Posts on Jan 1970

Halloween Traffic Safety

The Dalton Police Department would like to remind motorist that this Friday, October 31st, the streets will be full of Trick or Treaters celebrating Halloween. Motorist need to be extra careful during the hours between 4:00 PM and 9:00 PM.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,000 young children are injured, mostly as pedestrians hit by cars, during those hours.  This is four times greater then the national average for the same time period, during any other night during the year.

The department would like to give the following tips to motorist in the area to avoid being involved in a pedestrian accident:

  • Costumes may restrict the visibility of small children.
  • Do not count on small children being aware of your approach.
  • Please keep vehicle speeds well below the posted speed limit.
  • Watch for vehicles dropping off or picking up children.
  • Avoid using other devices in the car that you are operating, such as cell phones or navigation devices.

Parents can also help avoid pedestrian accidents by talking to their young ones before the night’s adventure.  Here are some tips:

  • Warn children about the dangers of crossing the street. 
  • Avoid Trick or Treating on very busy streets.
  • Always have your children use a sidewalk when there is one.
  • To increase visibility, have your children care a flashlight or glow sticks.
  • Apply reflect tape or stickers to costumes.
  • Make sure the costume fits your child properly before they venture out, making sure they can see out of their mask.
  • Always chaperone in groups.

The department would like motorist and parents alike to make this a safe and accident free Halloween night for our local children.

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Local Bank Donates Teddy Bears to Police Officers

Cohutta Banking Company teller Annelle Handman had a cuddly idea for helping area children and the Dalton Police Department, and her bank was only too happy to help.

Handman’s idea: start a drive for citizens to donate teddy bears for officers to keep in their cruisers for children who may need something to hug.  Whether they’re victims of abuse, an accident, or fire, having a teddy bear to hold onto can make an experience much less scary for kids.

The citizens of Dalton responded, donating dozens of bears at the Cohutta Banking Company branch on North Thornton Avenue.  Some customers even passed the bears through the drive-in window. Zaxby’s restaurants in Dalton also helped out, collecting bears for the drive. Because October 27th is "Good Bear Day" in 11 states, employees of the bank donated the bears to the Dalton Police Department this morning. But, the drive is still not over.  Customers can still drop off bears to the bank through the end of October.

October 27th was named "Good Bear Day" in observance of President Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday. The teddy bear was named for Teddy Roosevelt after the story spread of a camping trip in which he saved a bear’s life by ordering members of his party not to shoot it. In 1902, Morris and Rose Mitchton made a toy bear to display next to a photo of Roosevelt and the bear, and they sold fast.  The Michtons asked for, and received, permission from the President to name their toy the "Teddy" bear.

Below: Some of the teddy bears donated to the Dalton Police Department (from left to right: Cohutta Banking Company employees Sonya Epps, Annelle Handman, Zaxby’s General Manager Tina Newby, and Dalton Police Sergeant Jamie Johnson)

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Police Seek Burglary Suspect

The Dalton Police are seeking a suspect in connection to a burglary on Showalter Avenue in Dalton on October 22nd.  The suspect broke into the house at 900 Showalter Avenue, taking assorted jewelry valued in excess of $10,000 and also more than $8,000 cash.

A witness saw the suspect leaving the house, and described him as a Hispanic male, with dark skin, approximately 5’8 and weighing approximately 180 pounds.  Apparently, he brought a bag of raw chicken with him to the house, throwing it in the back yard to distract the small dog and keep it from barking.  The bag was from the Mini-Super store on 4th Avenue, and was left behind at the house.  The store gave a police detective surveillance video of a man buying the raw chicken who matched the description of the suspect.  Those images are pictured below.  Store employees say that the suspect left in a dark-colored four-door pickup truck with a camper top.

Anyone with information about this man, his whereabouts, or any other information about this burglary is asked to contact Detective John Helton at the Dalton Police Department, 706-278-9085, extension 143.

Below: The man identified by store employees as a suspect who purchased raw chicken that was used during the burglary, and the truck he drove away from the store (click on thumbnails for a larger version of the image)

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Kids Meet Dalton’s “Deputy Chief” at the Dalton Fair

Amid all of the food, games, and fun at the North Georgia Agricultural Fair at the North Georgia Fairgrounds in Dalton, there’s also a chance to learn some valuable safety information from the Dalton Police Department.

The department is maintaining an information table at the fair, handing out brochures on topics ranging from traffic safety, the dangers of DUI, as well as home safety and firearms safety.  The department is handing out free gun locks, and also plenty of stickers for kids.

But, one of the biggest hits at the fair is the Dalton Police Department’s "Deputy Chief".  He’s not a living, breathing human officer, he’s a remote-controlled animatronic robot riding a remote-controlled police car.  The "Chief" can do more than just drive around and show off his flashing red-and-blue lights, though.  Using a remote microphone headset, he can also "talk" to children about the importance of buckling seatbelts and not talking to strangers.  And, since he’s not allowed to get on any of the rides at the fair, he also likes asking children which rides are the most fun and which ones are the most scary.

Nicknamed "Chief Zamboni" by one of the officers working the information table at the fair, the "Deputy Chief" has drawn crowds of children every time officers drive him around the fair.  He’s a fun toy, but he’s also part of the department’s mission to make Dalton a safer community through partnerships between officers and citizens.  Teaching children at a young age that they can trust police officers to keep them safe helps make them feel like they can contact officers in times of need.

Below: The DPD’s "Deputy Chief" rides the beat at the North Georgia Agricultural Fair, taking time to talk with kids, and the Dalton Police hand out important safety information at the department’s information table (click on the thumbnails below for a larger image)

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Community and Police Work Together to Clean Up Graffiti

Two officers from the Dalton Police Department expected to work up a sweat when they were assigned to paint over some graffiti in the neighborhood around James Street and Frazier Drive on Wednesday.

They didn’t know that they were going to get a lot of help.

After officers Tommy Ensley and Scott Murray got to work with their paintbrushes, children from the neighborhood started showing up to help.  One of the neighbors even showed back up to the building with extra paint brushes and rollers for the kids to use.

The team of neighborhood kids and Dalton officers got the graffiti covered quickly with paint from the Dalton Parks and Rec Department.  The kids even cleaned up trash from the lot, bagging it up and leaving the area cleaner and more graffiti free than they found it.

Below: Dalton officers and neighborhood children team up to paint over graffiti and clear trash at the intersection of Frazier Drive and James Street in Dalton (Click thumbnails for a larger version of the image)

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Reaction to the Crawford Street Explosion

On Friday morning, October 17th, a bomb was detonated at the law firm of McCamy, Phillips, Tuggle, and Fordham on Crawford Street in Dalton.  78-year old Lloyd Cantrell detonated the device after trying and failing to drive his explosive-laden SUV into the law office.  Cantrell was killed in the explosion.  Four other individuals in the building were injured.  They were all transported from the scene by EMS.  One patient was admitted to the Hamilton Medical Center, and another was airlifted to a burn center in Augusta.  The other two patients were treated and released from the Hamilton Medical Center.

The Dalton Police Department was quick to respond to the incident.  An officer arrived at the firm after the initial 911 call of a disturbance at the firm.  At least one witness at the scene said the quick response of police could have kept Mr. Cantrell from detonating the materials in his truck.  After Cantrell exploded his bomb behind the building, additional officers secured the area around the law firm, locking down nearby City Park Elementary School and eventually evacuating the students to First Baptist Church.  The Dalton Fire Department also responded quickly, with Station #1 just two blocks from the scene.  Whitfield County’s Emergency Management Agency responded to the scene with its Mobile Command Unit.  Deputies from the Whitfield County Sherriff’s Office responded to the scene.  The GBI’s bomb squad responded to the scene, eventually removing explosives from Mr. Cantrell’s vehicle using a robot.  The FBI and ATF also sent agents to the scene.  A fire eventually flared up inside the building before the Dalton Fire Department was cleared to enter by the bomb squad.  Within an hour, the DFD had the blaze under control.  Dalton’s Red Cross was also played an invaluable support role, providing meals to more than 100 first responders and volunteers at the scene, as well as approximately 800 City Park School staff and students at First Baptist.

Many different individuals from many different agencies worked together seamlessly in the response to this emergency, and the Dalton Police Department thanks all individuals who worked to keep a bad situation from becoming much worse.  Our thoughts are with the families, and we wish all those injured a speedy recovery.

Evidence collected at the scene Friday night has been taken to the GBI’s crime lab for analysis. The incident is still under investigation.  The investigation is a joint effort between the Dalton Police Department and the FBI Conasauga Safe Streets Task Force stationed in Dalton.

Below: The Dalton Police Department, Dalton Fire Department and other public safety agencies respond to the explosion on Crawford Street, and investigators examine the damage to the law firm building (click thumbnails for a larger version of the image).

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Fraud Alert: ID Theft at Gas Stations in Texas

Identity thieves on the west coast and also in the Dallas, Texas area have been using electronic devices at gas pumps to steal customers’ debit card information.  There haven’t been any reports of this happening here in northwest Georgia yet, but it’s something to keep an eye out for.  After all, criminals have been known to copycat scams that have some success.

The theives use devices known as "skimmers" which are attached to the credit card readers at a gas pump.  The device then records the card information which can be used to make copies of cards.

It’s always a good idea to keep a close eye on your bank statements and credit report to make sure nobody is using your cards without authorization.  Credit cards are safer than debit cards because they don’t provide direct access to your bank funds.  And, if you’re going to use a debit card, avoid entering your pin at the pump.  Paying inside helps avoid the "skimmers".  If you suspect fraudulent use of your cards, contact the police and your bank at once.

Again, this isn’t something that’s being seen here in Dalton or northwest Georgia.  But, it’s always a good idea to stay vigilant.

Click here to read more about the scam from the Dallas Morning News, including more tips to safeguard yourself at the pump.

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Cell Phones Are a Dangerous Driver Distraction

Driving while talking on a cell phone: many people do it, but that doesn’t make it safe. 

Earlier this week in Dalton, a single vehicle clipped a light pole on Thornton Avenue, knocking it out of the ground and snarling traffic.  A witness reported to police that the driver of the vehicle was using a cell phone and drifted out of the lane, losing control and hitting the pole.  Thankfully, no injuries were reported.  If cell phone use is ultimately ruled to be a contributing factor in this crash, it will be a part of a larger nationwide trend.

According to a 2006 study conducted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Virginia Tech, nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of "near-misses" occur within three seconds of a driver distraction, with cell phone usage listed as the most common driver distraction.

Studies such as that NHTSA study are among the reasons why five states (California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, and Connecticut) have banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.  The District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands have also banned hand-held cell phones.  Seven states (Alaska, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington) have banned text messaging while driving.  To see a breakdown of cell phone regulations for drivers in each state, click here.

Currently, Georgia does not ban the use of hand-held cell phones by most drivers, however, all cell phone use is banned for school bus drivers.  Drivers operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner or causing an accident while using a cell phone can be cited under Georgia Code Section 40-6-241:

"40-6-241.  Driver to exercise due care; proper use of radios and mobile telephones allowed

A driver shall exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state and shall not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle, provided that the proper use of a radio, citizens band radio, or mobile telephone shall not be a violation of this Code section."

Even though the use of cell phones and other mobile devices isn’t necessarily a violation of the law in Georgia, the Dalton Police Department recommends that motorists refrain from using cell phones or other devices while driving. If you must use a phone while driving, the department recommends using a hands-free headset.  However, even going hands-free doesn’t eliminate potential danger, and the best idea is to simply pull over until you are finished with your conversation.

As always, we urge you to buckle up, slow down, pay attention, obey the traffic laws so you’ll reach your destination safely.

Below: Photos of damage caused by a traffic accident on Thornton Avenue in Dalton.  A witness reported that a driver on a cell phone left the road and struck a light pole (click thumbnails for a larger image)

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More Information:

CNN.com: It’s Official, Distracted Drivers are Dangerous

Governor’s Highway Safety Association: State Cell Phone Driving Laws

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Dalton Police Continue Training

A police officer’s training isn’t complete once he or she graduates from the police academy.  In fact, it’s only barely started.  Not only do officers learn more about policework everyday they work on a beat, but they also get more classroom training each year they’re on the job.

Georgia’s Peace Officers and Standards Training Council (POST) requires each officer to complete at least 20 hours of training each year to maintain their powers of arrest as a police officer.  The Dalton Police Department’s policy is to require 40 hours of training.  Many officers complete even more than that.

In order to comply with POST standards, the Dalton Police Department conducts many "in-service" training classes a year, allowing officers to complete training courses with refresher information or new information while on duty.  This week, for example, a group of officers is going through training on CPR and some defensive tactics.  Each month, hour-long classroom training sessions are also conducted during roll-call.  During the year, officers are also re-certified during firearms qualification.

Each year, the department’s support and training staff select different topics and subjects to be covered during "in-service" training.

Below: Officers practice CPR technique with dummies during an "in-service" training session at the Dalton Police Services Center in August (click on the thumbnails for a larger image).

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Tip-line Helps Police Catch Criminals

The Dalton Police Department’s mission statement is "to provide the community of Dalton a safe environment with quality professional law enforcement through positive interactions with its citizens."  One of the most important interactions between the police and the community is the reporting of information about crime or criminals from citizens to law enforcement.

To that end, the Dalton Police Department has a 24-hour-a-day drug and crime tip hot-line.  You can make a call to the tip-line at any time by dialing 706-278-9085 extension 221.  A brief message will follow, with information on what types of details police need to follow up on tips.  Your message can be anonymous, or you can leave your name and phone number for an officer to contact you later.  All calls are kept confidential.

Callers can leave as much information as they wish but specific details such as a suspect or victim’s name, vehicle type, tag numbers, names or residence information will be helpful in investigating the crime.  In addition to the information above, information about drug activity and the type of drug being used or sold is very important.

While police patrol the streets of Dalton either in cars, on bikes, or on foot 24 hours a day, officers can’t be everywhere.  Vigilant citizens keeping an eye out for suspicious activities, and looking out for their neighbors are still among the most powerful weapons in the fight against crime.

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