board printer, and video surveillance equipment. 

The on-board computer itself has multiple functions and allows the officer the ability to:

  • Access to email
  • Communicate with other officers
  • View what calls other officers are engaged in
  • Access personal and vehicle information through the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC)
  • Issue, print, and transmit citations
  • Enter incident reports into the department’s Records Management System
  • Create accident reports that can be printed at the station
  • Access municipal codes and ordinances
  • Access Records System to view past activity based on location or personal information
  • Receive dispatch information sent to laptop from 911 CAD server
  • View other dispatched activity including those of Fire, Police, and Ambulance calls
  • Access to Reverse 911 Emergency Notification System for alerts

Last year alone the police department responded to over 50,000 calls for service.  We are the only service operating 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year that will respond to any call for any reason.  Once at a location, the officer may find that it is not a police matter and refer the caller to the proper authority but we will respond to the initial call.

In addition to the calls for service, the officer is also responsible for monitoring crime in their sectors by reviewing crime analysis, patrolling streets and neighborhoods, and talking with residents and business owners to gain valuable information about criminal activity or problem areas.  Officers are also tasked with investigating and making reports on motor vehicle crashes within the City.

The officer must possess a wealth of knowledge about both criminal and civil law.  Our calls can range from something as simple as taking a report for stolen property to as complex as determining custody of a minor child to separated parents and as stressful as a domestic dispute or "man with a gun" call .  The officer must also keep abreast of current laws, court decisions, use of force protocol, and departmental policy.

The officer’s responsibilities do not stop once the offender is charged.  The officer must be prepared to review past cases in preparation for testifying in both superior and municipal court.  There is also the responsibility of the officer to work with the magistrate court to obtain and serve warrants for crimes they are working.

To all the above, add to it that the officer rotates to a different shift every 6 months, must work most holidays, weekends and special events and it is easy to understand that recruiting qualified individuals who are interested in serving their community can be very difficult.  Luckily, service oriented citizens are still interested in giving back to the community and taking on the enormous responsibility associated with being a police officer. 

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Dalton Posts Significant Reduction in Crime for 2006

2006 marked a good year for the citizens of Dalton and for the Police Department.  A tabulation of the crime statistics for 2006 showed a significant reduction in both crimes against persons and crimes against property even though the national crime rate had risen slightly during the same time period.  These 8 crimes are reported to the FBI as Index Crimes as part of the agencies Uniform Crime Report (UCR).

The 4 crimes against persons include Homicide, Rape, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault.  The police department reported a 28% decrease in these 4 crimes.  The 4 crimes against property include Burglary, Larceny (Theft), Motor Vehicle Theft, and Arson.  There was a 32% decrease among these 4 crimes. 

It is important to point out that of the 8 crimes that make up the Index Crimes, approximately 90% come from crimes against property.  Another consideration is that of the crimes against persons, the vast majority involve individuals that know each other.  It is rare to see a crime of Homicide, Rape, Robbery, or Aggravated Assault between strangers.  In many of these cases there is a history of prior confrontations that lead up to one of these major crimes.

One of the most notable reductions was with burglaries.  In 2005, the city had 322 burglaries.  By the end of 2006, that number had been reduced to 216 representing a 33% decrease.  The department had seen a surge of burglaries, particularly for residences, in 2005.  In light of this increase, the department began a comprehensive strategy to address this increase. First, a greater emphasis on the patrol officer to conduct basic investigations at the scene.  Second, obtaining information from our crime analyst in identifying crime "hot spots". And third, increased use of "field interview reports" by patrol units.

One other area the department addressed is increased education of the public on crime prevention techniques.  With non-forced burglaries, just locking your doors and windows would have prevented many of these burglaries.  Through educational campaigns, residents were informed and responded by better securing their homes.

According to Officer Chris McDonald, the department’s crime prevention officer, "Part of the department’s vision is to form co-active partnerships with our citizens.  Educating the public through our website, our blog, and personal contacts form valuable partnerships and act as a force multiplier to address these crime issues".

In addition, 2006 saw an increase in DUI and Drug arrests showing that officers are focusing in on these crimes as well.

The department’s goal for 2007 is to reduce crime an additional 5%. 

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Becoming a Police Officer: Completing the Academy

Once the applicant has completed the lengthy selection process and is selected as an employee for the department, they begin the 1-week orientation period in preparation to attending the academy.  Following the academy, the cadet will begin a lengthy 17-week Police Training Officer (PTO) training program.

Orientation period – During the orientation period, the cadet is issued equipment, completes necessary paperwork, and begins learning about the department’s duty sidearm and fundamentals of shooting.  The cadet must, by the end of the week, demonstrate a basic level of proficiency with the duty pistol by passing the police department’s firearms qualification course.  The cadet will spend approximately 24 hours of instruction on firearm fundamentals during the week long orientation period.

Academy – The academy that most cadets will attend is the Regional Police Academy in Dalton.  The academy is 10 weeks long and includes one week of firearms qualification and 3 days of Emergency Vehicle Operators Course held in Forsyth, Georgia at the Georgia Police Services Training Center (GPSTC)

PTO program – At the completion of the academy, the cadet begins a lengthy 17-week training program.  In this program, the officer will be assigned to several PTO instructors.  While with these training officers, the new officer will be taught all aspects of patrol duty through both hands on experience and problem based learning exercises.  The new officer will generally work all three shifts during their time in the program.  At the completion of this program, the new officer will be assigned to one of three shifts operating in the patrol division.

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Blog Receives Close to 17,000 Hits

With the Blog just over 6 months old, it has logged close to 17,000 hits by residents.  The Blog went on-line in September of 2006 following a recommendation from the Chief that a media outlet be created to inform the public of crime tips and information to the area residents.  The Blog also does something the website currently is incapable of doing and that is allowing comments from the public.

"Our goal is to provide current up-to-date information to the residents of Dalton about crime that is occurring in their neighborhoods and to also provide them with tips they can use to help them to not be a victim of crime", says Officer Chris McDonald, the department’s crime prevention officer and primary coordinator of the Blog.

"With the Blog, we have the ability to provide the public with complete unfiltered information on a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week basis".

The police department tries to post material on a daily basis to the blog ranging from security tips to crime information.  Insights into the workings of the department are included.

"Our mission is to provide the community of Dalton a safe environment with professional quality police service through positive interaction with its citizens.  The Blog is one of many tools in place to help us achieve this mission" – Chief of Police, James D. Chadwick

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Police Looking for Suspect in Theft of Wallet

The Dalton Police Department is asking for public assistance in identifying a suspect in the theft of a wallet.  The theft occurred on January 31st, 2007 at approximately 8:00 a.m. at the Favorite Market located at 811 Riverbend Road in Dalton.

Video surveillance tape shows the victim lay down his wallet to pay for an item and leave the store.  It also shows the suspect picking up the wallet and leaving the store.  Video surveillance still photos are attached to this document to help identify the suspect.

The suspect appears to be a Hispanic male, average height, medium to heavy build, dark hair with goatee facial hair.

The police are asking for anyone that con identify the suspect to contact Detective John Helton at (706) 278-9085 extension 143. 

The crime tip line is also available if you want to leave anonymous or confidential information by dialing 706-278-9085 extension 221.

Helton_07000880 Suspect wanted for theft of wallet.  If you know this person, please call Detective John Helton at 706-278-9085 ext. 143.

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Reverse 911 Emergency Notification System’s Debut

The first use of the City’s Emergency Notification System, commonly referred to as Reverse 911, was launched on February 6th, 2007 at approximately 9:30 a.m..  The utility company had detected a gas leak in the area of Benton Street.  They notified the Dalton Fire Department who responded to the area.  The Reverse 911 Emergency Notification System was initiated to notify residents in this area of the problem and that their gas supply was being temporarily disconnected.

The system made 31 calls to residents and businesses on Benton Street.  The message received by the residences and businesses was:

"A Gas leak has been detected in your area. The gas supply has been disconnected temporarily.  Your gas supply should be restored as soon as possible.  Dalton Utilities will check the area prior to reconnecting gas supply".

A total of 31 phone calls were made over an eight minute period.  The pdf file below shows the area notified by the Reverse 911 system. 

Download GasLeakGeoZone.pdf

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