Posts on Jan 1970

SRO and Criminal Procedure at the Citizens’ Academy

Tuesday night, the Dalton Police Department's 2010 Citizens' Police Academy wrapped up with a look at the department's School Resource Officer program and also a discussion of Criminal Procedure.

Officer Terry Smith, one of the department's first School Resource Officers, spoke to the Citizens' Academy group first.  Officer Smith is assigned to Dalton Middle School, and also floats between half of the city's elementary schools.  Another officer is assigned to Dalton High School.  The officers aren't the disciplinarians for the schools, and they aren't part of the administration.  They simply investigate crimes on school campuses, serve as teachers for certain classes involving law enforcement, and attend all extracurricular events like sporting events or dances.

Detective John Helton wrapped up the evening with a two-hour look at Criminal Procedure.  Simply put, Criminal Procedure covers everything from the way police officers go about the business of patrolling the city, investigating crimes, and arresting offenders.  Detective Helton covered the issue of probable cause to make arrests, obtain warrants, and search suspects' homes or person.  He also discussed how different case law affects the way police do business, such as the Miranda vs. Arizona ruling which states that officers have to inform an arrested suspect of their right to remain silent and right to an attorney before questioning.  He also dispelled the myth that an officer must read those rights to an offender every time they make an arrest.  The only time a Miranda warning is required is when an individual is under arrest and also being interrogated.  That was the biggest surprise of the night for the members of the academy class.

Next week marks the official end of the Citizens' Academy, with a banquet at Ryman Hall.

Below: Officer Terry Smith (first picture) discusses his role as a School Resource Officer, and Detective John Helton leads a discussion of Criminal Procedure (click images for a larger version).


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Rain Cuts Chief’s First Marathon Short

It's wouldn't be a good idea for a suspect to try to run from Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker.

Parker, who has served as Dalton's Police Chief since 2007, is an avid runner in his spare time.  He runs with a running group several times a week, and he's active in the Carpet Capital Running Club. Over the past 13 years he has run in numerous 5K and 10K races, and in the last two years he's run in four half-marathons.  For the last three months, though, he has been training for something bigger: his first marathon.

On Saturday, April 24th, Chief Parker ran in the 2010 Country Music Marathon on Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee.  He fell six miles short of the 26.2 mile marathon distance, though, due to forces beyond his control.  The system of strong storms that battered the southeast over the weekend hit Nashville late Saturday morning, bringing heavy rains, strong winds, and tornado warnings that forced organizers to divert most of the marathon runners off of the course before they could finish.  Chief Parker was still running strong when he was forced to leave the course after running 20.2 miles.

"Weather always plays a part," said Chief Parker of his experience running the marathon.  "It was hot to start with, at least for us … at the end, we had a pretty strong thunderstorm move through and it kinda moved us off the course."

Still, Chief Parker doesn't regret making the trip. 

"It was a good experience for my first marathon, and we'd trained and prepared, and we felt like we were ready," Chief Parker said.

And, there was plenty of entertainment along the way.  Nashville is known as the "Music City", and many musical acts were set up along the race course to entertain runners and fans alike.

"Most of them were pretty good, too," Parker said of the bands playing along the way.  "In fact, I don't know if they were recording artists or not, but they were pretty impressive."

Parker also said there were plenty of people wearing strange costumes along the race course, including one person wearing an Easter Bunny costume, and two men jogging alongside the runners in three-piece suits.

Chief Parker did get his finisher's medal from Saturday's race, but he plans to add another to his collection soon.  Parker's running club is targeting the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in Fort Oglethorpe for his next attempt at 26.2.  The Battlefield Marathon will be run November 13th. 

Hopefully, the weather will be nicer.

Click "Play" in the window below to watch a video of Chief Parker discussing his experience running the Country Music Marathon

Click here to read more about the Country Music Marathon.

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Dalton Police Seek Hatchet Man in Drug Store Burglary

The Dalton Police Department is looking for a man who tried to hack his way into a drug store with a hatchet, and the department is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. 

The incident happened between 2:45 and 3:00 AM on the morning of April 6th, when a 911 caller reported seeing a white male on the roof of the Dart Drugs Store at 1101 Memorial Drive.  The man fled as officers arrived, and was described as a white male with blonde hair, standing between 5’6” and 5’8” tall, weighing between 170 or 190 pounds. 

Investigators recovered a metal hatchet on the roof of the building, with a 13.5 inch handle and a 6 ¾ inch blade.  The hatched also had a distinctive leather cover.  Pictures of this hatchet are included below in hopes someone might recognize them.  Owners of the drug store reported that they don’t believe the suspect was able to make it into the building, but that he did cause some damage to the roof.  A small ladder was also recovered at the scene.  Neither the ladder nor the hatchet belonged to the store.

If you have any information on this incident or the identity of the suspect, please contact Detective Jason Bishop at 706-278-9085, extension 214.

Below: The hatchet and hatcher cover recovered at the scene (click image for a larger version)


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Citizens’ Academy vs. The FATS

There were several officer-involved shootings on Tuesday night at the Dalton Police Department, but none of them really happened.  Members of the department's 2010 Citizens' Police Academy class were simply taking their turn with the FATS machine, which stands for Firearms Training Simulator.

Tuesday night's lesson the use of force, including the laws that govern the use of force by both law enforcement officers and citizens, culminated with a demonstration of the FATS machine, which uses replicas of the guns and tasers used by department officers which have been converted for use as a simulator.  Officers are shown different video scenarios which are projected on a screen.  The simulation is controlled by an officer operating the computer, choosing how the characters on screen react based on the officer's decisions.  If the officer fires a weapon, the computer records hits on the screen. 

Tuesday night, the members of the Citizens' Academy learned first-hand how fast things can go bad on a traffic stop, or any other law enforcement scenario.  In experiencing some of the same training scenarios faced by Dalton officers, they learned about some of the tough decisions police officers hope they'll never have to make.  The decision to use deadly force is one that most law enforcement officers will go their entire careers without facing.  But it's one that they constantly train and prepare for.

To watch video of Tuesday night's Citizens' Police Academy class, click "Play" in the window below (video may take a few moments to load).

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DPD Announces Women’s Self-Defense Class

Update: The class is now full.  Please stay tuned for updates on future classes.

The Dalton Police Department will host another session of the popular RAD Systems Women's Self Defense Class in May.  Previous sessions of this class, taught by Dalton Police Training Officer Brian Pack, have been well-received by the women taking the course both at the Dalton Police Services Center and also Dalton State College.

The next session of the 12-hour course will be held in three-hour segments on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, May 19th, 20th, 26th, and 27th from 6-9 PM at the Engine Room Restaurant.  The Engine Room is located at 1525 Waring Road in Dalton.  The course is being offered free of charge.  The class size is limited to 20 participants, and the course is designed for women ages 13 and up.  However, any women younger than age 18 must have a parent or guardian sign a waiver to participate. 

The program is for women only – wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends – and all who successfully complete the course will have a lifetime return policy allowing them to participate in any R.A.D System program to refresh their skills at any time.  The 12-hour course educates women on safety strategies to minimize their chances of becoming a victim, and physical tactics aimed at disabling an attacker long enough to escape.

Officer Pack, certified in the R.A.D System of Self Defense, will wear a padded “Red Man” suit for some of the exercises which allow the women to practice defensive maneuvers they have learned in the class without the fear of injuring the instructor.

“Our ultimate goal is to promote safety and build confidence,” said Officer Pack. “Our hope is that no one will ever have to use the skills they’ll learn in this class, but we want them to feel safe wherever they go.

“We’re not teaching people how to fight, but to have some skills they can use to create enough of a diversion to create distance and get away if they ever find themselves in a dangerous situation,” he said.

Anyone with any questions about the course can contact Officer Pack at 706-278-9085, extension 138 or by email at

To watch a video about the Dalton Police Department's RAD Women's Self-Defense Class, click "Play" in the window below (video may take a few moments to load).  You can also click here to read an article about the course in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press

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Employees of the Year

The Dalton Police Department took time out to honor its employees on Friday, April 16th with a catered dinner and special recognition for the department's sworn and non-sworn Employees of the Year. 

Officer John Edwards earned the department's Officer of the Year honor for his role in saving a passenger from a car that was involved in an accident on Martin Luther King Boulevard in March of 2009.  Officer Edwards was one of the first officers to respond to the scene, and when he arrived the car was on fire.  Along with Officer Mark Tate, Officer Edwards helped pull the passenger to safety before she was burned.

Craig Engleman earned the department's non-sworn Employee of the Year Award for the second straight year, this time being recognized for his efforts in a new position as the department's GIS (Geographic Information Systems) coordinator.  In this role, Engleman is coordinating efforts to compile a new GIS map of Dalton for use by the department's officers for crime analysis.

Recipients of both awards are nominated by and also voted for by the members of the Dalton Police Department.

Chief Jason Parker also presented a special recognition to Chaplain Ray Camp, who will be leaving the department soon as he leaves Dalton to lead a new church in Northeast Georgia. 

Friday's dinner was catered by The Filling Station in downtown Dalton.  Officers, employees, and their families were all invited to attend.

Below: Officer Edwards (first photo) and Craig Engleman (second photo) accept their Employee of the Year Awards, and members of the Dalton Police Department enjoy the Employee Appreciation Dinner (click images for a larger version)


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Help the DPD Raise Funds for Special Olympics Georgia!

For the third year in a row, the Dalton Police Department will be part of a statewide law enforcement effort to raise money for Special Olympics Georgia in 2010.  The annual Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest fundraiser for Special Olympics Georgia each year.  This year, the statewide goal is to raise $750,000 for SOGA through various law enforcement fundraisers, and the DPD will run a nine-mile torch relay on May 18th, and the department hopes to raise $3,500 through runner sponsorships and merchandise sales.

T-Shirts, hats, and pins for the 2010 Law Enforcement Torch Run are now on sale at the Police Services Center at 301 Jones Street.  The T-shirts and hats cost $10.00 each, while the pins cost $3.00.  Each has the logo for the 2010 Torch Run and also the Special Olympics.  The T-Shirts are available in Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, 2X-Large, and 3X-Large.

The Dalton Police Department is also accepting donations for the Special Olympics.  They can be sent to the Police Services Center, 301 Jones Street, Dalton, GA 30720 to the attention of Sergeant Chris Crossen.  Checks should be made out to Special Olympics Georgia.  Donations can also be made online at

For more information on the Special Olympics and the Law Enforcement Torch Run, visit

Click here to watch video from last year's Torch Run through Dalton and Whitfield County.

Below: The 2010 Law Enforcement Torch Run T-Shirt, Hat, and Pin, available at the Dalton Police Services Center at 301 Jones Street.



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CSI: Citizens’ Academy

Click here to read about Tuesday night's CSI presentation in the Dalton Daily Citizen.

The TV show "CSI" shines the bright lights of Hollywood on the practice of investigating crime scenes.  But, it's a lot different in the real world of police work, and Tuesday night, members of the Dalton Police Department's Citizens' Police Academy got a chance to watch "CSI" in real life. 

DPD Crime Scene Investigator Mack Flood spoke to the group, describing how he processes crime scenes, showing some of the tools of the trade, and also letting the group tour the department's crime scene vehicle.  Detective Flood also showed some pictures taken at various crime scenes he's investigated in the past, explaining what happened in each, and how investigators processed the scene to determine what happened in each case.

And, of course, he also took a few minutes to debunk some of the myths perpetuated by shows like "CSI".  For example, in the real world, it takes longer than ten minutes to get DNA results back!

Below: Members of the DPD Citizens' Academy tour the Crime Scene Unit truck (click images for a larger version)


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DPD Hosts Meeting With Alcoholic Beverage Licensees

On Monday morning, the Dalton Police Department hosted a meeting with alcoholic beverage license holders at Dalton's City Hall.  The meeting was a voluntary gathering of business owners, managers, or employees to discuss different ways businesses can ensure that they do not sell alcohol to minors, and also to discuss different strategies the police department employs to prevent those underage sales.

Below: Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker addresses the meeting of Alcoholic Beverage Licensees at Dalton City Hall on Monday


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DPD Warns Business Owners of Scam

The Dalton Police Department is warning area business owners of a new twist on a common phone scam, and reminding business owners and other citizens alike to never wire money to someone you don’t know.

Last week, the Dalton Depot Restaurant reported a suspicious phone call to the Dalton Police Department.  The phone call, from a Michigan area code, was from a man placing a large catering order.  The caller said that he was going to be in the hospital for a few days before the order should be delivered, so he asked if he could pay in advance by credit card.  After getting a price quote, the caller then asked the Depot manager if he could add $950 to the bill and have the Depot transfer that cash into an account.  At this point, the manager figured out it was a scam and refused to take the order, and reported the call to police.

Often in scams like this one, the caller will have a stolen credit card number, and business owners can find themselves ripped off for the cash they transfer.  If someone has a legitimate credit line or a legitimate bank account, there’s no reason they would need your help to access their money.  This is the first report the police department has received of this particular angle on the scam, but as always, the Dalton Police Department reminds citizens to be vigilant, and if something seems suspicious, it probably is.  If you think you’ve been a victim of this type of scam, contact your local law enforcement to report the crime.

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