Posts on Jan 1970

Happy New Year! Let’s Stay Safe On The Road To 2015

Happy New Year from the Dalton Police Department! If you're planning to run in 2015 with a party or a night on the town, you're not alone. But the DPD urges you to make it a safe and happy celebration by NOT drinking and driving. Now is the time to plan ahead to make sure 2015 gets off to a safe (and lega!) start.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan a safe New Year's celebration:

If you plan to host a New Year’s Eve party…

  • Make sure your guests have designated, sober drivers.
  • Remind the sober drivers to look up addresses/directions prior to leaving and avoid other distractions.
  • Never serve alcohol to guests under 21-years-of-age.
  • Serve plenty of food…and include soft drinks, juice, and water.
  • Take car keys from anyone who thinks about driving impaired.
  • Keep the numbers for local cab companies on hand for impaired guests or arrange alternative transportation.

If you plan to attend a New Year’s Eve party, here are some tips to ensure that you arrive home safely:

  • Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give them your car keys.
  • Ensure your driver is clear on where to take you prior to leaving.  Looking up directions while driving can be dangerous and unlawful.
  • 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.

As motorists, you can help the DPD keep New Year's and all of 2015 safe and happy by buckling up, slowing down, avoiding distractions, and driving sober. Keep in mind that while DPD officers are always watching out for impaired drivers and other unsafe driving habits, Operation Zero Tolerance is still in effect throughout Georgia and the rest of the country through the first week of January. Law enforcement everywhere are focused on keeping impaired drivers off of the road.

Please, keep this information in mind as you enjoy your time with friends and family.  The Dalton Police Department reminds you to stay safe as you celebrate and stay alert as you travel.  We wish everyone a Happy New Year!

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Homicide Investigation Continues

The Dalton Police Department's investigation of the December 22nd killing of Dalton resident Paul Guerrant is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information about the crime to please contact police.

At 9:37 pm on December 22nd, 911 dispatchers got a report of a man lying in the middle of Dozier Street bleeding from his head. Dalton officers responded and found 43 year old Paul Guerrant severely beaten and lying in the road, clinging to life. He was transported to Hamilton Medical Center and later to Erlanger in Chattanooga where he was pronounced dead. 

Investigators have determined that Guerrant was walking home from a meeting at St. Mark's Episcopal Church that night when he was attacked. The attack took place between 9:28 pm when Guerrant ended a cell phone conversation with a friend from outside Georgia and the 9:37 pm 911 call.  Investigators have retrieved surveillance video from various area businesses lying along Guerrant's route that night and have found video of him walking alone as far as Frederick Street, near the scene of the crime.  The coroner's office has determined that Guerrant was killed by multiple blunt force wounds to his head.

Investigators are working to identify a suspect in the killing. The DPD is asking anyone with information on this crime to please contact Detective Chris Tucker at 706-278-9085, dial 9 and then enter extension 165. Any piece of information could be helpful. 

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DPD Hosts Driver Training For Teens

Officers from the DPD Traffic Unit traded in their uniforms for white instructor polo shirts to teach a driver's training course to a group of Dalton teens. The department's first offering of the Collision Avoidance Training (CAT) course took place at the North Georgia Fairgrounds under cold, gloomy skies Monday.

The CAT course is not a typical "Driver's Ed" class. It's designed to be an advanced defensive driving and vehicle control program designed for teenage drivers. The 10-hour course is taught by trained and certified Dalton Police Officers over a two-day period including 2 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours of one-on-one behind-the-wheel training. The class is limited to ten students each time it is offered.

Most crashes involving teenage drivers are classified as “avoidable” and are due to a lack of experience or training. That is the theme behind the course's curriculum. The course is designed to give the student a better understanding of the responsibilities and liabilities of the driver, vehicle dynamics, friction and the effects of intoxicating substances on their ability to operate a vehicle.  Students worked with DPD officers on different life-saving skills such as evasive maneuvers, emergency and threshold braking, forward and reverse driving, cornering, and backing.  

At the end of the class, students who have successfully completed all driving range skills received a completion certificate.

Stay tuned to the Dalton Police Department's news site, Facebook page, and Twitter feed for announcments of future CAT classes.

Below: Officer David Saylors rides with a CAT class student while explaining a backing maneuver; Officer Saylors stands with Sergeant Daniel Nicholson while supervising the class; a student practices a backing maneuver on a cone course

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Prescription Drug Disposal Box Installed At Police Services Center

The Dalton Police Department is providing the public a safe place to dispose of unused prescription medications. The department has installed a new prescription drug drop box in the lobby of the Police Services Center. The box was donated by the CVS Pharmacy.

Unused prescription medications often sit in medicine cabinets where they can fall into the hands of kids or other people with access to the home. Throwing medications out with the trash can be dangerous as certain medications can affect people or animals who come into contact with them.  Flushing medications can have a negative impact on the water supply. By providing a safe place for people to dispose of unwanted or unused medications, the police department hopes to prevent those medications from potentially being abused or affecting our water.

The box can be used at the Police Services Center lobby at 301 Jones Street Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm. The box can be used only for prescription drugs. It is not intended for the disposal of illegal drugs. The box is also not intended for needles, liquids, inhalers, or thermometers.

CVS donated the box to the police department as part of their Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program. CVS is located in Dalton at 2501 East Walnut Avenue. 

Below: The prescription drug disposal box in the lobby of the Police Services Center

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DPD Officer On Administrative Leave Pending Termination

The Dalton Police Department placed officer Daniel Tolbert on administrative leave nine days ago, immediately after being informed by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) that he was being investigated on suspicion of child molestation.  Tolbert was arrested on a charge of child molestation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation shortly after 5:00 pm today.  Any requests for information about the criminal investigation or Tolbert’s arrest should be directed to the GBI.

Tolbert has served the Dalton Police Department for three months after completing the police academy in September. He was sworn in on September 16, 2014.  At the time of his suspension, Tolbert was still in the department’s field training program.  Because of his status as a trainee, Tolbert was never unsupervised or alone while on duty as a Dalton officer.  Probationary trainees ride with an experienced training officer for three phases of field training for at least four months after completing the police academy.

While Tolbert is currently on administrative leave, the city will begin the process of his termination immediately.

“I am very disappointed to hear about this allegation, and upset about the discredit this will surely bring on our department, and officers,” said Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker. “We would never condone or support the kind of behavior that would warrant this charge….the men and women of this department hold ourselves to a very high standard of behavior, and we know the community we serve expects our behavior to be beyond reproach.”

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DPD Names Employees Of The Year

The Dalton Police Department honored several of its own on Friday night at the agency's annual Christmas party. It has become tradition for the department to hand out its annual year-end awards at the event. Among the awards were honors for Officer Michael Houck as the Officer of the Year and Brad Jones as the department's Non-Sworn Employee of the Year.

The awards presentation began with the PTO (Police Training Officer) Award, which was presented to Officer Steven McBrayer. The award is given each year to the officer in the department's training program that demonstrates excellence in training and mentoring the agency's newest officers.

Next, the department handed out the four Commanders Awards which are selected by the heads of each of the agency's four divisions. The Patrol Division Commanders Award went to Officer Osvaldo Sicairos. The Criminal Investigation Division's Commanders Award went to Detective Jason Bishop. In Support Services, the Commanders Award went to Mary Weathers in Records. And the Administration Division's Commanders Award was presented to Officer Chad Owen who is overseeing the agency's certification and accreditation efforts.

Sergeant Steve Zahn was presented the department's Leadership Award. And the Innovation In Police Services Award was given to Officer Brian Pack, who created a set of new online training courses for the agency which saved time for trainers and allowed the agency to present a wider array of training to employees.

The Officer of the Year and Non-Sworn Employee of the Year awards are nominated and voted on by the agency's employees.  Officer Houck's nomination was tied in part to his effort earlier this year to save a choking baby while he was out on a different call. Brad Jones, who recently retired from the department, was honored for his efforts as supervisor of the agency's Property and Evidence section. He accepted his award while escorted by Marti, his new service dog.

Congratulations to all of the department's award winners! 

Below (from left to right): DPD award winners Brian Pack, Jason Bishop, Steven McBrayer, Michael Houck, Steve Zahn, Brad Jones, and Marti the Service Dog

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Applications Now Open For 2015 Citizens Police Academy

If you want to learn more about the Dalton Police Department or law enforcement in general, now is your chance. Applications are now being accepted for the Dalton Police Department’s popular Citizens Police Academy program. The agency's 23rd Citizens Police Academy class will start February 24th, 2015.

The Citizens Academy will meet on Tuesdays from 6:00 to 9:00 for 10 weeks at the Dalton Police Services Center. During the course of the program, participants will get an up close look at every aspect of the police department's operation.

In addition to classroom sessions covering each of the department's three divisions and each specialized unit within the agency, the course also gives participants chances to experience policing in the real world. Among the real world experiences offered by the program is a chance to spend one night at the county firing range to test fire all of the department's weapons. The academy also provides each participant a chance to ride along with a patrol officer for a shift.

Each session of the academy is taught by members of the Dalton Police Department and also subject matter experts from other agencies. While you won't be an officer at the end of the ten week program, you'll know a lot more about police work than you ever thought possible.

Applicants must be at least 21 years old and a U.S. citizen.  Background checks will be performed on all applicants.  Please note that completion of the course does not certify a participant as a police officer.  To apply, simply pick up an application form at the Police Services Center at 301 Jones Street.  You can also apply online by clicking here or call Sergeant Mike Dyer at 706-278-9085 extension 109 with any questions.

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DPD Officers, DFD Firefighters Save Man In House Fire

A Dalton man caught in a house fire is alive thanks to the actions of Dalton police officers and firefighters from the Dalton Fire Department. 67 year old James Nelson was pulled from his burning house at 1215 Lamar Street by an officer and firefighter on Sunday after waking up to find his couch on fire.

Shortly after 7:30 on Sunday morning, Dalton officer Matthew Dykes was on patrol in the area of Lamar Street when he smelled smoke and saw smoke coming from the front of 1215 Lamar Street.  After reporting the fire to dispatchers, Officer Dykes went to the front of the house and contacted Mr. Nelson through the door who reported that he was unable to get out.  Unable to open the front door, Dykes ran to the back door and found it boarded up.  After trying unsuccessfully to kick in the front door, Officer Dykes broke out the front window and reached in to unlock the deadbolt and kicked in the door. Mr. Nelson was still unable to reach the door.

Officer Michael Hughes arrived on scene with a fire extinguisher and worked to put out flames near the front door.  Both officers attempted to go inside, but were unable due to thick smoke. The officers were still unable to see Mr. Nelson but were able to talk to him. While Officer Dykes maintained contact with Mr. Nelson at the front door, Officer Hughes then checked the back of the house for a way to get Mr. Nelson out. Finding no way in or out, Hughes returned to the front of the house to again fight the flames near the front door. Officer Aaron Simpson then arrived on scene and found a window in the back of the house unlocked.  Simpson was able to see Nelson through the smoke but was unable to get him to move to the window.  Officer Simpson then entered the house through the window and helped Nelson to the window. Battalion Chief Chris Cantrell from the Dalton Fire Department was on scene and helped Officer Simpson to get Mr. Nelson out of the house through the window.

Mr. Nelson was checked out by paramedics at the scene and then declined to be transported to the hospital. The Red Cross has arranged for temporary housing for him. The Dalton Fire Department is still investigating the cause of the fire.

Officers Simpson, Dykes, and Hughes have been recommended by their supervisor for a commendation for their actions in the fire.

Below: Officers Simpson, Dykes, and Hughes

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Traffic Unit Visits Dalton Civitan Club

Officers from the DPD Traffic Unit were the featured guests at Wednesday's meeting of the Dalton Civitan Club. Their presentation focused on the department's new "CarFit" program that helps senior drivers adjust their positioning in their cars to improve lines of sight and the ability to operate the vehicle and also better protect them in the event of a crash.

Officer David Saylors led the presentation on Wednesday, explaining the benefits of the program and also explaining how a "CarFit" checkup works. Among the different items on the "CarFit" check list are ensuring proper distance from the steering wheel, proper foot positioning on the gas and brake pedals, and also proper adjustment of mirrors to minimize any blind spots.  

Stay tuned to the this site or the DPD's Facebook and Twitter pages for announcements about upcoming "CarFit" events. Also, you can contact the DPD Traffic Unit to schedule an individual "CarFit" checkup at the Police Services Center by calling 706-278-9085, dialing 9 and entering extension 124.  

Below: Officer David Saylors from the DPD Traffic Enforcement Unit describes the department's "CarFit" program to the Dalton Civitan Club on Wednesday

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Christmas Parade Coming Thursday

The annual Dalton Christmas Parade is coming on December 4th and will begin at 6:00 pm. Several streets in the downtown Dalton area will be closed to make way for the parade.

The route for the parade follows the usual course through downtown. Floats will line up near the intersection of Jones Street and Waugh Street. The parade will travel east down Waugh Street down the Hamilton access lane leading to Hamilton Street. It will move southbound down Hamilton Street to Morris Street where it will turn westbound. The parade moves west down Morris to Thornton Avenue where it will turn north and move to Crawford Street. There it will turn west and travel down Crawford to the end point at Harmon Field.

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