Posts on Jan 1970

DPD Guides Area Students Through “Teen Maze”

Even as a teenager, making a bad choice can affect you for the rest of your life. Choices have consequences, good and bad. And making the decision to drive after drinking, using drugs, or while distracted can have serious consequences that can last a lifetime.

That’s the message presented to teens navigating their way through the “Teen Maze” this week in Dalton.  The event is put on for students in the Dalton, Whitfield County, and Murray County school systems at the North Georgia Fairgrounds.  It is coordinated by the school systems and also the Whitfield/Murray County Drug Free Coalition and the Whitfield Family Connection.

As they arrive, students hear a presentation about drunk driving from someone who was involved in a drunk driving crash and someone who was permanently injured in a crash.  From there, they are brought outside to the scene of a mock car crash caused by a DUI.  Actors play the driver and victims while police officers and first responders arrive at the crash scene.  As one of the victims is pronounced dead at the scene and another is pulled from the wreck by firefighters, another actor portrays the driver as he is placed in handcuffs by a responding officer.

From there, students are taken inside where doctors and nurses from Hamilton Medical Center play out the scene in a mock-up of an emergency room as the victim is brought to the “hospital.”

Students also take a ride through the “Fatal Vision” course with Dalton Police officers and Whitfield County deputies. Students are given goggles that simulate alcohol impairment. Officers have them “walk the line” as they would during a roadside sobriety test and also drive a golf cart through a cone course to show how difficult it is to drive while impaired.  Dalton State College Police also have a cone course set up for students to attempt to text and drive a golf cart, with similarly disastrous results for the orange cones.

For more information on the “Teen Maze”, click here to visit the event’s website.

Below: A speaker addresses students from Morris Innovative High School at Wednesday morning’s “Teen Maze” event; students watch as actors perform a dramatization of a drunk driving crash complete with police officers, firefighters, and EMS responding; Officer Brandon Daugherty rides along with a high school student wearing goggles that simulate alcohol impairment on the Dalton Police Department’s “Fatal Vision” simulator


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Multiple Tips Lead To Arrest In BP Burglary

Multiple tips from the public led to an arrest Tuesday in the case of a burglary of an area convenience store and the theft of $1,000 in lottery tickets.  38 year old Jason Cory Brock was arrested in Gordon County Tuesday afternoon.

The burglary happened on the evening of September 21st at the BP Station on West Walnut Avenue. Dalton officers responded to the scene after a silent alarm was triggered and found the door of the business unlocked. The owner of the business checked his inventory of lottery tickets and discovered that 122 tickets were missing, valued at $1,120. An investigation showed that a suspect hid inside the store until it closed and then crawled behind the counter where he spent an hour and a half scratching off the stolen lottery tickets before leaving.

The surveillance picture above of the suspect was published online and by area media Monday evening and multiple residents called in identifying the suspect as Brock. Dalton investigators contacted the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office with information that Brock was staying at a Calhoun motel, and Gordon County located Brock and held him until a Dalton detective could take him into custody and take him to Whitfield County Jail. Brock is charged with one count of burglary.

The Dalton Police Department thanks everyone who called in with information on the suspect’s identity and also thanks all area media who published the surveillance images.

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DPD Investigates Theft Of More Than $1,000 In Lotto Tickets

UPDATE (9/29/15) An arrest has been made in this case. Thanks to all members of the public who contacted us with information and all area media who ran the story

The Dalton Police Department is asking for the public’s help identifying a man who hid inside a convenience store until after closing time and then stole more than $1,000 worth of lottery tickets. The incident was recorded on the store’s surveillance system.

The burglary happened on the evening of September 21st at the BP Station on West Walnut Avenue. Dalton officers responded to the scene after a silent alarm was triggered and found the door of the business unlocked. The owner of the business checked his inventory of lottery tickets and discovered that 122 tickets were missing, valued at $1,120.

After officers reviewed the store’s surveillance tapes, they saw a white male enter the store just after 8:00 pm and enter the store’s bathroom where he stayed until 9:10 pm.  He then walked around the store before hiding behind some coolers in the back of the store where he stayed until after the business closed.  Then, at 10:46 pm he crawled on the floor from the back of the store to the counter area. The suspect stayed on the floor except for standing up briefly to grab lottery tickets, which he then proceeded to scratch off while sitting on the floor for an hour and a half. Afterwards, the suspect put the tickets into a bag and again crawled on the floor to the back of the store and the restroom area before standing up and walking out of the door.

The suspect is a white male with a shaved head wearing a black wrist brace on his left hand. The suspect wore a gray t-shirt and dark cargo shorts. The suspect appears to have a tattoo on his left arm in the bicep area. He appeared to walk with a slight limp. Investigators have determined that he may have panhandled in the area of the I-75 ramps on Walnut Avenue in the past.  Pictures of the suspect are included with this release.

Anyone with information on the identity of the suspect is asked to please contact Detective Brian Shirley at 706-278-9085, dial 9 and enter extension 189.

Below: The suspect pictured on store surveillance 

Image #1Image #2

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Road Closures Coming October 24th For Half Marathon

The Dalton Red Carpet Half Marathon will return to the streets of Dalton on October 25th.  The half marathon, 5K, and 2K races will require several roads to be closed in the morning hours.  Dalton Police personnel will be on hand to help direct traffic around the race route, but motorists should plan alternate routes.

Roads and lanes around the course will be closed beginning at approximately 7:45 am and they will remain closed until the last runner is past which could be after noon.

Roads affected by the races will include:

  • King Street – closed but voters will need to park at the parking deck
  • Selvidge Street – closed from the entrance to BB&T to Crawford Street until 1:00 PM
  • Pentz Street – closed from King Street to Crawford Street all day. Closed from Emery Street to Morris Street during the 2k.
  • Hamilton Street – closed from Hawthorne Street to Franklin Street (until last runner of 5k passes, then closed at Emery Street on the south end)
  • W. Franklin Street – closed until the last 5k runner exits onto Thornton Avenue.
  • S. Thornton Avenue – outside southbound lane closed from Walnut Avenue to Waugh Street
  • Waugh Street – outside eastbound lane closed from Jones Street to Thornton Avenue.
  • Jones Street – closed from Waugh Street to Crawford Street
  • Crawford Street – closed from Cappes Street to Valley Drive
  • Ridge Street – Closed from Murray Hill to Crawford Street
  • Lewell Street – entrances to the east side of the cemetery at Cuyler Street and Gen Thomas Drive closed during the half-marathon
  • Emery Street – Closed at Tibbs Road and closed from Lewell Street to Thornton Avenue during the 5K and half marathon. Westbound lane closed from Hamilton Street to Pentz Street for 2K.
  • Miller Street – Closed from Franklin Street to Emery Street
  • Valley Drive – closed from Franklin Avenue to Crawford Street
  • Cuyler Street – closed between Thornton Avenue and Valley Drive
  • W. Walnut Aveune – outside, westbound lane closed from Thornton Avenue to Tibbs Road
  • Tibbs Road – closed between Walnut Avenue and Shugart Road
  • Maple Way/Ella Ln – closed
  • Woodvalley Drive / Woodvalley Court – closed
  • Shugart Road – outside northbound lane closed
  • Chattanooga Road – outside eastbound lane closed from Shugart Road to Old Chattanooga Road
  • Old Chattanooga Road – closed until the last half marathon runner is clear
  • N. Thornton Avenue – partial southbound lane closed (6 feet from curb) from Old Chattanooga Road to Trammel Street
  • N. Thornton Avenue – southbound lane closed from Trammel Street to Hawthorne Street
  • Hamilton Street – access lane beside the Waugh Street Bridge closed
  • Morris Street – closed from Thornton Avenue to Hamilton Street

For more information on the Red Carpet Half Marathon, click here to visit the event’s website.

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DPD Investigates Theft of Jeep

A Jeep left in the Lowe’s parking lot on Glenwood Avenue/Cleveland Highway was stolen sometime over the weekend and Dalton police investigators are hoping a member of the public might have information to crack the case.

The Jeep was left parked in the lot by a Dalton resident who is in the middle of moving residences.  He got permission from store management to leave his vehicle on the property and left it parked on Friday, September 18th.  On Monday, September 21st, the victim was driving by the Lowe’s and noticed that his Jeep was no longer in the parking lot and called police.  Store management confirmed that nobody had the vehicle towed because they knew the vehicle was supposed to be there, and an officer confirmed that the vehicle had not been repossessed.

The Jeep is a silver two-door soft top with a lift kit and black rims and “Midsouth Jeeps” decal on the driver’s side door area and a Whitfield County Fire Department sticker on the back window.  Pictures of the vehicle are included with this release.

Anyone with information on this crime or the whereabouts of the vehicle is asked to contact Detective Aaron Simpson at 706-278-9085, dial 9 and enter extension 253.

Below: The stolen Jeep (click images to see a larger version)


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DPD Welcomes Two New Officers

The Dalton Police Department has added two new officers to the ranks after they were confirmed by a vote of the Dalton Public Safety Commission Tuesday morning.  Officers Jeremy Smith and Zane Steward completed their training at the regional police academy in Cherokee County last Friday.

Officer Smith is a 2009 graduate of Murray County High School and is continuing his education at Kennesaw State University. He also attended Dalton State College for two years.  Officer Steward graduated in 2005 from Greencastle-Atrium High School in Greencastle, Pennsylvania and attended Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.

Both officers were confirmed by a unanimous 3-0 vote of the Public Safety Commission (commission members Carlos Calderin and Kenneth Willis did not attend Tuesday’s meeting).  Smith and Steward will now continue their training in the department’s Field Training Officer program, riding with experienced officers in the field for some real-world training.

Below: New DPD officers Zane Steward (left) and Jeremy Smith (center) stand with Chief Jason Parker (right) after their confirmation by the Public Safety Commission (click image to see a larger version)


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Signs For Yard Sales, Other Ads Violate City Ordinances

The Dalton Police Department’s code enforcement officers want your yard sale to be a huge success. That’s why they don’t want to have to take down your signs.

In recent weeks, code enforcement officers have seen more signs advertising yard sales and other messages posted on public rights of way and also on utility poles or telephone poles around town. This violates Dalton ordinances 4.1-10 and 4.1-11 prohibiting signs to be posted on an public right of way or for signs to be posted on utility poles, telephone poles, or traffic control devices.  Not only are these signs an eyesore, but they can also do damage.  DPD code enforcement officers have reported that tape used to affix signs to the green traffic poles around downtown Dalton takes chunks of the green paint off when signs are removed.

Code enforcement officers will be removing any signage that violates city codes.

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Congratulations And Happy Retirement, Troyce!

The Dalton Police Department bid a fond farewell on Thursday to Troyce Nash, who will retire on Friday after nearly 20 years of service to the agency. Thursday afternoon, the agency held a reception in her honor at the Police Services Center.

Before the reception, Chief Jason Parker thanked Nash for her years of service to the agency in a brief ceremony that included the presentation of a retirement gift.  Afterwards, guests including current and retired DPD officers and members of Nash’s family were served cake and refreshments in the main hall of the department.

Troyce Nash joined the Dalton Police Department as a civilian employee in January 1996. She was assigned as the agency’s purchasing agent in 2001 and in April 2008 she was promoted to the position of records department supervisor.

Below: Chief Parker puts an arm around Troyce Nash during a ceremony honoring her retirement; the agency held a reception in her honor Thursday (click thumbnails to see a larger version)


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Two Men Arrested After Incident Ends With Assault On Officer

A domestic dispute that turned violent ended Wednesday with an assault on a Dalton Police officer and two men under arrest. Ramiro Sanchez, 26, of Dalton and Matthew John Katsianis, 21, of Norcross were both arrested for their roles in the incident. The officer involved did not sustain serious injuries.

The incident happened at approximately 8:00 am when Mr. Sanchez arrived in a white car at the residence of an ex-girlfriend at 903 North Hamilton Street and demanded to be let inside. Witnesses reported that Sanchez was beating on the door and attempted to kick it in. After he was unsuccessful, witnesses say Sanchez used a crowbar to strike and damage the windshield of the victim’s car.

When DPD Officer Richard Cook arrived on scene, Sanchez had fled behind the residence. Cook gave chase through a wooded area and caught up to Sanchez in a gravel parking lot at 924 Selvidge Street where a white car was waiting with the passenger door open. Cook grabbed Sanchez and attempted to arrest him, but Sanchez was holding on to the car, driven by Mr. Katsianis. Katsianis pushed the gas and attempted to drive away, dragging Sanchez and Officer Cook approximately 20-30 feet before Sanchez let go. Katsianis stopped the car and complied with officer commands, but Sanchez continued to resist arrest. A second DPD officer, John Edwards, arrived on scene and assisted Officer Cook with getting Sanchez into handcuffs.

Officer Cook sustained abrasions and a sprained knee from being dragged by the vehicle.

Matthew Katsianis was charged with being a party to a crime, conspiracy to commit a crime, aggravated assault on a police officer, and felony obstruction of justice. Ramiro Sanchez was charged with aggravated stalking, criminal trespass, criminal attempt to commit burglary, felony obstruction of justice, four counts of cruelty to children in the 3rd degree, public intoxication, and disorderly conduct.

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DPD Explorers Program Prepares Teens For The Future

Note: A version of this story appeared in the August 30th edition of the Dalton Daily Citizen

It’s a call that any police officer might get during their shift: a neighbor has reported that the house next door has had its door standing open but nobody is supposed to be home. Two officers are sent to check things out. As the officers check the house, though, they’re surprised by a man inside.

Is this person there to rob the house? Is he there to check on things for the homeowners? Is he a threat? It’s a tense situation as the officers have to first secure the scene and then investigate.

Fortunately, the situation isn’t real. The officers are teenagers from the Dalton Police Department’s Law Enforcement Explorer post, students taking part in a program to learn more about the law enforcement profession. The program gives participants both classroom instruction on law and agency policies and also the chance to test their knowledge at competitions with other explorers in real-world type scenarios.

“It’s as close to being a police officer as you can get without real life consequences like somebody getting hurt or losing your job or making a mistake,” said Christian Peinado, a graduate of Northwest Whitfield now studying criminal justice at Dalton State College. “This program is a great way to learn things before you go into the [law enforcement] field.”

The Dalton Police Department’s Explorer post currently has eight members. To participate, candidates must be between 14 and 20 years old and maintain at least a “C” average in school while attending regular meetings and physical training.

“I’ve gotten to see how these officers actually work,” said Corey Greene, a Dalton police explorer for more than 5 years.“ I’ve gone on ridealongs and stuff like that. I’d say I’ve learned a lot as far as all of our classroom sessions but there’s also some stuff like felony traffic stops that are really cool because they’re things that average citizens don’t really get to see.”

Officer David Saylors is the advisor for the group, which operates under the Boy Scouts’ of America’s Learning For Life program. He has been part of the explorer post for more than eight years.

“What keeps me there is seeing the kids grow as they stay in the program and getting feedback from the parents of the kids,” said Saylors. “I’ll have parents call me and they’ll say, ‘well, my kid was going down a bad road but he joined the police explorer program and now you’ve turned him into such a good young man or young woman and I appreciate all the help you’ve done with it.’ That’s what really kept me focused on it.”

The explorers meet on Monday nights and in addition to a classroom session focusing on an area of law such as DUI enforcement, there’s also a physical training session including pushups, sit-ups, and other work. Officers Saylors and Matias Castillo are strict with their students during their training.

“Through the program not only are they going to learn what the topic is, but they also need to learn respect and discipline. My big three are discipline, respect, and education,” explained Officer Saylors.

Throughout the school year, explorers have to turn in their grades to Saylors, and if a student is slipping he’ll take extra time to tutor them or assign them to another member of the explorer post for extra academic help.

Some members of the Dalton explorer post have followed their interest into law enforcement into a career in policing. Officer Allexis Rittenhouse joined the Dalton Police Department in April after more than seven years as a police explorer.

“I knew law enforcement was what I wanted to do since I was three, so I liked the opportunity to be around the culture, to see what the job is really about and to be able to experience somewhat first-hand what it was like,” said Officer Rittenhouse.

“Obviously there’s stuff now as a law enforcement officer that I didn’t get as an Explorer, and for good reason. But I do think that the explorer program helped in a tremendous way.”

At least one current member of the explorer post appears to be headed towards a law enforcement career as well. North Murray senior Trey Williams even quit the Mountaineer football team to participate more in the explorer program.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do so when I found out about the program I signed up for it and it’s probably the best thing I’ve been in,” said Williams. “I like it much better than football.”

“He’s been playing football for years and he came to me and talked about missing an [explorer] event because of football practice and I said, ‘it’s fine,’” said Officer Saylors. “The next year rolled around and he came to me and said, ‘this is what I’m focused on. I want to go into law enforcement and I love this program and you do a great job and I’m going to quit football and do Explorers.’ I was speechless.”

Every winter, the Dalton explorers put their skills to the test against other teens from across the southeast. They take part in the annual Winterfest competition in Gatlinburg and also the Law Enforcement Exploring competition in Montevallo, Alabama. At each event, explorers are given randomly selected scenarios in different categories such as traffic crash investigation, domestic violence response or felony traffic stop. Explorers are graded on their performance by a panel of judges.

“It’s a great learning experience, so we run through it like it’s a real life scenario and at the end they tell us ‘OK, you know you did this wrong, this wrong, this wrong, but you did this well,’” said Christian Peinado. “That way, we learn from our mistakes so the next time we do it, there will be a better outcome.”

Each spring, the Dalton explorers sell a discount card supported by area businesses to raise money to cover the costs of the program and travel to competitions. Applications for new explorers are taken once a year in January, and the program begins meeting in March.

Below: Officer David Saylors instructs the explorers during a recent meeting; DPD explorers perform drill work during a recent meeting


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