Posts on Jan 1970

April Public Safety Commission Meeting Notes

Issues Citations For Service In Deadly Fire

Dalton Fire Chief Bruce Satterfield opened Tuesday morning’s
meeting of the Public Safety Commission with a series of commendations for
outstanding service in a late February fire. Four Dalton firefighters received
commendations and their shift collectively received a unit citation.

The incident occurred just after midnight on February 20th
at 217 Griffin Street. Firefighters responded to a report of a structure fire
and found a fire burning in the front area of the home. Firefighters searched
the home and found Danny Hooper unconscious in the front bedroom and Joy Hooper
on the floor of a back bedroom. 
Firefighters were able to get both victims out of the house and resuscitated
both victims before they were transported to Hamilton Medical Center and later
by helicopter to a burn center in Augusta.

Captain Brandon Bray, Lieutenant Alan Ridley, Firefighter
III Bobby Maton and Firefighter Terry Rogers each received commendations in
front of the Public Safety Commission for their rescue efforts in the fire.  The rest of their shift also received a unit
citation.  In addition to the four
honored individually, also named on the unit citation were Lieutenants Mike
Cady and Mike Sloan, Engineers Brad Chandler, Steven Simpkins, Chris Ault, and
Scott Thomas, Firefighter III Greg Metcalf, Firefighter IIs Josh Peek and
Robbie Townsend, and Firefighters Josh Burns and Katelyn Farmer.

Unfortunately, the Hoopers later died from their injuries
and Chief Satterfield expressed the fire department’s condolences to their
family for their loss.

CALEA Update

Police Chief Jason Parker used part of his presentation to update
the Public Safety Commission on the recently completed inspection of the police
department by two assessors from CALEA (the Commission on Accreditation for Law
Enforcement Agencies, Inc). 

The assessment team spent four days in Dalton to assess the
agency’s adherence to more than 480 CALEA standards for law enforcement agency
best practices.  Chief Parker told the
PSC that the assessors left Dalton impressed with the agency’s performance and
that they would be recommending the DPD for CALEA accreditation.  Chief Parker commended the work of Officer
Brian Shirley who has served as the manager for the accreditation process and
Lt. Chris Cooke who has supervised the work. 
In August, Chief Parker will travel with other members of the DPD staff to
Columbus, Ohio for a hearing with CALEA which should be the final step in the
two-year process to earn national accreditation. 

Slower March, But
Busier First Quarter

Chief Parker also reviewed crime statistics in Dalton for
the commissioners, noting that March 2013 was a much slower month for Part 1
crimes than March 2012, but the reported rate of Part 1 crimes is still up for
the year.  Part 1 crime reports were down
22 percent compared to March 2012, but they’re up 7.5 percent through the first
three months of 2013.  The biggest
increase is seen in property crimes.

The clearance rate for violent crimes went up by 10 percent to
63 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to last year. 

In the Uniform Crime Reporting system (UCR), Part I crimes include
homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle
theft, and arson.

Traffic crashes were down 19 percent in March 2013, and
there has also been a decrease in the number of crashes year-to-date.  However, March saw the third traffic fatality
of the year in Dalton.

Below: (L to R) Firefighter III Bobby Maton, Lt. Alan Ridley,
Firefighter Terry Rogers, and Captain Brandon Bray stand after receiving
commendations for their roles in a February fire rescue; Dalton firefighters stand for a unit commendation (click images to see a larger version)


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Lighting the Flame

Today's one of the days Dalton Police officers look forward to each year.  It's track and field day for the Dalton-Whitfield County Special Olympics, and every year selected DPD officers help to kick off the games by participating in the opening ceremonies.

Friday morning's opening ceremonies at Coahulla Creek High School opened with the parade of athletes from the various participating area schools.  After that, four members of the DPD's Honor Guard presented the colors while the national anthem was played by one of Dalton High School's Special Olympic athletes.  The highlight of the opening ceremony is the Torch Run relay, where Special Olympic athletes bring in the Special Olympic torch while being escorted by law enforcement officers.  DPD officers walked and ran with athletes as they delivered the flame to DPD Assistant Chief Truman Whitfield who lit the main torch to signal the start of the games.

Thanks as always to the Dalton-Whitfield County Special Olympics and all the athletes for letting us be a part of a wonderful day and spirited competition! 

Below: Officer Terry Smith hands the Special Olympic to an athlete before the torch relay; DPD Honor Guard presents the colors for the national anthem; Lt. Chris Crossen runs the final leg of the torch relay with a Special Olympic athlete; Assistant Chief Truman Whitfield lights the Special Olympic flame (click images to see a larger version)


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Incident Command: Alphabet Soup For The Citizens Academy

The Dalton Police Department's 21st Citizens Police Academy met for the next-to-last time on Tuesday night for a lesson on Incident Command.  While the discussion featured only a small portion of the acronyms which are thrown at officers as they learn about the National Incident Management System (NIMS), participants still left with an understanding of how first responders try to bring order to chaotic situations.

NIMS was created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to create an orderly system to help many different responding agencies to work well together during incidents.  Lt. Mike Wilson, one of the DPD's District Commanders, walked the Citizens Academy class through how Incident Command works and when the system is put into operation.  IC (another acronym!) is set up not just during emergency situations such as a natural disaster or bomb threat, but also for planned events such as parades or 5K road races.  The first responder to reach a scene is the Incident Commander until he or she is relieved by higher-ups.  NIMS provides a structure for the Incident Commander to direct all responses to a situation until it is resolved.

As part of the discussion of Incident Command, participants toured two of the mobile units used by responders in the field as command posts: the Dalton Police Department's own command trailer and the Whitfield County Emergency Management Agency's Mobile Command Unit.  WCEMA Deputy Director Jeff Ownby gave a tour of the Mobile Command and explained its different communications capabilities.  

Next week will be the final class for the Citizens Academy covering the use of force.  Then there will be a graduation ceremony on May 7th.  

Below: Lt. Mike Wilson leads a discussion of the Incident Command and Citizens Academy participants tour the Mobile Command Unit


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Finding Your Neighborhood Officer

UPDATE (2/25/14): The method for contacting officers in the Neighborhood Policing Program has changed.

In 2009, the Dalton Police Department launced an initiative called the Neighborhood Policing Program.  In addition to components such as an interactive online crime map of Dalton (online at the program assigned a small "beat" to each of the DPD's officers.  

The idea of the program was to give Dalton residents a contact person within the department for any questions or concerns they may have about events in their neighborhood.  While each officer isn't in charge of law enforcement in that beat – in emergencies, residents are always directed to call 911 and not a neighborhood officer contact – that officer is the point of contact for issues which may need to be investigated. The list of neighborhood officers has recently been updated on our web site to reflect the latest assignments. To find your neighborhood officer, click here to be directed to a map of Dalton.  Zoom in and click the beat number for your neighborhood and you'll find your officer's name and email address.  

The Dalton Police Department has also set up a separate website at devoted solely to municipal code violations.  Any Dalton residents with concerns about potential code violations in their neighborhoods (such as overgrown lawns, properties in a state of disrepair, or other issues) can visit the site to submit a request to the DPD's code enforcement officers to check it out.

The agency also has set up an anonymous crime tip reporting system that can be accessed either by phone or online.  To report a drug or crime tip by phone, call 706-278-9085 and press 9.  Then enter extension number 221 and leave a message with as much detail as possible.  To report a drug or crime tip online, click here and leave as detailed a message as possible.  If you wish to be contacted by an investigator you can leave your name and contact information, but it is not required. 

Better communication with the residents of Dalton helps our officers do their job much more efficiently.  Our officers can't be everywhere in town at once, so we rely on partnerships with our citizens to be the "eyes and ears" of the agency.  Communicating with the department through neighborhood officers or any other means is a great way to work together to keep Dalton safe.  

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New DPD Officers Graduate From Police Academy

Two new Dalton Police officers graduted from the GPSTC (Georgia Public Safety Training Center) Police Academy in Forsyth on Friday.  Officers Lane Bennett and Michael
Ware both graduated in a ceremony attended by Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker. 

The two new officers will begin the next phase of their training next week with the Dalton Police Department's own "mini-Academy" followed by the Field Training Program.  They will also have their badges pinned in a special ceremony at the Police Services Center.  

Below: New DPD Officers Lane Bennett (left) and Michael
Ware (right).


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VIDEO: The Transition to the Glock 22

The Dalton Police Department is in the middle of a two-week long transition from our old Sig Sauer P229 handguns to a new weapon, the 4th generation Glock 22.  Every officer is being issued the new handgun as their new duty weapon.  During the transition, groups of ten officers at a time are training at the firing range on the new weapons and qualifying in both daylight and nighttime conditions.

Click "Play" in the window below to learn more. 

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More Firing Range Photos

On Wednesday, another group of DPD officers got their new Glock 22 handguns and spent the day at the Whitfield County firing range to train and qualify with their new weapons.  To see a photo gallery from today's training session at the DPD Facebook page, click here.

Make sure to hit the "Like" button on our page while you're there to get more updates from the Dalton Police Department!

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A Bad Night To Be A Traffic Cone

The Dalton Police Department's 21st Citizens Police Academy learned the finer points of traffic enforcement at Tuesday night's meeting.  The session focused on the department's Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) and included a ride through the Fatal Vision course which raises awareness about impaired and distracted driving.

The class started in the parking lot of the old municipal court building across Waugh Street from the Police Services Center.  There, the TEU had set up a cone course through which academy members attempted to drive the Fatal Vision golf cart.  That process was complicated a bit by the addition of the Fatal Vision goggles which distort the vision of the driver and simulate alcohol intoxication.  All of the academy participants had difficulty making it through the course, and many traffic cones were harmed during the exercise.  The TEU offers the course to students at Dalton High School every year (where they also have teen drivers attempt to text while driving to demonstrate how dangerous it is to drive while distracted) and also sets it up for any civic or business organizations in Dalton interested in raising awareness of the dangers of impaired or distracted driving.  

Academy participants also got a chance to play traffic cop on Tuesday night, testing out one of the LIDAR laser speed detection units to check the speed of passing cars. 

After the Fatal Vision exercise, the class returned to the DPD's training room for look at the rest of the Traffic Unit's role in the Dalton Police Department.  Officer Woody Cantrell explained how he works with the rest of the patrol division to perform traffic details in conjunction with national law enforcement mobilizations such as Operation Zero Tolerance and Click It Or Ticket.  The Traffic Unit also compiles and analyzes crash statistics for the city and performs different operations throughout the year to target areas experiencing higher rates of crashes.  While nobody likes getting speeding tickets, Officer Cantrell also showed pictures from crashes caused by speed and other factors to remind the academy participants why traffic enforcement is important.  He also explained how the traffic unit investigates crashes and reconstructs crash incidents.

Anyone interested in having the Traffic Unit visit to conduct a Fatal Vision course can contact Officer Cantrell at 706-278-9085 extension 160.

Below: Officer Woody Cantrell explains the Fatal Vision course to the Citizens Academy class and then goes along for the ride as participants attempt to navigate the course wearing goggles that simulate alcohol intoxication; Officer Cantrell watches as Citizens Academy members use a laser to check the speed of passing cars (click images to see a larger version)


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DPD Issues First New Glocks

Today is Glock Day at the Dalton Police Department.  After several months of anticipation, the first wave of officers was issued their new Glock duty weapon today.

The agency approved a switch from the Sig Sauer P229 .40-caliber handguns the agency had carried for more than a decade to the new Glock guns earlier this year.  The old guns had been in service for nearly 15 years and while they were still in good condition, their usable lifetime as law enforcement equipment was coming to an end.  The cost of replacing the weapons with new Sig Sauer guns was estimated at $27,000 while the switch to the Glock 22 was approximately $14,000.  That cost includes the addition of a weapon-mounted light.  The weapon system upgrade is being paid for using drug seizure funds.  No taxpayer money is being used for the new guns.

The transition to a new weapon isn't as simple as just taking an officer's gun and handing him or her a new one, though.  The Georgia POST council (Peace Officers Standards and Training) requires officers to pass a qualifying course of fire with every weapon they're issued and Dalton Police Department policy requires officers to also qualify with any personal backup weapons they carry on duty.  That means a day spent at the Whitfield County firing range for every officer issued the new Glock 22.  In addition to qualifying, each officer is being trained both on the range and in the classroom on the operation of the new weapon.  Before qualifying, each officer is getting a chance to train with the new weapon and their new holster so they're used to the differences between the old guns and the new ones.  In addition to shooting in the day time, each officer is also qualifying under low light or night conditions.

The first ten officers to receive their new Glocks qualified on Monday, and the rest of the agency will get their new weapons over the course of the next two weeks.

Below: One of the new Glock 22 40-caliber handguns; Officer Chris McDonald, one of the DPD firearms instructors, explains some of the features of the new handguns to officers in a training classroom; Officers test fire their new weapons at the Whitfield County Firing Range (click images to see a larger version)

UPDATE: Click here to see a gallery on Facebook from Day 2 of the training.


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Working Together To Keep Dalton “Up To Code”

The Dalton Police Department is
beginning a new approach to the enforcement of municipal codes to improve the
appearance and safety of property throughout the city of Dalton.  The new effort includes the full-time
assignment of an officer to code enforcement duties and the establishment of a
website where citizens can submit complaints about code violations.  This effort is important not just for the
maintenance of property values and community pride; DPD leaders believe the
effort can also have a positive impact on crime prevention. 

While code enforcement has been a
part of the Dalton Police Department’s strategic plans every year (since
January 2011, the DPD has filed more than 330 incident reports on code
violations) the formation of a new code enforcement officer position and the
development of a new “Quality of Life” program represents a new focus on an
issue that is about more than just having things “look nice”.

Research suggests that areas where
codes governing the appearance of residential and business property are
enforced experience less crime than areas where property is neglected.  The so-called “Broken Windows Theory” states
that areas where buildings are allowed to fall into disrepair experience more
crime because criminals feel there is less order and residents are less
vigilant.  The theory was first put forth
by researcher James Q. Wilson in a 1982 article in The Atlantic. In 2005,
researchers from Harvard and Suffolk Universities found that when issues such
as broken street lamps, litter, building codes were focused on in crime “hot
spots” in Lowell Massachusetts, calls for service in those areas fell by 20

The city of Dalton’s municipal code
contains standards for the maintenance of residential and business properties.  Among the different types of violations the
police department will be working to correct are issues such as graffiti,
illegal signage, maintenance of existing structures, overgrown lots or yards, public
nuisances, and unregistered or inoperable vehicles left on property within the
city.  The code enforcement unit will
also work with owners or lien holders to ensure that abandoned or foreclosed
properties stay in compliance with the municipal code.  Dalton's code can be viewed at

The Dalton Police Department has
created a position within the Patrol Division for a Code Enforcement
Officer.  Officer Chris Cochran has been
assigned to this post.  He will work with
other patrol officers to identify problem areas and also systematically inspect
all property within the city limits.  The
DPD will also work to make the code enforcement function more effective through
proactive enforcement and also researching how other jurisdictions have
combated code problems.  The code
enforcement function will also work with Dalton’s city government to
development innovative codes and strategies to combat difficult problems.  Officer Cochran will also be working to
increase interaction with the community through media coverage and community

While Officer Cochran is the only
officer assigned specifically to code enforcement duties, all Dalton officers
will be able to assist with code enforcement functions.  One advantage to having a sworn law
enforcement officer working as the code enforcement officer is that Cochran
will also be available to assist with emergencies and other law enforcement
functions in the field as needed.

A code violation complaint form has
been set up at which
citizens can use to alert the police department about potential code violations
which need inspection.  

To read more about the DPD's new code enforcement initiative in the Dalton Daily Citizen, click here.

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