Posts on Jan 1970

Trick Or Treat!

If you see a bunch of zombies wandering the streets of Dalton on Friday night, don't fear.  It's not the zombie apocalypse (we're assuming), it's just Halloween. It's a fun night for kids and adults alike, but it can also be a dangerous night on our roadways. That's why the Dalton Police Department is reminding drivers to be on the lookout for kids on Friday!

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ranks Halloween among the Top 3 most deadly days for pedestrians.  Not only are there more children and parents walking on sidewalks and along roadways on Halloween, but many Halloween costumes can limit the wearer's vision which can cause them not to see approaching cars. Some Halloween costumes are also dark colored and can be harder to see as the evening wears on.  The Dalton Police Department reminds drivers to slow down and be on the lookout, especially when driving in residential areas.

The DPD also reminds parents and guardians who drive their trick-or-treaters from house to house to make sure they are obeying all occupant safety laws.  Never put more children into a vehicle than it was designed to carry.  All children under the age of eight must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat when the vehicle is on the roadway, and older kids must be buckled up in a seat belt.

The Dalton Police Department wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween. Here are more safety tips for Friday night's festivities provided by Safe Kids Worldwide:

Here are more Halloween Safety Tips provided by Safe Kids Worldwide:

Walk Safely!

  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks
  • Look left, right, and left again when crossing and keep looking both ways as you cross
  • Put electronic devices down and keep heads up. Walk, don't run, when crossing!
  • Teach children to make eye contact with stopped drivers before crossing in front of them.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or along paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left of the roadway as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up! Teach children to NEVER dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Keep Costumes Creative AND Safe

  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors
  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks which can obstruct a child's vision
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flash lights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent tripping and falling.

Trick or Treat With An Adult!

Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups. 

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Operation Thumbs Up: Distracted Driving Leads To Crash, Jail In Monday Incident

An incident that started with a man texting while driving ended with him being taken to jail.  On Monday afternoon, 24 year old Derrick Allen Davis was arrested by the Dalton Police Department for driving on a suspended driver’s license, leaving the scene of an accident, and texting while driving.

The incident happened just before 3:00 pm on Dug Gap Road when Davis rear ended a woman’s car while driving a red Dodge Neon. The woman told police that after the collision, she pulled into a parking lot on Walnut Avenue to exchange information and report the crash but Davis kept driving, turning eastbound on Walnut Avenue.  The woman called police and a Dalton officer pulled Davis over on East Walnut Avenue. 

Davis told police that he saw the woman wave and interpreted that as her saying to just keep driving.  Davis told the officer that he was reading a text message when he hit the woman’s car.  A check of Davis’ license found that it was suspended.  He was placed under arrest for driving on a suspected license and the other charges.

This month, the Dalton Police Department has been working to educate the public about the dangers involved with driving while distracted.  The department’s “Operation Thumbs Up” initiative has combined targeted patrols looking for distracted drivers in high crash areas with education efforts through traditional media, social media, and also presentations to different groups in the city.  Monday afternoon’s crash can serve as a reminder that texting while driving and other distracted driving behaviors can easily lead to an accident. 

Fortunately, neither driver in Monday’s incident was injured.

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Congratulations and Good Luck!

The Dalton Police Department said goodbye to one of its own today as Brad Jones celebrated his retirement from the agency.  Jones joined the DPD in 1988 as a dispatcher.  Jones served as a dispatcher until 1994 when he moved into the Property and Evidence room as a P&E Custodian.  He retired as the P&E supervisor.

Jones' retirement was celebrated with a ceremony and reception at the Police Services Center Friday afternoon. Fellow employees crowded the main hall for the reception along with Jones' family, friends, and some fellow DPD retirees.  

We wish you good luck, Brad! We will miss you!

Below: Scenes from Brad Jones' retirement celebration. To see more, click here to view a gallery on the DPD Facebook page

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Reminder: Road Closures Coming Saturday

Many roads in Dalton will be closed on Saturday morning to make way for the annual Red Carpet Half Marathon.  

To see a list of affected roads and the times they may be affected, click here.

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Traffic Unit Takes “Operation Thumbs Up” To Dalton High

In addition to enforcement on the road, a major component of the Dalton Police Department's month-long "Operation Thumbs Up" mobilization is educating the public about the dangers of distracted driving. Today, the DPD's Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) continued that mission with a visit to Dalton High School's Interact Club.

TEU Officer Brandon Daugherty gave a presentation to the students about the dangers of distracted driving, including statistics and pictures from Dalton area distracted driving incidents to back up the national stats. Officers also distributed pamphlets to the students about distracted driving.  

Most high school drivers are under the age of 18 which means that it's illegal for them to use a cell phone for any purpose while driving.  Drivers 18 years of age or older are allowed to talk on a phone but they aren't allowed to send or receive text messages or interact with any data. That point was reinforced to the DHS students Thursday, but they were also reminded that there are more distractions than just mobile devices. Georgia law prohibits drivers from engaging in any activity that distracts them from safely operating their vehicle.

The Interact Club is the Rotary Club's high school equivalent. 

Below: TEU Officer Brandon Daugherty discusses distracted driving with students from Dalton High School's Interact Club in the DHS auditorium

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Operation Thumbs Up: Eyes On The Road

This is a pretty impressive demonstration put on by Volkswagen for a movie theater audience in Hong Kong. The message? Keep your eyes on the road at all times.

The Dalton Police Department is working to make October “Distractober” in Dalton with “Operation Thumbs Up”.  Let’s keep our thumbs off of our phones and our eyes on the road while driving.  Distracted driving is dangerous and whatever it is that’s keeping your eyes or your mind off of the road ahead CAN wait.  

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Operation Thumbs Up: Responding To Public Concern

In the Dalton Police Department's 2014 Citizen Survey, more people called distracted driving a significant problem in town than any other public safety concern.  Overall, 68% of respondents termed distracted driving a significant concern, up from 57% in the 2011 Citizen Survey (see Table 12).

To address that concern, this month the DPD has launched "Operation Thumbs Up", an initiative of the Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) and the patrol division to curb distracted driving in Dalton through a combination of enforcement and education.  In addition to targeted patrols looking for distracted drivers on some of Dalton's most congested roadways, the TEU is also working to educate the public about the risks of driving distracted through social media messaging, working with traditional media outlets, and also by speaking to groups in the community.

The Citizen Survey is one of the exercises the department performs to identify issues within the community and the agency itself which need to be addressed in the upcoming Strategic Plan. The department's current three year strategic plan runs through the end of 2015 and has as one of its goals reducing the number of crashes in Dalton. Reducing distracted driving is one of the strategies being employed by officers to accomplish that goal. This month's launch of "Operation Thumbs Up" is part of that effort. The survey results show that campaigns like this one will be part of the next strategic planning cycle as well to address the concerns of Dalton residents. 

Below: DPD officer Bruce Franks speaks to a motorist after issuing a warning for distracted driving along Walnut Avenue during a recent "Operation Thumbs Up" patrol

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Rotary Club Recognizes Officer Houck

The Rotary Club of Dalton is recognizing Officer Michael Houck with its annual Public Safety Vocational Excellence Award. The award was presented at a luncheon Tuesday honoring Officer Houck and other recipients from Dalton/Whitfield area public safety agencies.

Officer Houck was the subject of media coverage over the summer as he saved a baby from choking thanks to being in the right place at the right time.  On August 11th, Houck was responding to a minor car crash on Foster Street about half a block from the child’s home.  As Houck was preparing to leave the scene, a neighbor of the victim ran up to him and began frantically speaking to Houck in Spanish.  One of the drivers involved in the crash translated and told Officer Houck that a baby was choking. Houck ran with the neighbor to 1107 Foster Street where the child’s mother was in the front yard with the baby in her arms.  She gave the seven month old baby to Houck, who found that the child was not crying or breathing.  Houck turned the baby over and began to apply back thrusts until the baby coughed up a small piece of a carrot.  The baby immediately began to cry and gasp for air.

With the driver’s help, Houck spoke to the baby’s mother and determined that the baby had pulled a sheet of jalapeno peppers over onto himself and the peppers irritated his skin and caused swelling.  Officer Houck and the baby’s mother flushed the child’s skin with water as emergency medical personnel arrived.  The EMS crew determined that the baby was OK. 

Officer Houck has been serving with the Dalton Police Department since June 2007.  In July of last year he was promoted to Police Officer 1st Class.  During the course of his career with the agency, he has received five letters of commendation, an outstanding performance award in February 2008 and he was honored as the agency's employee of the month in August 2014.

Each year, the Rotary Club of Dalton recognizes public safety employees in the community who go above and beyond the call of duty. Award recipients were chosen by both their superiors and their peers for the awards.

Below: Officer Michael Houck (left) accepts the Rotary Club's Public Safety Vocational Excellence Award from club president David Aft. Assistant Chief Truman Whitfield (right) introduced Officer Houck

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Operation Thumbs Up: Focusing On Dalton’s Distracted Drivers

Over the past three months in Dalton, distracted drivers have been blamed for more than twice the number of crashes as speeders and four times as many crashes as drivers under the influence of alcohol.  Nationwide, more than nine people are killed every day and more than 1,000 more are injured in crashes involving distracted drivers.

The Dalton Police Department wants drivers to focus on the road.  That's why this October, the agency's Traffic Enforcement Unit has launched "Operation Thumbs Up."  The idea is to educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving and encourage them to keep their thumbs off of their cell phone or any other distraction.

In addition to educational campaigns using social and traditional media outlets, the agency is engaging in enforcement campaigns to remind drivers of the danger posed by texting and driving and other distracted driving behaviors. This week, the DPD Traffic Unit has worked with the rest of the patrol division to stage targeted patrols on Walnut Avenue and Glenwood Avenue where the city experiences a high volume of rear-end collisions which are typically caused by a distracted driver.  The goal is not to write a bunch of tickets, but rather warn drivers who are spotted texting while driving on Dalton's most congested roads.  Over the course of the last three days, DPD officers have issued 50 warnings and one citation for distracted driving during targeted patrols.  18 of those warnings came during one two hour enforcement detail on Walnut Avenue today between 11 am and 1 pm.  

Most people do know that texting while driving is illegal in Georgia, and that it's illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use a cell phone while driving at all.  Drivers may not realize that other forms of distracted driving are also against Georgia law.  Georgia code 40-6-241 states that it's illegal for a drive to engage in any activity that distracts them from safe driving. Distractions can include cell phones, tuning a radio, reaching for objects on the floor, eating, or grooming… anything that causes you to drive in an unsafe manner.

According to statistics compiled by the DPD Traffic Unit since 2012, distracted driving has been blamed for at least 120 Dalton car crashes each year.  That accounts for between 10 and 12 percent of wrecks in each of the years studied.  That’s nearly double the roughly 6 percent of crashes in Dalton attributed to speeding or driving under the influence each year.

Let's make Dalton's roads safer for everyone by putting down our cell phones and anything else that's keeping our eyes off of the road. 

Below: Officer Brandon Daugherty from the DPD Traffic Unit watches for distracted drivers from a parking lot overlooking Walnut Avenue on Thursday afternoon and reports them to other DPD officers who pull over and warn violators

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