Posts on Jan 1970

DPD Investigates Traveler’s Check Fraud

The Dalton Police Department is investigating three incidents of fraud involving counterfeit traveler’s checks that were passed at stores in Walnut Square Mall on February 23rd.  In all three incidents, a black female and a black male paid for small items with traveler’s checks for $100, and then left with the change in cash.

The incidents happened between 7:45 and 8:00 pm Wednesday night at Bath and Body Works, Books-A-Million, and The Children’s Store.  In each case, the suspects presented a traveler’s check with the same number, 157 2139 159 175, issued from Interpayment Services Ltd. which is listed as payable in New York City.  Investigators believe that this may not be a real institution.  The names on the checks were Jessica Cruse and Ernie Davidson, which investigators do not believe are the suspects’ real names.

The female suspect is described as being in her mid-to-upper 30’s with black hair and an unknown tattoo on her chest, wearing glasses.  The male is described as being in his late 20’s or early 30’s, wearing a black shirt and a white hat, approximately 5’10 tall and weighing approximately 250 pounds.  The male suspect was captured on surveillance at the Books-A-Million store, and that image is included below.

If you have any information on these incidents or the identity of these suspects, please contact Detective Ricky Long with the Dalton Police Department at 706-278-9085, extension 168.  If you think a traveler’s check may be counterfeit, you can hold it up to the light and genuine traveler’s checks should have a water mark in them.  The counterfeits passed at Walnut Square Mall did not.

Below: The male suspect is pictured at left, wearing a dark shirt and white hat (click image for a larger version)


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19th Citizens’ Police Academy Gets Started

The 19th Citizens' Police Academy got underway on Tuesday night at the Dalton Police Services Center.  The first class was opened with greetings from Public Safety Commission Chairman Bill Weaver, and led by DPD Chief Jason Parker.

The first class focused on a history of modern policing and the history of the Dalton Police Department.  Chief Parker also discussed some of the different theories of policing, and explained why the DPD engages in a "proactive" style of policework which is focused on attempting to address issues before they become serious problems.  That means that instead of riding around in patrol cars waiting for calls in a "reactive" mode, Dalton officers are encouraged not just to respond to calls, but to try to find ways to address larger neighborhood issues which could be causing the problems which lead to calls for police service.

Part of the department's proactive strategy is the Neighborhood Policing Program, and Chief Parker discussed that initiative with the group.  The strategy is to subdivide Dalton into more than 90 "beats" which are assigned to each officer in the department.  The officers are asked to spend time during their shift in their beat area, making contact with citizens.  Citizens can also make contact with their Neighborhood Officer either by phone or email (click here to see a map of Dalton's Neighborhood Beat Zones, and click the Beat Number for your Neighborhood Officer's contact information).  A citizen wouldn't contact their Neighborhood Officer for emergency situations, those contacts are still handled by the 911 center.  The idea is for citizens to have a point of contact within the department to discuss other non-emergency issues within their immediate community so they can be addressed (click here to read more articles and see videos about the Neighborhood Program).

The session concluded with a guided tour of the Police Services Center, led by Chief Parker and Assistant Chief Truman Whitfield.  The class will meet next Tuesday for its second session which will focus on the functions of the department's Patrol Division.

Below: Academy coordinator Lt. Mike Wilson addresses the Citizens' Academy class, Chief Parker speaks to the class about the history of the department, and the Academy class tours the DPD Roll Call Room (click images to see a larger version)


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Scholarship Funded, Promotions Confirmed at PSC Meeting

The Dalton Police Department and Dalton Fire Department presented a check to Dalton State College at Tuesday’s Public Safety Commission meeting, lifting the endowment for the City of Dalton Public Safety Scholarship above the goal of $40,000.  Reaching that milestone means that the endowment can now fund two scholarships to Dalton State College for children of Dalton police officers or firefighters.

Fundraising for the scholarship has taken place since 2008, when the departments joined forces with Dalton Depot Restaurant owner TJ Kaikobad to host the first of three benefit dinners at the Depot Restaurant.  Kaikobad was one of the driving forces behind starting the scholarship endowment, and DPD Chief Jason Parker and DFD Chief Bruce Satterfield recognized his efforts and contributions with a presentation at Tuesday’s meeting.  They presented him with a plaque as a token of thanks from Dalton’s Public Safety agencies.

Below: Scholarship Committee members Melissa Russell (DFD), Ricky Long (DPD), John Helton (DPD), and Dan Hudson (DFD) present an endowment check to Dalton State College’s David Elrod; Chief Bruce Satterfield and Chief Jason Parker recognize TJ Kaikobad (click images to see a larger version)


Also at Tuesday morning’s meeting, Dalton Fire Chief Bruce Satterfield presented three candidates for promotion.

Engineer Donnie Blankenship was promoted to the rank of Firefighter 3, while Firefighter 3’s Chad Young and
Jeff Viens were both promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, all by unanimous vote of the Public Safety Commission.

Blankenship has served the Dalton Fire Department since November 2002.  Lt. Young has served the department since March 2001 and was recognized with the Rotary Club Vocational Excellence Award in 2009.  Lt. Viens has served the department since August 1997 and is a graduate of the presitigious FLAMES (Firefighters Laboring And Mastering Essential Skills) course.  Congratulations to all three firefighters on their promotions.

Below: Jeff Viens and Chad Young pose with Chief Satterfield (Donnie Blankenship could not attend Tuesday’s meeting due to a prior training commitment)


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More Honors for DPD Explorers

The Dalton Police Department's Explorers racked up more trophies at a State Explorers Competition in neighboring Alabama on Saturday.  Representatives of the DPD Explorers competed with ten other agencies in Helena, Alabama, taking part in four different law enforcement scenarios.  The Dalton Explorers brought home home two wins along with third and fourth place finishes.

The DPD Explorers brought home First Place honors in the "Arrest and Search Techniques" scenario as well as the "Hostage Crisis" scenario.  Dalton finished third in the "Domestic Crisis" scenario and fourth in "Unknown Traffic Stop". 

The Law Enforcement Explorer Program allows young men and women to gain training and experience in the law enforcement field.  The program also provides opportunities for community involvement and development.  Program activities center around law enforcement training, organized recreational activities and competitive events.  Officers David Saylors, Ashley Payne and Daniel Jones currently oversee the program.  Explorers must be between 14 and 20 years old, maintain at least a "C" average in school and must stay in school until graduation or obtaining a GED.  Explorers also must attend regularly scheduled meetings, including physical training. Applications for the program are reviewed in the fall and winter.

Below (from left to right): Dalton Police Explorers Isabel Mora, Dhalia Medina, Eric Rangel, Isabel O'Quinn and Fatima Peinado pose with trophies earned at a state Explorers competition in Helena, Alabama (click image for larger version)


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DPD Seeks Three Suspects in Counterfeit Check Case

The Dalton Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying three individuals who cashed counterfeit payroll checks at an area grocery store in late January.

The incident happened at the Bi-Lo on Cleveland Highway in Dalton on January 21st.  Three individuals, two black females and one black male, cashed what appeared to be payroll checks from the Boys and Girls Club.  However, the checks were later determined to be counterfeit and the crime was reported to the DPD on February 4th.  Combined, the three checks totaled more than $1,400. 

The incident was recorded by the store’s surveillance cameras and pictures of the three suspects are included below.  The male suspect appears to be in his 20’s, with close-cropped dark hair.  He wore a red hooded sweatshirt with white drawstrings.  The first female suspect appears to be in her 20’s or 30’s, with shoulder-length black hair.  She wore a brown or tan-colored hat with a tan or yellow-colored top and a black leather jacket.  The second female suspect was older, with short gray hair, wearing a black coat.

Anyone with information on the identity of these suspects is asked to please contact Officer Steven McBrayer with the Dalton Police Department at 706-278-9085, extension 198. 

Below: Surveillance images of the suspects (click images to see a larger version)

Three SuspectsTwo Female SuspectsFemale Suspect SideviewMale Suspect

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Dalton Police Explorers Honored Again at Winterfest

Over the weekend, members of the Dalton Police Department's Explorers program competed against other agencies from across the southeast at Winterfest in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The Explorers competed in three different scenarios, winning awards in two of them.  Dalton finished 1st in the "Felony Traffic Stop" scenario and 3rd in the "Domestic Violence" scenario.  Dalton also competed in an "Active Shooter" scenario, finishing 4th.  The Explorers work on different law enforcement scenarios throughout the year, but they don't find out which three scenarios in which they'll compete until they actually arrive at Winterfest. 

The Law Enforcement Explorer Program allows young men and women to gain training and experience in the law enforcement field.  The program also provides opportunities for community involvement and development.  Program activities center around law enforcement training, organized recreational activities and competitive events.  Officers David Saylors, Ashley Payne and Daniel Jones currently oversee the program.  Explorers must be between 14 and 20 years old, maintain at least a "C" average in school and must stay in school until graduation or obtaining a GED.  Explorers also must attend regularly scheduled meetings, including physical training. Applications for the program are reviewed in the fall and winter.

Below: Members of the Dalton Police Department Explorers pose at the Winterfest competition (Front Row From Left: Fatima Peinado, Allexis O'Quinn, Isabel Mora, Dhalia Medina; Back Row From Left: Eric Rangel, Advisor Officer David Saylors, Advisor Officer Ashley Payne)

Explorers Picture

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DPD Seeks Witness to Walnut Avenue Crash

The Dalton Police Department is seeking a witness to a violent crash that happened around 3:00 pm Monday on East Walnut Avenue.  The DPD's Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) is investigating the crash.

The crash happened just east of Riverbend Road.  A silver BMW driven by 24-year old Roberto Melendez of Dalton was struck by a red PT Cruiser driven by 26-year old Christopher Cason of Chattanooga as both vehicles traveled westbound on Walnut Avenue.  After the initial contact, both cars crossed the median, taking out several trees before coming to rest in the eastbound lanes.  The BMW driven by Melendez rolled several times and landed upside-down.  A passenger in the PT Cruiser, Timothy Hall of Chattanooga, was transported to Hamilton Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Evidence at the scene suggests that a car traveling eastbound took evasive action to avoid being hit by the BMW and PT Cruiser as they crossed into the eastbound lanes and could be a key witness to the cause of the crash.  They are asked to contact the Dalton Police Department's Traffic Enforcement Unit at 706-278-9085, extension 124 with any information they may have.

The cause of this crash is still unclear and charges are pending in this incident.

Below: The scene of the crash on East Walnut Avenue (click images to see a larger version)


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DPD Arrests Man For Discharging Gun During Argument

The Dalton Police Department arrested Jermaine Eric Burse, 21, Monday morning after he fired a gun during an apparent argument.  No one was hurt in the incident.

Burse, of 801 Heritage Circle in Dalton, was involved in an argument outside of the RaceTrac service station on Shugart Road shortly before midnight.  A Dalton Police officer who was parked nearby heard the shouting and was beginning to drive over to the parking lot to check on the situation when he heard a gunshot.  The officer rushed to the scene and stopped a gold Honda Accord that was attempting to flee the parking lot.  Burse was driving.  After backup officers arrived, the vehicle was searched and officers found a gun and a spent shell casing, as well as a bullet hole in the passenger door. 

Multiple eyewitnesses reported seeing an argument between Burse and a group of other men.  Eyewitnesses reported seeing Burse with a gun, and then get into his car and fire a shot at the other group as he was pulling out.  The shot apparently went through the Honda’s door before hitting another car.

Burse was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, reckless conduct, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, criminal trespass, pointing or aiming a gun at another, and discharging a gun near a public street or highway. 

This incident is still being investigated.

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A Winning Super Bowl Drive Doesn’t Involve Drinking

If you're planning to drive on Super Bowl Sunday, do what the players do: stick to Gatorade.  Don't drink alcohol if you're planning to get behind the wheel.

Super Bowl Sunday has become one of the biggest party days of the year and ranks as one of the most dangerous days on the nation’s highways due to drunk driving.  Super Sunday is one the biggest weekends for sales of alcoholic beverages. 33 percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide in 2010 involved at least one impaired driver. Here in Georgia last year, one out of four traffic fatalities were at the hands of a driver under the influence. On Super Bowl Sunday 2010, that stat jumped to a staggering 48 percent of traffic fatalities involving a driver who was legally drunk.

The Dalton Police Department wants you to have a safe Super Bowl, so pay attention to these tips:

If you plan to host a Super Bowl party:

  • Before kickoff, make sure your guests have designated sober drivers.
  • Never serve alcohol to guests under 21-years-of-age.
  • Serve plenty of food…And include soft drinks, juice, and water.
  • Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter (just like NFL stadiums) and start serving coffee and dessert instead.
  • Take car keys from anyone who thinks about driving impaired.
  • Keep the numbers for local cab companies on hand for impaired guests.

If you plan to attend a Super Bowl Party or watch the game at a restaurant or sports bar:

  • Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give them your car keys.
  • Volunteer to be the Designated Driver or offer to be one next time out.
  • Before you party, program local cab company numbers in your cell phone so a safe ride is just a call away.
  • Pace yourself.  Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast.  Eat enough food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Never let a friend out of sight if you think they’re about to drive impaired.

The Dalton Police Department reminds you that we have a Zero Tolerance Policy towards impaired driving.  Every other law enforcement agency in the state does as well.  Please make this a safe Super Bowl Sunday by buckling up, slowing down, and driving sober.

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Whitfield County Looks for Volunteers for Emergency Response

If you want to become better prepared to help your family and your community in the event of an emergency, the Whitfield County Emergency Management Agency has an exciting opportunity for you. 

The Whitfield County EMA is looking for volunteers to help start their CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Program.  This group will receive free specialized training in risk and hazard awareness from the county's EMA.  The course is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, and your immediate community in the event of an emergency situation in your neighborhood. 

Public safety agencies in your community work everyday to be prepared for emergencies, but during disasters the scope of an incident can overwhelm the initial response. The goal of the CERT program is to train citizens on how to respond more effectively to an emergency situation without putting themselves in unnecessary danger, so they can help manage the situation until emergency responders can arrive to help.

Training will include:

  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Fire Safety
  • Medical Operations and Basic First Aid
  • Search and Rescue
  • Much more!

Whitfield County EMA will offer CERT training in March.  The course is free to any Whitfield County resident. The class will take place over three training days and participants must attend all sessions to get their CERT certification.  The "Final Exam" will be a mock disaster drilll held on the final Saturday of the second week.  The classes run from 8 am to 5 pm on March 12th, 13th, and 19th.  They'll be held at the Whitfield County Fire/911/EMA Headquarters bulding at 804 Professional Boulevard in Dalton.

For more information, contact Claude Craig, Jeff Ownby, or Carla Kelley at 706-370-4911 or email  You can also visit the CERT team's Facebook page by searching for "Whitfield County CERT".



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