Posts on Jan 1970

Mother Charged In Death Of Child

The Dalton Police Department has charged 21 year old Catarina Castro Moran with second degree murder in connection with the death of her 17 month old daughter.  The child was found dead this morning in bed after an apparent severe illness. Moran is also charged with cruelty to children in the first degree, identity fraud, and making false statements to law enforcement officers.

Police responded to a home at 526 Whitener Drive at approximately 6:00 am Thursday morning to a report of a dead child. When officers arrived they performed CPR on the child until paramedics arrived by the child had already passed away. Moran told investigators that the child had become ill on Wednesday, but during the course of the investigation it was determined that the child was very ill with a high fever dating back to last week. Investigators also determined that Moran took the child to the hospital on Monday, but left without the child being treated after doctors told her that the child needed to be treated.

The child’s body has been sent to the state crime lab for an autopsy. At this time an exact cause of death has not been determined.  This case is still being investigated.

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Burglars Recorded On Habersham Way Home Security System

The Dalton Police Department is asking for the public’s help identifying two men who broke into a Dalton home earlier this month, taking personal and financial information.  The men were recorded by the homeowner’s surveillance system.

Dalton Police officers were dispatched to a house on Habersham Way at approximately 4:00 am on December 26th to a silent burglary alarm. When officers arrived, they found a back window that had been forced open, but the suspects had already fled.  The homeowners were out of town. When they returned, they were able to pull up surveillance images of the two suspects entering through the window. The suspects are described as two skinny males.  Both wore knit stocking caps and jeans.  One of the men had a long goatee and the second suspect has closely trimmed facial hair. Because the surveillance video was in night vision mode, it is difficult to determine the race of the two suspects. Pictures of the men are included with this release.

The suspects stole numerous financial documents along with social security information and passports belonging to the residents as well as a gold Citizen wrist watch. The suspects were recorded fleeing in the direction of the dead end on Keystone Way.

Anyone with information on this crime or the identity of the two suspects is asked to please contact Detective Jacob Burger with the Dalton Police Department at 706-278-9085, dial 9 and enter extension 325.

Below: The suspects were recorded by the home’s security system (click on each image to see larger version)

Surveillance 1Surveillance 2

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Happy New Year! Don’t Drink And Drive To Start 2016!

Happy New Year from the Dalton Police Department! If you’re planning to ring in 2016 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 2016 gets off to a safe (and legal) 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 2016 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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Tip Leads To Large Pot Bust

Acting on a tip phoned in to an anonymous tip line, detectives from the Dalton Police Department’s drug unit arrested 27 year old Rodney Christopher Swank and seized a large amount of marijuana from his home at 3234 Headrick Circle. Swank is charged with manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, and possession of a firearm while commissioning a crime.

Shortly after 7:00 pm Monday night, detectives visited the home at Headrick Circle and immediately smelled an overwhelming odor of marijuana plants as they got out of their car. Swank was standing outside of the home with a door open which he closed when the detectives identified themselves as law enforcement officers. Based in the odor of marijuana and statements made by Swank, detectives obtained a search warrant for the home and found more than four pounds of packaged marijuana and also numerous large marijuana plants which were being grown inside the home. At this time, detectives are still working to determine the weight of the growing plants. Further charges against Swank are possible in this case.

The DPD’s anonymous tip line number is 706-278-9085, dial 9 and enter extension 221.

Below: DPD Lt. Jamie Johnson holds up several marijuana plants as they are processed as evidence

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Two New Officers Join DPD

Two new officers officially joined the ranks of the Dalton Police Department Tuesday morning after having their appointments confirmed by vote of the Public Safety Commission.  Officers Andrew Dobbs and Ethan Pugh were both confirmed by unanimous 3-0 vote of the commission (members Kenneth Willis and Keith Whitworth were unable to attend Tuesday morning’s meeting).

Officer Andrew Dobbs is a 1999 graduate of Cordell High School in Cordell, Oklahoma. After attending Southwest Oklahoma State University, Dobbs joined the Army and served from May of 1999 until April 2011. He comes to the Dalton Police Department after working with the Georgia Department of Public Safety. He also is continuing his military service as a member of the US Army Reserve.

Officer Ethan Pugh also comes to Dalton from out west. He is a 2009 graduate of Castle View High School in Castle Rock, Colorado and attended classes at Colorado Technical University in 2012. He is also an Army veteran, serving from June 2009 until November 2013. Officer Pugh came to Dalton in 2014 to work for Mohawk Industries. 20151222_083718

Both officers graduated from the Georgia Regional Police Academy in Rome, Georgia earlier this month. They are both continuing their training in the Dalton Police Department’s field training program.

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Donation Helps DPD, Walmart Host “Shop With A Cop”

Officers from the Dalton Police Department were among the ranks of the last-minute shoppers choking the aisles at Walmart on Monday afternoon thanks to a generous donation from the Dalton Hospitality Association. A gift of $500 turned into an impromptu “Shop With A Cop” event for five Dalton kids in need of a merry Christmas.

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Above: Makayla Johnson (center) presents a check from the Dalton Hospitality Association to Sgt. Ricky Long and Chief Jason Parker

The DPD has not participated in the “Shop With A Cop” program for a few years, but when contacted on Friday by the Dalton Hospitality Association with the idea of a donation, Sergeant Ricky Long sprang into action. After consulting with a local elementary school and also the Division of Child And Family Services to select some kids in need of presents for the holiday, Sergeant Long contacted the Shugart Road Walmart to arrange a time for the kids to come shop. Walmart responded by setting up a visit with Santa Claus for the kids, donating money to the cause and also giving the kids a discount on their shopping. On Monday afternoon, Sergeant Long joined Lt. Jamie Johnson and Officers Chris Zimmerman and Jeremiah Lee to go shopping with the kids.

As for what was purchased, the kids went right to the toy section first. But it wasn’t all about getting loot for themselves. One of the kids wanted to buy a present for his mom, and others included some more practical items like new backpacks and some new clothes.

The DPD extends a heartfelt thank you to the Dalton Hospitality Association for their donation and to the management and employees of Walmart for helping to make the holiday special for kids in our area.

Below: DPD officers shop for presents with kids at the Shugart Road Walmart Monday afternoon

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DPD Arrests School Volunteer For Theft Of Drugs

The Dalton Police Department arrested 38 year old Jahala Hawkins of Dalton on Friday on charges related to the theft of drugs from a medicine locker at Morris Innovative High School. Hawkins, who is not an employee of the Dalton Public Schools system, served as a paid volunteer at the school through the AmeriCorps VISTA program.

The investigation into the theft began on Thursday afternoon when an assistant principal reported to the DPD School Resource Officer (SRO) that there were pills missing from the medicine locker.  The school resource officer secured the medicine lock box in her office at the school and continued the investigation Friday morning with assistance from detectives from the DPD’s drug unit.  The investigation determined that Hawkins, of 1008 Ponderosa Place in Dalton, had taken at least 20 pills of Adderall and Ritalin from pill bottles belonging to two students at the school over an undetermined amount of time.  Hawkins was arrested and charged with two counts of theft by taking and two counts of possession of a schedule 2 drug.

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Suspect Sought In Whitfield County Home Invasion

Recognize this guy? If so, the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office and GBI would like to hear from you. Sheriff’s Office investigators tell us he’s the suspect in a home invasion armed robbery that occurred in the early morning hours yesterday. He was last seen driving a stolen silver 1992 Buick Regal, license plate PPA-7378. He appears to be in his mid-20’s, standing approximately 5’10 tall weighing approximately 160 pounds with short brown hair. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Blake Smith at the Sheriff’s Office at 706-278-3029 or Special Agent Taylor with the GBI at 706-624-1424.

Below: The sketch of the suspect

Sketch (1)

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Students Complete CAT Course

The Dalton Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit recently wrapped up its final session of Collision Avoidance Training (CAT) for teen drivers for the year. The class, which teaches young drivers defensive driving tactics and also emphasizes basic fundamentals of safe driving, will be offered at least twice next year.

The session that wrapped up over the last weekend included four drivers from Coahulla Creek, Northwest Whitfield, and Murray County High Schools. The 10-hour course included two hours of classroom instruction and eight hours of one-on-one behind-the-wheel training. Students were instructed on basics like backing up and understanding the general dynamics of their cars and also some more advanced instruction on evasive maneuvers and threshold and emergency braking.

The class will once again be offered in 2016 in the spring and summer. Tentative dates for the next sessions are April 9th and 9th and July 1st and 2nd. Classroom instruction will be held on Friday evenings and behind-the-wheel training will be held on Saturdays. Registration fee for the two-day course is $25.00 per student. The class will be limited to ten (10) drivers per class. Additional classes can be scheduled for groups. 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. Students must use their own (or parent/guardian’s) vehicle for behind-the-wheel training. The idea is for the students to learn to handle the vehicle they will typically be driving. Behind-the-wheel training is conducted on a closed course, at speeds of 35 mph and below. Students may use cars, trucks, minivans or SUV’s, but vehicles with modified suspension, oversized tires or other unsafe components will not be permitted on the driving range.

At the end of the class, students who have successfully completed all driving range skills will receive a Certificate of Completion. Certificates can be presented to most auto insurance companies for discounted insurance premiums.

Anyone who would like more information on the course can contact Officer David Saylors at 706-278-9085, dial 9 and enter extension 192. Officer Saylors can also be reached via email at dsaylors@cityofdalton-ga.gov. Application forms are linked below:

Application Form 1

Application Form 2

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Dalton Officer Named Code Enforcement Official Of The Year

The Dalton Police Department renewed its focus on code enforcement in 2013 with the assignment of Officer Chris Cochran to code enforcement duties. That turned out to be a great choice. Officer Cochran was honored Wednesday by Keep Georgia Beautiful which has named him the state’s Code Enforcement Officer of the Year.

After taking over as the DPD’s code enforcement officer in 2013, Officer Cochran began work on creating the city’s code enforcement plan. Cochran also began working to earn Level 1 certification from the Georgia Association of Code Enforcement (GACE) designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of those in charge of responsible for environmental, housing, and land use codes in the state.

Chris Cochran

Officer Chris Cochran

“It’s a great honor for Officer Cochran, for our department and the city as a whole to be recognized for our efforts,” said Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker. “Officer Cochran has really taken the lead, and he was absolutely the right person to lay the foundation for our program”.

Officer Cochran’s work goes far beyond simply inspecting properties which aren’t up to code and issuing citations. Cochran, who now leads a team of two other DPD officers assigned to code enforcement, works with property owners to try to get things up to code with the goal of getting situations resolved without the need to issue citations. He has formed partnerships with churches and other charitable organizations in Dalton to help elderly residents and others who have trouble maintaining their property to arrange help with materials and labor. He has also built working relationships with other city agencies such as the solid waste authority, building inspectors, and public works to identify areas that need work.

“Being responsible for code enforcement was new to our department, so it was important to get off on the right foot,” said Chief Parker. “Officer Cochran is very determined, but he also has a communication style that puts people at ease. As a result, he gets results and cooperation from citizens and businesses.”

“A big part of leadership is setting the tone from the start,” said Mayor Dennis Mock. “With his humble demeanor and mission first attitude Officer Chris Cochran was the perfect fit to kick start our police department’s code enforcement unit.”

Officer Cochran and his team have also led several special enforcement efforts, such as Operation Tire Round-up in which the code officers and the city’s public works collected and disposed of more than 4,400 pounds of tires that were dumped illegally around the city.

Officer Cochran also led the effort to put the city’s code enforcement efforts online. Officer Cochran worked with the city’s information technology department to create a website (www.safedalton.com) where citizens could report code enforcement issues in their neighborhoods.  He also led the code enforcement team in creating a brochure to answer basic questions about the city’s ordinances.  The brochure also directs residents about how to report problems, how to contact officers, and how to access resources for the removal of rubbish.

“With all the talk across the country about what’s wrong with law enforcement, it’s refreshing to have an officer like Chris on our staff because he epitomizes what’s right with law enforcement,” said Dalton City Manager Ty Ross.

For the Dalton Police Department, the effort to enforce the city’s codes and municipal ordinances is about more than just keeping Dalton beautiful. Research suggests that areas where property codes are enforced experience less crime than areas where property is neglected.  The so-called “Broken Windows Theory” states that areas in which 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 percent.

“Code enforcement is important to the quality of life in our community, and taking care of the little things sends a signal that people care,” said Chief Parker. “In turn, one of the goals is to let would-be criminals know that citizens are paying attention and our community members will not tolerate unlawful behavior.”

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