Posts on Jan 1970

Come Have A Cup Of Coffee With Us June 4th!

For some, a cup of coffee is an essential part of the morning routine. For others, it's an occasional treat to get the day going. Whether you're a caffeine addict or just an occasional coffee drinker, though, a cup of coffee can be the start of a great conversation and that's what officers from the DPD are planning on June 4th. The DPD will be hosting its second "Coffee With A Cop" that morning from 8-10 at the Oakwood Cafe. All members of the community are invited to attend.

The first "Coffee With A Cop" event in Dalton was held April 14th and was a success, with more than two dozen people coming to Panera Bread to have a cup of coffee and engage with officers to discuss what's happening in the community. Most of the contacts between law enforcement and the public happen during emergency situations or during high stress situations. Coffee With A Cop is designed to give members of the public and law enforcement officers a chance to meet and interact with each other in an informal setting to allow for relaxed interaction.  There’s no agenda for the event. Officers from the DPD will be on hand just to meet with the community and talk about issues happening in their neighborhoods or even just sports or movies.  The idea is to build relationships and communication with the community that we serve.

Coffee with a Cop is a national initiative supported by The United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Similar events are being held across the county, as local police departments strive to make lasting connections with the communities they serve. The idea originated with officers in California in 2011 and has since spread to other agencies across the country.

Unfortunately, the police department will not be able to buy coffee for everyone who comes to meet with us, but the conversation will be free!

Anyone with questions about the event can contact Lt. Jamie Johnson at 706-278-9085, extension 9175 or by email at  


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May 2015 Public Safety Commission Meeting Notes

Officers Promoted

Two officers were promoted to new positions at Tuesday morning’s meeting of the Dalton Public Safety Commission. 

Chris Cooke’s promotion to the rank of captain and his appointment as commander of the patrol division was approved by a unanimous 3-0 vote of the commission (PSC members Carlos Calderin and Kenneth Willis did not attend Tuesday morning’s meeting).

Captain Cooke has served the Dalton Police Department since 1996 and has risen through the ranks from patrol officer.  Most recently, Captain Cooke served as a lieutenant as planning and research manager. He has also served with the department’s traffic unit, drug unit, as an operations supervisor, and as a district commander in the patrol division. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Columbus State University as well as a bachelor’s degree in management from Covenant College.


Above: Captain Chris Cooke (center) and Sergeant Woody Cantrell (right) pose with Chief Jason Parker at Tuesday morning's meeting (click image to see a larger version)

Woody Cantrell was promoted to the rank of sergeant by a unanimous 3-0 vote of the commission.  Sergeant Cantrell has served the agency since 2002.  Sergeant Cantrell’s most recent assignment was with the department’s traffic unit, where he was instrumental in developing the Car-Fit program for senior citizens and led the way to the department winning several state and national highway safety awards including winning the Governor’s Challenge of the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway in 2014.  Sergeant Cantrell will now serve as a patrol shift supervisor.

Re-Certification Awarded

The Dalton Police Department’s re-certification from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police (GACP) was also presented at the meeting. The agency has been a state certified law enforcement agency since 1999 and was granted its 4th re-certification on February 1, 2015.


Above: Officer Chad Owen, DPD Accreditation and Certification Manager, poses with Chief Jason Parker (center) and Chief Billy Grogan (right) as re-certification is presented at Tuesday morning's meeting

The certification process runs on a three-year cycle and utilizes outside assessors from professional law enforcement agencies to closely examine a department’s policies and procedures to ensure the agency is maintaining a high level of commitment to excellence in the profession.  The GACP assessment team visited the Dalton Police Department in the fall of 2014 to perform an on-site inspection and awarded re-certification to the agency in 2015.  Out of more than 700 law enforcement agencies in Georgia, the DPD is one of only 103 state certified agencies.  The Dalton Police Department was one of the first to earn certification in 1999. This re-certification runs through 2018. 

Chief Billy Grogan of the Dunwoody Police Department represented the GACP at Tuesday morning’s meeting and presented the agency with a plaque marking the agency’s most recent certification.

The Dalton Public Safety Commission is comprised of Chairman William B. Weaver, Carlos Calderin, Terry Mathis, Keith Whitworth, and Kenneth E. Willis.

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Officer Completes PTO Program

After a new Dalton officer completes training at one of Georgia's regional police academies, the learning is not over. After joining the agency, the real training begins with the Police Training Officer (PTO) Program. Officer Dexter Kapur, one of the DPD's newest members, just wrapped up that training and is now a full-fledged patrol officer.

During the four phases of the PTO program, new officers ride with veteran officers who serve as mentors and evaluators. The process takes many months before the department's supervisors and field training officers sign off on a recruit's completion of the process. 

Officer Kapur graduated from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center Police Academy in December 2014. He was confirmed as a new officer by the Dalton Public Safety Commission in January. Officer Kapur is a May 2014 graduate of Dalton State College with a degree in criminal justice. He graduated from Gordon Lee High School in Chickamauga in May 2009. 

Below: Officer Kapur was presented with a certificate marking his completion of the PTO program


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Road Closure Next Week Will Affect MLK, Jr. Boulevard

Utility pole replacement work will close portions of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard between May 26th and June 5th (except for Saturday and Sunday).  The work will affect the area each day between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm, weather permitting.

On Tuesday, May 26th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard will be closed to all traffic between Grimes Street and Fields Avenue. Only local residents will be able to access the closed section of the road. Click here to see a .pdf map of the detour route.

On Wednesday, May 27th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard will be closed to all traffic between Field Avenue and Frederick Street. Only local residents will be able to access the closed section of the road. Click here to see a .pdf map of the detour route.

Thursday and Friday, May 28th-29th, the westbound lanes of MLK, Jr. Boulevard will be closed between Grimes Street and Frederick Street except for local residents. Eastbound traffic will be limited to one lane and westbound traffic will be routed into one eastbound lane.

Monday, June 1st through Friday, June 5th, the eastbound lanes of MLK, Jr. Boulevard will be closed to all traffic except for local residents. The westbound traffic will be restricted to one lane and the eastbound drivers will be routed onto the other westbound lane.

Drivers are asked to avoid the area if at all possible.


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Drug Bust Nets Five Pounds of Meth

The Dalton Police Department’s Drug Unit took more than five pounds of methamphetamine off of the streets Wednesday night when they wrapped up a four-month long investigation with an arrest and seizure of the drugs. The seized drugs are worth an estimated $244,000 on the street. 46 year old Manuel Martinez-Velasquez of Dalton was arrested on drug charges after investigators served a search warrant at his business and found the drugs.

Over the course of an investigation that began in late January, investigators with the DPD’s Drug Unit developed information that Mr. Martinez-Velazquez was selling methamphetamine. The investigations began after a tip from a concerned citizen.  Investigators obtained a search warrant for the auto mechanic shop at 309 Georgia Avenue where Martinez-Velasquez works. Officers served that warrant last night at approximately 10 pm and found more than five pounds of methamphetamine.

Martinez-Velasquez was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of tools for the commission of a crime (violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act), possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and giving false name to an officer.  

Below: The seized drugs


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Fatal Crash On Highway 41

UPDATE (5/21/15, 11:40 AM) –  The DPD is releasing the names of the people injured in this morning's crash. Joe Davis, 36, of Rocky Face was driving the 2001 Honda Civic and was killed in the crash.  Passenger Amelia Shipman, 33, of Rocky Face was airlifted by Life Force to Erlanger in Chattanooga, and her condition is unknown at this time. Passenger Jeff Dean, 39, of Chatsworth is in intensive care at Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton. 

The Dalton Police Department responded to a fatal car crash this morning at approximately 7:30 am on Highway 41 at Willowdale Road.  One of the cars hit the front door of the GQ Spa located near the crash site causing some damage to the building.

Initial investigation of the crash indicates that at 7:30 am, a red 2001 Honda Civic was traveling southbound on Highway 41 when it was hit broadside by a burgundy 2004 Mercury Mountaineer driven by Spring Smith, 21, of Knoxville, Tennessee. The Mercury SUV apparently ran the stop sign at Willowdale Road and hit the Civic in the driver’s side door.  The impact sent the Civic spinning into the GQ Spa building.  Nobody in the building was hurt.  Ms. Smith told investigators that the brakes on her vehicle failed.  The driver of the Civic was pronounced dead at the scene.  One passenger from the Civic was airlifted to Erlanger in Chattanooga and another passenger was taken by ambulance to Hamilton Medical Center.  Their names are not being released at this time.

The crash backed up traffic on Highway 41 for approximately an hour.  The crash is still being investigated and at this time no charges have been filed.  


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Seats Still Available In Upcoming Teen Driving Course

There are still seats available in the Dalton Police Department's next Collision Avoidance Training (CAT) defensive driving course for teen drivers. The next class will be held June 26th and 27th and costs $25 per participant. There are 7 more slots available in the upcoming class.

The CAT program is an advanced defensive driving and vehicle control program designed for teenage drivers. The program is open to all teens at least 16 years old with a valid Class D driver's license. Parents are encouraged to enroll their teens several months prior to their 16th birthday This program does not fulfill the Joshua Law requirements.

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Click It Or Ticket, Summer Heat, And CarFit: Plan Now For A Safe Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who served our country in the Armed Forces and did not come back home. It also signals the start of the busy summer travel season which unfortunately also means a jump in the rate of roadway fatalities all across Georgia. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, seventeen motorists lost their lives on Georgia's roads last year over the Memorial Day weekend.  This is up from six deaths in 2013 and fifteen deaths in 2012.

In an effort to combat this dramatic increase, the officers of the DPD will be participating in the statewide Click it or Ticket initiative beginning May 18th and continuing through May 31st. The goal of the department’s participation in the mobilization is to influence motorists to buckle up every day, not just the holiday weekend.  This mobilization is also the beginning of Georgia’s “100 days of Sumer Heat” campaign, which runs through September 7th.  “100 Days of Summer Heat” is a series of enforcement initiatives intended to improve roadway safety throughout the state.

The Dalton Police Department will be working to improve safety through education events, as well.  The Traffic Enforcement Unit will be contributing to the Memorial Day Community Celebration at Downtown on May 25th.  Along with the free food and activities, Dalton Police officers and volunteers will be working with mature drivers to find a better “fit” in their cars to improve their comfort and safety.  “CarFit” is a national program developed by AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association.  Through the program, a 12-point checklist is completed with each driver.  Anyone wishing to go through the checklist will need to bring their vehicle to the area of Pentz Street between the hours of 11am and 2 pm. 

Here are a few more safety tips from the National Safety Council to ensure a safer Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Drivers should:

  • Refrain from cell phone use behind the wheel (Unless Relating to an Emergency)
  • Make sure all passengers are buckled up and children are in age-appropriate safety seats
  • All children 12 and under should always be in the back seat
  • Allow plenty of travel time to avoid frustration and diminish the impulse to speed
  • Drive defensively and exercise caution, especially during inclement weather
  • Avoid driving while drowsy
  • Designate a “non-drinking” driver – even moderate consumption of alcohol impairs reaction time and driving judgment

If you are unable to attend the event and would like to schedule a “CarFit” assessment or you would just like more information on “CarFit”, please contact the Dalton Police Department Traffic Enforcement Unit at 706-278-9085 ext. 124.

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DPD Observes Peace Officers Memorial Day

Under a bright, sunny sky, Dalton officers and citizens gathered together to observe National Peace Officers Memorial Day at the Police Services Center.  The annual observance took place Friday morning near the newly installed Chief William Hannah Police Memorial near the intersection of Waugh Street and Jones Street.

Members of the police department’s honor guard presented the US and Georgia flags after a bagpiper from the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office played “Amazing Grace”. Honor guard officers also presented a memorial wreath during Friday morning’s ceremony.  Individual red roses were also placed at the memorial marker in memory of the two Dalton Police Department officers who lost their lives in the line of duty: Chief William Hannah (1899) and Officer Maurice W. Phillips, Sr. (1956).  Officer Phillips’ son Tom Phillips placed the rose in his father’s honor.  Marsa Cox Ealey also placed a rose in honor of Ordinance Officer Kathy Cox of the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office who was killed in the line of duty on August 21, 2008.

Chief Jason Parker welcomed the officers and citizens who came to the ceremony and gave a short speech about the importance of remembering police officers who gave their lives in the line of duty and also praising officers who have answered the call to serve the community despite the great risks involved. (CLICK HERE to read the text of Chief Parker's remarks)

Department spokesman Bruce Frazier then read the names of the five Georgia law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty since last year’s Peace Officers Memorial Day: Deputy Steven LaCruz Thomas, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (May 21, 2014), Officer Kevin Dorian Jordan, Griffin Police Department (May 31, 2014), Deputy Michael Norris, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (September 14, 2014), Detective Terence Avery Green, Fulton County Police Department (March 4, 2015), and Officer Darryl Wallace, Clayton County Police Department (March 15, 2015).  The ceremony concluded after a moment of silence in their honor.

Below: Scenes from the Peace Officers Memorial Day Ceremony at the Dalton Police Services Center, For more pictures, CLICK HERE to see a photo gallery on the DPD Facebook page.


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Chief Parker’s Remarks On Peace Officers Memorial Day

The following is the text from Chief Jason Parker's speech at the observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day at the Dalton Police Department on May 15, 2015.

Peace Officers Memorial Day is a time to remember the service and sacrifice of the officers who lost their lives in the line of duty; and to remember the sacrifice of law enforcement families who are left behind. Inscribed on the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC is the following verse from Proverbs 28:1 – “The wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the righteous are as bold as a lion”.

A lot of people have said to me recently that it's an awfully tough time to be a cop in America right now. While that might be true, it's always a difficult time to be a police officer. Today there is a serious cultural debate underway about policing. We need to take a collective deep breath and realize that out of a million police officers in America, we as a society should not allow the mistakes of less than one percent to captivate the entire narrative on the state of policing in our nation

Even in small, quiet towns there are unseen risks for police officers who feel that strain everyday. There are the constant potential risks to their lives; the potential risk from constant exposure to stress; the risk to spiritual well-being; and even the likely risk that their career could lead to their marriage ending in divorce because of the cumulative effect of all those stresses.


Chief Parker speaks during Friday morning's ceremony

If it’s such a tough job, with so many risks, why do the men and women of law enforcement do it? The truth is that police officers get into the profession out of a sense of duty as a member of society; they want to help people who need it the most, but who may not realize it at the time; Police officers answer the call because they get satisfaction just from doing the job; and from the quality of their efforts.

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