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A fatal police shooting in Kansas late last month focused attention again on how so-called swatting — prank 911 calls designed to get SWAT teams to deploy — puts lives at risk and burdens police departments.

There are more than 7,000 911 centers in the U.S. and, according to the National Emergency Number Association, they receive about 600,000 calls a day. Authorities don't track swatting calls nationally, though the FBI has been monitoring the practice of those types of fake calls for about a decade.

Emily Jones / GPB News

Savannah-Chatham Police Chief Jack Lumpkin said Thursday the department is poised to move forward as he leaves for Dekalb County.

He said violent crime rates have gone down during his three-year tenure, and that more citizens are working with police to solve crimes. He also touted the department's increased focus on intelligence-led policing.

Lumpkin's departure comes as the joint police department prepares to split, with separate forces set to serve the city of Savannah and unincorporated Chatham County beginning Feb. 1.

President Trump took office in January, vowing in a dark-toned inaugural to end what he described as "this American carnage" fueled by gangs, drugs and street violence.

America did see historic carnage in 2017, but critics say it had far less to do with gangs and drugs than with disturbed individuals with easy access to firearms.

Courtesy of Amy Soeldner

For the first time, Atlanta has a police officer dedicated to cases of animal cruelty. The position was created in October. And the first cop to fill the post is Senior Patrol Officer Amy Soelder. She’s a 22 year veteran of the force, and joins us in the studio.

The police response to the Pulse nightclub massacre in 2016 followed protocol, but more training and better coordination are needed moving forward, according to a new 200-page review from the Justice Department and the Police Foundation.

Alfred Thomas, the Charlottesville, Va., police chief who faced an onslaught of national criticism over his department's handling of deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in August, announced his retirement Monday.

In a statement, Thomas wrote, "I will be forever grateful for having had the opportunity to protect and serve a community I love so dearly."

Emily Jones / GPB News

On February 1, Savannah and Chatham County will no longer share a police force. Local leaders voted earlier this year to end the merger, and create a separate Chatham County Police Department for the unincorporated areas. Jeff Hadley was sworn in as chief of that department last week.

A spokesman for Savannah Chief Jack Lumpkin deferred any questions on the demerger to elected officials.

"He's going to do well, and we'll be partners," Lumpkin told GPB at Hadley's swearing in.

Some interview highlights:

Wikipedia

The Supreme Court is leaving in place a lower court ruling that a federal employment discrimination law doesn't protect a person against discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

The court on Monday declined to take up the question of whether a law that bars workplace discrimination "because of...sex" covers discrimination against someone because of their sexual orientation.

Why Would Someone Rob A Dollar Store?

Dec 7, 2017
Mike Mozart / Flickr/CC

If you noticed a lot of dollar store robberies over the summer, you were onto something. Here in Macon, there was a string of armed robberies at stores like Family Dollar and Dollar Tree. But why would somebody target a dollar store?

Diana Robinson / flickr

According to new FBI data released last month, there were more than 6,100 reported hate crimes in 2016, up by more than 270 from the year before. Georgia reported a drop in hate crimes during that period.

Emily Jones / GPB News

Chatham County's new police chief took his oath of office Monday. Chief Jeffrey Hadley will oversee a major change in policing the Savannah area.

Hadley will lead the county police department as it separates from the City of Savannah. After years of disputes over funding and jurisdictions, local leaders voted earlier this year to end the merged police force.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

An independent review of Charlottesville's handling of the white nationalist rally there in August found that law enforcement and city officials made several significant mistakes, resulting in violence and distrust.

The city commissioned the report, which was prepared by Timothy Heaphy, a former U.S. attorney in Virginia. In conducting the investigation, Heaphy said his team pored through hundreds of thousands of documents, interviewed hundreds of witnesses, and reviewed countless hours of video and audio.

Emily Jones / GPB News

Thirty Savannah residents face federal charges following an investigation of two rival gangs, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

 

The gangs operate in a small neighborhood southwest of downtown, known as Cuyler-Brownsville.

 

US Attorney Bobby Christine said since January, there have been more than 600 reports of shots fired in that neighborhood - and residents have said they’re scared.

Emily Jones / GPB News

As Chatham County and the City of Savannah get ready to separate their joint police department, some community groups are pushing to keep the force together.

 

Several groups spoke out against the separation Monday, including the Young Democrats and Republicans, and the National Action Network.

 

Antwan Lang of the Savannah Jaycees said his group has met with city and county leaders, some of whom he said are not putting public safety first.

 

Cybercrimes Present Unique Challenges For Investigators

Nov 13, 2017
Mike Stewart / AP Photo/File

The federal investigators looking into the breach that exposed personal information maintained by the Equifax credit report company are used to dealing with high-profile hacks and the challenges they present.

Left Bank Books

A new book explores why so many young men of color wind up in prison. “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” is the work of Yale Law School Professor James Forman, Jr. His father was a leader of SNCC -- the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Forman, Jr. is a graduate of Atlanta’s Roosevelt High. He joins us in the studio. 

Courtesy of Heather Coggins via AP

In 1983 a black man named Timothy Coggins was found murdered, in Spalding County, Georgia. He had been stabbed and mutilated to the point of disfigurement. No arrests were made until now. We get an update on this cold case from Fred Wimberly of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Nelson Helm.

The names of black men and boys such as Eric Garner, Philando Castile and Tamir Rice, are often rallying cries during protests over alleged police misconduct.

The nurse who was roughly arrested at a Salt Lake City hospital has settled with the city and the university that owns the hospital for $500,000.

Updated at 4:27 p.m. ET

It took less than 24 hours after Tuesday's terrorist attack in New York for the finger-pointing to begin.

And the first fingers are being aimed at what had been an obscure State Department immigration program called diversity visas.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the accused terrorist, Sayfullo Saipov, entered the U.S. with such a visa, after winning a yearly lottery in which up to 50,000 foreigners are awarded green cards.

A new poll out this week from NPR finds that 60 percent of black Americans say they or a family member have been stopped or treated unfairly by police because they are black. In addition, 45 percent say they or a family member have been treated unfairly by the courts because they are black. The poll is a collaboration between NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

When Floyd Conrade heard gunshots just above his Las Vegas hotel room the night of Oct. 1, one of his first reactions was to turn on a police scanner app on his phone. He wanted to know what was happening.

Mass Shootings And Gun Laws In Georgia: A Closer Look

Oct 25, 2017
Chris Ballard / GPB

There are many different definitions as to what constitutes a mass shooting. Depending on what definition you look at, there was anywhere from six to 383 mass shootings in 2016 in the United States.

Mother Jones, a nonprofit news magazine, found that six mass shootings occurred in the United States in 2016, none of which happened in Georgia. According to the FBI, there were 20 mass shootings in 2016, and according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive there were 383 – 17 of which occurred in Georgia.

Having police officers wear little cameras seems to have no discernible impact on citizen complaints or officers' use of force, at least in the nation's capital.

That's the conclusion of a study performed as Washington, D.C., rolled out its huge camera program. The city has one of the largest forces in the country, with some 2,600 officers now wearing cameras on their collars or shirts.

Typically, when law enforcement pursues a suspect who has failed to turn himself in on several outstanding warrants, it takes the dedicated effort of officers and some tips from the community to finally bring the person in.

It's fair to say what happened in Redford Township, Mich., this month was not typical: A suspect turned himself in after making — and losing — a pretty inadvisable bet with police ... involving doughnuts.

Guilty Plea But No Jail For Jewel Thief Doris Payne, 87

Oct 18, 2017
John Bazemore / AP Photo

A notorious jewel thief recently arrested at a Georgia Walmart store got no jail time during her latest court appearance.

Doris Payne, at 87, has stolen about $2 million in jewels over the last six decades. She was arrested July 17 for a misdemeanor shoplifting charge after a Walmart employee said she tried to leave the suburban Atlanta store with items she hadn't paid for.

Columbus Ends Fees For People Who Drop Abuse Allegations

Oct 13, 2017
Peter / Flickr/CC

The city of Columbus, Georgia has agreed to stop making alleged victims in domestic violence cases pay fees when they decline to participate in prosecutions.

The city also agreed to repay $41,844 in fees and damages for the 101 people it charged when they decided not to press charges against their alleged abusers.

Federal Judge Clay Land approved these terms in a class action settlement of a lawsuit filed by the Southern Center for Human Rights in October 2016 against the city of Columbus, a local judge and several law enforcement officers.

The parent company of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas, MGM Resorts, is providing new information that contradicts the latest police timeline of the mass shooting that took place Oct. 1. In a statement, the company says information from police indicating that a hotel security guard was shot six minutes before the shooting began is "not accurate."

Atlanta Contractor Gets 5 Years In Contract Bribery Case

Oct 10, 2017

An Atlanta contractor has been sentenced to serve five years in prison as part of an ongoing federal investigation into bribes paid for city contracts.

A judge on Tuesday also ordered Elvin R. Mitchell Jr. to pay more than $1.12 million in restitution. Another city contractor, Charles P. Richards Jr., is set to be sentenced later Tuesday. Each man pleaded guilty earlier this year to a conspiracy charge.

Prosecutors say Mitchell and Richards conspired to pay city officials to award them lucrative city contracts, with more than $1 million paid out between 2010 and 2015.

If you've ever called 911 to report an emergency, thank the Johnson Crime Commission. Establishing a national emergency number was just one of more than 200 recommendations the Commission offered up in a landmark 1967 report "for a safer and more just society."

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