Posts on Jan 1970

Warrants Issued for Samantha Sanford

The Dalton Police Department has warrants for the arrest of Samantha Sanford, 26, on charges related to an armed robbery that occurred June 19th.  The warrants are for aggravated assault, attempted armed robbery, burglary, and conspiracy to commit a felony. 

The incident happened at the McGhee Place Apartments at 775 McGhee Place at approximately 2:45 am on June 19th.  The victim was in his apartment when two men started banging on the back door and identifying themselves as the Sheriff’s Office.  The victim refused to open the door, instead running out of the front door and around the side of the building where he was confronted by two men, one of whom was identified as 29-year old Lavalis Sentell Ward.  The other suspect was unknown.  Ward followed the victim into the apartment at gunpoint, while his accomplice waited outside.  The victim told investigators went into a bedroom to get his sleeping daughter while he heard Ward go through his apartment.  He told investigators that as he exited the apartment with his daughter, he was hit in the head with a gun.

Lavalis Ward was arrested July 8th and charged with aggravated assault, forced entry burglary, impersonating a public officer, and kidnapping.  Sanford is a former roommate of the victim, and apparently also had a previous romantic relationship with the victim.  Investigators believe that she conspired with Ward to set up the robbery. 

Samantha Sanford is a white female, standing about 5’7” tall and weighing approximately 140 pounds.  She has blondish/reddish colored hair.  A picture of Sanford is included below.

Anyone with information on Sanford’s whereabouts or any other information on this incident is asked to please contact Detective Greg Bates at 706-278-9085, extension 137. 

Samantha Sanford

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DPD Investigates Taxi Robbery

The Dalton Police Department is investigating the armed robbery of a taxi cab driver at the hands of three young Hispanic males.  Investigators are asking for the public’s help with identifying an individual who was recorded on surveillance tape after the incident and may know the identity of the robbers, but is not considered a suspect at this time.

The incident happened at approximately 3:30 am on August 14th.  The taxi driver reported that he picked up three men in the area of 4th Avenue and Redwine Street who asked to be taken to Park Place Apartments.  All three rode in the back seat of the cab.  As the cab stopped at the stop sign at the intersection of Straight Street and Frederick Street, one of the men pulled out a knife and held it to the driver’s throat and told him in Spanish that he was being robbed and to hand over all of his money.  The taxi driver gave up approximately $140 in cash.  At this point, the three men got out of the taxi and ran away on foot.  Officers responding to the driver’s 911 call searched the area but were unable to find the suspects. 

Later, at approximately 4:00 am, the driver called back to report that he’d seen one of the suspects walking near 5th Avenue and Lake Street.  The suspect was walking with another man who was riding a bicycle.  The driver reported that the man on the bicycle, who was not believed to be part of the robbery, then left the suspect and walked into the Mapco convenience store at Walnut Avenue and Riverbend Street.  Investigators got a picture of this individual, who was dressed in all black and wearing sunglasses, and are asking for the public’s help with identifying him.  This individual is not considered a suspect, but investigators want to speak with him.

The suspects in the robbery were all described as being approximately 18 years old with close cropped crew cut style hair cuts.  The driver reported that two of the men were of average height, approximately 5’5 tall and the other was approximately 5’10 and skinny.  The driver said that he thought two of the suspects spoke with a Mexican accent, while the third sounded Puerto Rican based on his accent.

Anyone with information on this incident, the identity of the three suspects or the individual in black on the bicycle is asked to contact Detective John Helton at 706-278-9085, extension 143.

Below: Investigators believe that this man knows one or more of the suspects in this case. If you know who this is or if you know about this crime, please contact the DPD.


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New Officer Confirmed at Public Safety Commission Meeting

The Dalton Police Department's newest officer was confirmed by a unanimous vote of the Public Safety Commission at Tuesday morning's monthly meeting.

Officer Matthew Kumnick was approved by the commissioners, marking the final step for gaining official status with the agency.  Kumnick graduated two weeks ago from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center's Regional Police Academy in Athens and was sworn in to the department last Wednesday.

Below: Chief Jason Parker presents Officer Kumnick to the Public Safety Commission at Tuesday morning's meeting (click images to see a larger version)


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DPD Investigates Vandalism Incidents

The Dalton Police Department is investigating two separate incidents of vandalism in the area of Chattanooga Avenue in which gunshots were fired at signs in front of businesses and buildings in the middle of the night.

The first incident happened sometime between August 12th and August 15th, when owners of a carpet business at 414 North Park Drive discovered a bullet hole in the drop ceiling.  Investigators found that the bullet had entered the front of the business through a wall.  Two other bullet holes were found in a concrete wall and a metal roll-up door.  The bullet that hit the concrete wall did not pass through, but the bullet that hit the metal door went through and hit a truck parked inside, breaking the windshield.

The second incident happened at approximately 12:20 am on August 17th when officers were dispatched to a broken glass alarm at the Cardiology Center of Dalton at 1411 Chattanooga Avenue. Responding officers found that the glass window of an exam room had been broken by a bullet.  A .45 caliber shell casing was found in the roadway in front of the business.  After searching the area, officers found that the signs in front of three other businesses along Chattanooga Road were also hit with bullets.  Those businesses were Healthcom Federal Credit (1412 Chattanooga Rd.), Center for Spine and Pain Medicine (1413 Chattanooga Rd.), and Dalton Ear Nose and Throat (1436 Chattanooga Rd.).  In each case, the damage to the signs was on the north-facing side, indicating that the shots were fired from a vehicle travelling southbound from the North Bypass.  Shell casings were found in the roadway, indicating that the shots were fired from the street without entering the driveways at each building.  Four of those were .45 caliber shell casings while the other was a 9 millimeter shell casing. In all four cases, the buildings were vacant at the time of the incident.

Investigators ask that anyone with information on these incidents or the identity of the person or people responsible to contact Detective Chris Tucker at 706-278-9085, extension 165.

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DPD Welcomes New Officer

The newest officer at the Dalton Police Department received his badge at a ceremony Wednesday afternoon at the Dalton Police Services Center.  Matthew Kumnick, 26, was presented with his badge by Chief Jason Parker in front of a group of other department officers.  Kumnick graduated on Friday from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center’s Regional Academy in Athens.

Kumnick’s father serves in the US Navy, and as a result, Officer Kumnick has moved around all of his life.  He calls Honolulu, Hawaii home.  He graduated from a prep school in Pawling, New York in 2003, and attended the University of Hawaii.  He is currently enrolled at Dalton State College where he is studying business. 

Kumnick is now assigned to the DPD Patrol Division, and is taking part in the department’s field training program.  He was sworn in this afternoon by Judge Jim Wilbanks. He will be presented to the Dalton Public Safety Commission at its monthly meeting next Tuesday for his official confirmation as a DPD officer. 

Below: Chief Jason Parker pins a new badge on Officer Matthew Kumnick (click images to see a larger version)


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Operation Zero Tolerance Starts Friday

You Drink, You Drive, You Lose.  It's more than just a slogan, it's a cold hard truth on Georgia's roadways year-round, and Georgia's law enforcement agencies are gearing up to drive the point home during Operation Zero Tolerance, which starts Friday, August 19th and runs through the Labor Day holiday on September 5th. 

The Dalton Police Department will be taking part in the latest mobilization of Operation Zero Tolerance.  It's a nationwide mobilization of law enforcement agencies to target drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs and get them off of the road while raising public awareness of the consequences that come along with impaired driving. 

In 2009 alone, 10,839 people died in crashes in which at least one driver involved was at or above the legal limit, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Statistics show that one out of every four traffic crash fatalities are caused by an impaired driver.  Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or higher are eleven times more likely to die in a crash than if involved in that same crash while they were sober. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have now established a threshold making it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or higher.

The Dalton Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) and Patrol Division will be concentrating their efforts towards fighting drunk driving during the campaign.  Concentrated patrols and random road checks will be conducted throughout the city at strategic locations in an effort to crackdown on motorists driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Buckle Up, Slow Down, and Drive Sober to make your Labor Day weekend happy and safe.  Remember: Over the Limit, Under Arrest.


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DPD Seeks Abel Lee Rodriguez on Probation Warrant

The Dalton Police Department is asking the public for information on the whereabouts of Abel Lee Rodriguez, 20, who is wanted on a warrant for probation violation.  Rodriguez, whose listed address is 1207 Lamar Street, has been identified by DPD investigators as a gang member.  He is on probation for possession of methamphetamine.

Rodriguez is Hispanic and stands approximately 5’3 tall and weighs approximately 130 pounds.  He has brown eyes and black hair.  He has a tattoo on his back of a skull with marijuana hair.  A picture of Rodriguez is included with this release.

Anyone with information on Mr. Rodriguez’s location is asked to please contact Detective Chris Tucker at 706-278-9085, extension 165.

Below: A booking photo of Abel Lee Rodriguez (click image to see a larger version)

Abel Lee Rodriguez 

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Graffiti Found at Skate Park

The Dalton Police Department is investigating vandalism at the Dalton skate park facility located at James Brown Park on Civic Drive.  Graffiti has been scrawled on several surfaces at the skate park, apparently using a permanent marker.  DPD investigators do not believe that the graffiti is gang-related, despite the use of the word “Bloods” on one piece of graffiti. 

One sign at the park was vandalized with the word “smoking” marked out and replaced with a message saying “do smok (sic) weed”.  Other messages around the park include “live above the influence”, “don’t panic”, “bloods”, and other unintelligible markings.  Pictures of some of the graffiti are included below.

Anyone with information on who is responsible for vandalizing the park is asked to please contact Detective Chris Tucker at 706-278-9085, extension 165.

Below: Some pieces of graffiti at the skate park at James Brown Park (click thumbnails to see a larger version)


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School Zones Go Back Into Effect Wednesday, August 10th

It's Back-to-School time in Dalton, and when the city schools go back into session on Wednesday, August 10th, school zone speed limits will go back into effect.  The Dalton Police Department's Traffic Unit and Patrol Division will be increasing speed enforcement in school zones to ensure that the speed limits are being obeyed.

School zone speed limits are posted and in effect in the following areas:

  • Dalton High SchoolWaugh Street from the east entrance of Manly Street to the west entrance of Manly Street.  The posted school zone speed limit is 30 mph when the warning lights are flashing.  There are flashing lights at both ends of the school zone to warn motorists of the zone.
  • Dalton Middle SchoolCross Plans Blvd. from the By-Pass to Dalton Middle School.  The posted speed limit is 25 mph at all times.
  • Roan Street Elementary School Martin Luther King Blvd. from just west of Grimes Street to Grade Street.  The posted school zone speed limit is 30 mph when the warning lights are flashing.  There are flashing lights at both ends of the school zone to remind motorists of the zone.
  • Blue Ridge Elementary School / Morris Street Innovative High SchoolMorris Street from Harris Street to just east of Fourth Ave. The posted school zone speed limit is 25 mph when the warning lights are flashing.  Also on Fredrick St. from McAfee St to Morris St., the posted school zone speed limit is 20 mph when children are present in the area. 
  • City Park Elementary SchoolThornton Ave. from School Street to Crawford Street.  The posted school zone speed limit is 25 mph when the warning lights are flashing.
  • Brookwood Elementary SchoolCentral Ave. from Frances Street to Brown Street.  The posted school zone speed limit is 25 mph at all times.
  • Westwood Elementary SchoolTrammel Street from Tyler Street to Richards Street, which is a one-way street heading north and on Jones Street from Richards Street to Tyler Street, which is a one-way street heading south.

Motorists should also take precautions at all intersections and crosswalks near schools to watch for children walking to and from schools.  Officers will be monitoring intersections in an attempt to prevent pedestrian involved crashes.     

School zones are put into place in an attempt to get motorists to slow down in these areas because of the high volume of vehicular and pedestrian traffic caused by students moving to and from school. The Dalton Police Department reminds motorists to please slow down in these areas and obey the school zone speed limit to ensure that this will be a safe school year for students.  Please pay close attention to any students walking or playing in the areas around the schools.  Kids will sometimes dart into traffic without looking, so be alert.

In addition to obeying the speed limit in school zones, the Dalton Police Department reminds you to obey all posted speed limits, buckle up, and drive sober to stay safe on Georgia's roadways.

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