Posts on Jan 1970

High Crash Areas Have High Cell Phone Use

Areas within the city that have the highest rate of traffic crashes also have a high number of drivers using their cell phones.  A recent survey conducted by Dalton Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) showed that two areas in the city that routinely have a high number of traffic crashes each month also had a high number of drivers that could be visibly seen talking or texting while operating their vehicles.

Officers conducted a survey in the areas of West Walnut Avenue, North Glenwood Avenue and Thornton Avenue.  These three areas consistently have a high volume of traffic.  West Walnut Avenue and North Glenwood Avenue consistently have a high number of traffic crashes as well, while Thornton Avenue has a lower number of crashes.  The survey was conducted at different times of the day over a four day period and the percentage of cell phone users was fairly consistent over that period for each location.

After completing the survey, the TEU looked for any correlation between the percentage of cell phone users and the number of crashes in the areas surveyed.  There appears to be a direct correlation between the percentages of drivers on cell phones with the number of traffic crashes in certain areas of the city. The following observations were made:

West Walnut Avenue

  • One of the top three city streets for total number of traffic crashes in past nine months.
  • Averaged 20% of city total over that nine month period.
  • Percentage of drivers using cell phone – 24%.

North Glenwood Avenue

  • One of the top three city streets for total number of traffic crashes in past nine months.
  • Averaged 11% of city total over that nine month period.
  • Percentage of drivers using cell phone – 21%.

Thornton Avenue

  • Averaged 7% of city total over nine month period.
  • Percentage of drivers using cell phone – 15%.

Traffic crash data compiled by DPD also shows that rear end collisions in the city accounted for 43% of the total crashes in 2011. One of the major factors associated with rear end crashes is distracted driving.  When taking into account the number of cars traveling in the areas of West Walnut Avenue and North Glenwood Avenue and combining it with drivers distracted by cell phone use you get a dangerous mix for a high number of crashes.

Motorists need to be aware that it is a violation of the law to send or receive text messages, send or receive e-mails or surf the web while operating a motor vehicle on the roadways of Georgia.  It's also against the law for anyone under the age of 18 to use a cell phone in any manner while operating a motor vehicle.  Motorists over 18 are allowed under Georgia law to talk on a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle; however, if they commit a traffic law violation while on the phone they can be cited for the violation as well not using due care while operating a motor vehicle.  That means drivers can receive two separate citations!

The Dalton Police Department is committed to making the streets of Dalton safe for all motorists not only through enforcement, but through education as well.  Anyone belonging to a civic group, church group, school or any employers who would like to sponsor an education event please contact the department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit at 706-278-9085, ext 124.  

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Traffic, Drugs at Week 6 of the Citizens Police Academy

The Dalton Police Department's Citizens Police Academy met Tuesday night for its sixth class, this time focusing on the Drug Unit and the Traffic Unit.  As part of the night's program, participants got a chance to find out what it's like to drive under the influence of alcohol on "Fatal Vision", the department's drunk driving simulator program.  If they had any doubts beforehand, after their spin through the cones participants had figured out driving impaired is a bad idea.

Detectives from the DPD Drug Unit opened the evening's program with a presentation about their efforts to curb the sale and use of illegal drugs in Dalton.  The detectives, who aren't named here to protect their undercover status, discussed the way they investigate drug crimes and get dealers off of the streets.  Each detective also described the different drugs seen frequently in Dalton, such as marijuana, meth, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, prescription meds and others.  From the street value of each drug to their harmful side effects, detectives gave the Citizens Academy a crash course in narcotics and why they're dangerous.

Next, Officers Steve Zahn and Woody Cantrell from the Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) took the class across the street to the parking lot of the old Municipal Court building.  There, they'd set up the traffic cone course for the "Fatal Vision" golf cart.  "Fatal Vision" uses special goggles which simulate alcohol impairment, disorienting drivers enough to make them feel similar effects to drinking.  While attempting to navigate the cone course, most drivers took out a lot of traffic cones along the way.  That provoked a lot of laughter from fellow classmates, and also officers watching, but the message is a serious one: don't drink and drive.  The consequences of driving a car while impaired are much too serious to take the risk.  

Before heading back into the classroom at the Police Services Center, Officer Woody Cantrell also demonstrated a laser gun used in speed detection.  Standing by Waugh Street, Officer Cantrell showed how the device is used and allowed several academy participants to try the device out on passing cars.  

Once back inside the classroom, Officer Zahn discussed the different operations and educational efforts the TEU leads to make the roadways of Dalton more safe.  In addition to Operation: Click It or Ticket and Operation: Zero Tolerance which are nationwide mobilizations targeting seat belt use and DUI, respectfully, the TEU also undertakes several mobilizations of its own.  

One target that the TEU has been focused on since late 2011 is distracted driving.  Most people know that texting while driving is now illegal in Georgia; it's also illegal for those under the age of 18 to talk on a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.  However, many drivers don't understand that it's illegal to engage in ANY activity … whether it's use of a cell phone, the radio, checking makeup, or even eating a sandwich … that distracts a driver from the safe operation of their vehicle.  Statistics compiled by the TEU show that since September 2011, there have been more crashes with injuries caused by a distracted driver in Dalton (23) than injury crashes caused by excessive speed or DUI combined (17).  The TEU has added texting to the "Fatal Vision" program for students at Dalton High School, and is also working on other educational efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.  The TEU is also working on enforcement of both the law against texting while driving and the law against distracted driving.  

Click "Play" in the window below to see video from Tuesday night's meeting of the Citizens Police Academy. Click here to see a photo gallery from last night's session on the DPD Facebook page.

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Promotions, Honors at Public Safety Commission Meeting

DFD Promotion

The Dalton Public Safety Commission met for its March 2012 meeting this morning at Dalton City Hall.  The Dalton Fire Chief Bruce Satterfield opened the meeting, presenting Captain Chris Cantrell to the commission for promotion to Battalion Chief.  His promotion was approved by a unanimous 4-0 vote (Commissioner Carlos Calderin was not in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting). 

Battalion Chief Cantrell has served the Dalton Fire Department since February 1993, rising through the ranks to the rank of captain in 2009.  Before joining the DFD, Cantrell worked as a volunteer firefighter with the Whitfield County Fire Department.  Cantrell is one of the department’s five POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training Council) certified fire investigators.  He also has a host of other certifications and qualifications.

DFD Report

Chief Satterfield presented the department’s statistical report for the month of February, noting that calls for service were up to 233 from 206 in February 2011.  The total property value exposed to fire in February 2012 was more than $866,000, and the total estimated loss due to fire in February was $272,000.

The DFD also completed more than 2,300 hours of training in February, including a class on flammable liquids as well as other routine training.

DPD Chaplains Recognized

Police Chief Jason Parker also had special recognition for members of his agency, presenting the department’s volunteer chaplains with their President’s Awards for Volunteer Service.  The award is a prestigious national honor that recognizes years of sustained volunteer service.  It was created in 2003 and can be awarded to Americans in every walk of life.  Individuals, families, or organizations submit a record of volunteer service hours to certifying organizations that verify the service and deliver the award.  Each award is signed by President Barack Obama.

Chaplain Donald Treick qualified for the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award with 512 hours of volunteer service in 2011.  Chaplain Ray McCranie (201 hours) and Chaplain Ronald Guffey each qualified for the Bronze President’s Volunteer Service Awards.  As a group, the chaplains have donated nearly 900 hours of volunteer service to the Dalton Police Department. 

DPD Report

Police Chief Jason Parker reported that “Part I” crimes were down 22% in February 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.  The reported rate for each of the “Part I” categories (homicide, rape, burglary, aggravated assault, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson) was down except for robbery, which remained the same.  Total crime incident rates decreased by 12%.  “Part II” crimes did show an increase in February, mainly in the area of drug sales and DUI arrests.

Calls for service were down 1% in February 2012 compared to the same month in 2011.  Year to date, service calls are still up 1.2% over 2011. 

Traffic crashes increased 6.8% in February compared to the same period last year, continuing a steady upward trend.  

Below: DFD Chief Bruce Satterfield congratulates Chris Cantrell on his promotion; Chaplains Ray McCranie and Don Treick pose with DPD Chief Jason Parker after receiving their President's Awards for Volunteer Service (click here to see more pictures from Tuesday's meeting on the DPD Facebook page)

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Showing Support

The DPD's Citizens Police Academy met once again on Tuesday night, taking a look at the Support Services Division.  Support Services is responsible for everything from training, record keeping, information technology, maintenance of equipment, vehicles, and the building as well as public relations and internal affairs.

Chief Jason Parker began the session with a brief discussion of the different applications of technology in the agency, from the computer systems mounted in patrol cars to the advances in the records management system which has made access to information on investigations and suspects much more accessible to officers in the field.

Captain Cliff Cason, division commander for Support Services, followed Chief Parker with an overview of the division's operations.  Cason discussed the internal affairs process, telling the class how any citizen complaints are investigated and treated.  All complaints from the public are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

Next, Captain Cason turned it over to Public Relations Specialist Bruce Frazier, who discussed the way the department works with area media on coverage of crime and the department's activities.  In addition to media relations, Frazier maintains the department's online presence through the DPD Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.   

Officer Brian Pack, who oversees the department's training, spoke next.  While the Georgia POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) Council requires at least 20 hours of training each year for officers to maintain their arrest powers, the Dalton Police Department requires above and beyond that level of annual training. Officer Pack discussed some of the different training courses officers take each year.

Officer Brian Shirley wrapped up the session, first with presentation about his role as the agency's certification manager.  The Dalton Police Department is one of just 100 agencies in Georgia to be certified by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.  Now, the agency is working to achieve a higher accreditation from CALEA (the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies).  That international accreditation will reinforce the DPD's status as one of the most professional law enforcement organizations in the country.

After that, Officer Shirley shifted gears and discussed different ways citizens can become tougher targets for criminals.  Talking about situation awareness, he mentioned different bad habits of which most people are guilty such as walking through parking lots while weighted down with heavy bags and not paying attention to one's surroundings.  In addition to being more aware of surroundings and watching for suspicious behavior, Officer Shirley also suggested several changes such as opting for windowless doors to improve home security.  

Below:

Officer Brian Pack discusses training at the Dalton Police Department; Officer Brian Shirley tells the class about the agency's certification efforts (for more pictures, click here to see a photo gallery on the DPD Facebook page)

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DPD Makes Arrest in “Not So Good” Samaritan Purse Theft

This morning, 37 year old Tanada E. Cabone of 1108 Danielle Drive turned herself in to the Dalton Police Department on a charge of felony theft of loss or mislaid property in connection to the theft of a purse last month from a Dalton restaurant.  Anonymous tips from the public helped lead investigators to seek a warrant for Cabone’s arrest.

The theft happened February 25th at the Hardee’s on Cleveland Highway.  The victim was eating at a table with friends when a booth became available and her group moved.  When the victim came back to the original table to get her purse, the purse was gone.  She asked other customers if they saw what happened, and they told the victim that a woman had just taken it.  The victim immediately called police. 

While officers were taking her report, the victim got a call from her son.  He’d just gotten a call at home from the Family Dollar Store on East Morris Street saying that they had her purse.  Employees there told officers that the purse was turned in by a woman who claimed that she’d found it in a shopping cart outside in the parking lot.  When the victim checked the bag, she found that everything was still inside it except for $800 in cash and her debit card.  After checking surveillance video at both locations, investigators determined that the woman who turned in the purse, Cabone, was the same woman who stole it from Hardee’s.

On March 9th, investigators distributed the suspect’s picture to area media outlets and also the department’s blog site, Facebook and Twitter pages.  Less than two hours after the image appeared on the internet, Detective Brandon Carter started to get multiple anonymous phone tips that the suspect was Tanada Cabone.  After further investigation, Detective Carter obtained a warrant for her arrest last week and arranged for Cabone to turn herself in this morning at the Police Services Center.

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Reminder: Pancake Breakfast Coming Up on Saturday

The Dalton Police Department Explorers will hold a pancake breakfast at Longhorn Steakhouse on March 24th from 7 am to 10 am. Funds raised at the event will support the members of the DPD Explorers when they travel to Fort Collins, Colorado to compete at the National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference in July. 

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. 

Tickets to the March 24th pancake breakfast cost $5 each and can be purchased in advance at the Dalton Police Services Center at 301 Jones Street or at the door.

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“CSI” Meets the DPD CPA

The members of the Dalton Police Department's 2012 Citizens Police Academy got a real-life taste of the TV show "CSI" tonight.  Week 4 of the course featured a presentation from the department's crime scene investigator Detective Mack Flood who told the group that there are a lot of differences between what he does as a real world CSI and some of the tricks they can pull on television.

Detective Flood started his presentation by explaining step by step how he processes a crime scene, painstakingly documenting everything with photographs.  Then, Detective Flood talked about fingerprints and how they're collected and showed the group some examples he's collected over the years.  He also showed the class some plaster casts he has made of shoe prints and tire tracks, which he says tend to solve more crimes than fingerprints.  Along the way, Detective Flood shared plenty of "war stories" of how different pieces of evidence led to cases being solved.  He also showed off some tools of his trade, from various fingerprint powders to special compounds that glow when they come into contact with body fluids like blood.

After the presentation, Detective Flood led the group on a tour of the department's Crime Scene Unit, a large van outfitted with a mobile lab for processing crime scenes.  Academy participants got to look in all of the drawers and cabinets to see different tools used by investigators while Detective Flood described how they worked.  

The CSI presentation concluded with Detective Flood showing some photos from real scenes from previous investigations and letting the participants try to decode what happened at each scene.  

Below: Detective Mack Flood discusses his job as the DPD's crime scene investigator; participants tour the DPD Crime Scene Unit (to see more pictures from Week 4 of the Citizens Police Academy, click here to see a photo gallery on the DPD Facebook page)

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DPD Seeks Not-So-Good Samaritan In Purse Theft

UPDATE (3/20/12): An arrest has been made in this case.

The Dalton Police Department is asking for the public’s help identifying a woman who stole a woman’s purse from a Dalton restaurant, only to turn it in at a Family Dollar store claiming that it had been left behind by a customer.  In the meantime, $800 cash and a bank debit card were stolen from the purse.

The incident happened around 10:00 am on February 25th at the Hardee’s on Cleveland Highway.  The victim was eating at a table with friends when a booth became available and the group moved.  When the victim came back to the original table to get her purse, the purse was gone.  She asked other customers if they saw what happened, and they told the victim that a woman had just taken it.  The victim immediately called police. 

While officers were taking her report, the victim got a call from her son.  He’d just gotten a call at home from the Family Dollar Store on East Morris Street saying that they had her purse.  Employees there told officers that the purse was turned in by a woman who claimed that she’d found it in a shopping cart outside in the parking lot.  When the victim checked the bag, she found that everything was still inside it except for $800 in cash and her debit card. 

A DPD investigator checked surveillance tapes from both the Hardee’s and the Family Dollar store and determined that the woman who turned it in at the Family Dollar was the same woman who took the purse in the first place.  She’s a heavy set white female with brown hair that appeared to be tied back.  She wore blue jeans and a tan or beige sweater with three buttons.  At Hardee’s, she was with a white male who wore some sort of private security uniform.  Surveillance pictures from both stores are included below.

If you have any information on this crime or if you know the identity of the suspect or the man who was with her at Hardee’s, please contact Detective Brandon Carter at 706-278-9085, extension 183.

Below: The female suspect is pictured at both Hardee's and the Family Dollar store (click images to see a larger version)

Purse Suspect 1 Purse Suspect 2

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Busy Nights at the Citizens Police Academy

The Dalton Police Department's Citizens Police Academy continued over the past two Tuesday nights, covering a wide range of topics in the DPD's Patrol Division and Criminal Investigations Division (CID).  Last night, Week 3 of the Academy covered the functions of CID and also a discussion of gang activity in Dalton by DPD detectives assigned to the FBI Conasauga Safe Streets Task Force.

Sergeant Chip Whitfield, the Operations Sergeant for CID, spoke to the Citizens Academy group for an hour, mostly answering questions about the way the department's detectives investigate cases.  Sergeant Whitfield studies reports each day as they come in from the Patrol Division, and assigns cases to investigators when it is determined that they can be solved through deeper investigation.  Sergeant Whitfield manages both the department's general case investigators as well as the detectives assigned to the specialized Drug Unit and the Safe Streets Task Force.

Speaking of the Task Force, Detectives Chris Tucker and Ron Kilgore followed up Sgt. Whitfield's presentation with an in depth look at gangs in Dalton and their work to fight gang crime with the FBI Task Force.  Named for the Conasauga Judicial Circuit, the Conasauga Safe Streets Task Force is comprised of detectives from the DPD, Whitfield County Sheriff's Office, and also Gordon County who are deputized by the FBI and tasked with monitoring the gang problem in our area.  Detectives collect intelligence on gang members and gang activity in the area and employ many different strategies to fight against the problem.  The biggest weapon against gangs, though, is community awareness and involvement.  If you want to learn ways to spot potential gang activity or think a loved one may be close to becoming involved with a gang, click here. You can also make an anonymous report of gang activity or any other crime by clicking here.

On February 28th, the group met for Week 2 of the Citizens Academy.  The night began with a talk by Captain Tom Phillips about the Patrol Division.  Captain Phillips discussed the structure and organization of the division, explaining that each of the three patrol shifts is commanded by one lieutenant who is also in charge of enforcement operations in one of the city's three districts.  Patrol sergeants supervise the patrol officers and report back to their shift lieutenant.  Captain Phillips also discussed some of the division's specialized units such as the Situational Response Unit (SRU), Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU), and the School Resource Officers (SRO).

SRO Mike Bowen also spoke to the Week 2 class, discussing the role of the departments SROs in Dalton's City Schools.  Two officers are currently assigned as SROs, with Officer Bowen assigned to Dalton High School and Officer Terry Smith assigned to Dalton Middle School.  Both officers also spend time in the city's elementary schools.  The SROs aren't just security for the schools or babysitters.  They serve as counselors to students, and also as instructors.  SROs are often called upon to teach classes on topics related to law enforcement such as bullying or drugs.

Members of the SRU also met with the Week 2 group.  Sergeant Steve Hodge supervises the SRU, and he explained his group's role in the Patrol Division.  The SRU is a small group of officers who work flexible schedules so they can address different situations or trouble spots in town as the need arises.  The SRU can target enforcement against specific problems, and typically works on street level drug problems or other situations.  The DPD's Bike Unit is also part of the SRU.

The department's chaplains also met with the Citizens Academy group, explaining their role as counselors to officers and victims of crime in the community alike.  The DPD chaplains have traveled to disaster scenes such as the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina and also Ground Zero after 9/11 to counsel first responders to those tragedies.  Closer to home, the chaplains often assist DPD officers when they have to make death notifications in the community.  

Below: DPD Captain Tom Phillips addresses the Citizens Academy Class during Week 2, and Sergeant Chip Whitfield talks to the group during Week 3. (To see more pictures from Weeks 2 and 3, click here to see a gallery on the DPD Facebook page)

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Update on Investigation of Fatal Crash

The investigation of an early Sunday morning crash that claimed the life of a 26 year old Dalton woman has determined that alcohol and speed were both contributing factors to the incident.

The DPD Traffic Unit reports that evidence obtained during the investigation shows the driver, 26 year old Ashleigh Nicole Sims, had a blood alcohol concentration that was nearly three times the legal limit when the car she was driving left the roadway, overturned and came to rest on its top.  Sims' cause of death was determined to be massive head injuries sustained in the one vehicle crash.  There were no other passengers in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

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