police

Jessica Gurell / GPB

Drugs like fentanyl aren’t just creating new risks for human police officers. The dogs who use their powerful noses to sniff out drugs are inhaling the dangerous synthetic opioids as well. So police departments are taking new steps to protect their dogs – and respond if the K-9s get sick.

Normally, it’s a police dog’s job to protect its handler, not the other way around. If you’re a police dog and somebody runs at your human waving a weapon, there’s only one response: you attack.

 

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says respect for law enforcement is the key to safer communities.

 

He delivered that message to the annual gathering of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives in Atlanta Tuesday.

“We can all agree that you’re safer on your rounds when everyone respects law enforcement. The communities you serve are safer if people respect law enforcement,” Sessions said.

Black Police Worry Community Relationships Being Undermined

Aug 1, 2017
WCN 24/7 / Flickr/CC

The Trump administration's tough talk on crime and the treatment of suspects has left black police officers worried that efforts to repair the fraught relationship between police and minority communities could be derailed.

27 Arrested In 4-Day Police Sting Targeting Guns, Felons

Jul 12, 2017
WCN 24/7 / Flickr/CC

The Savannah-Chatham police department conducted a four-day operation targeting illegal guns and convicted felons, netting 27 arrests.

WALB-TV

According to a recent lawsuit, hundreds of students at Worth County High School in Sylvester, Georgia were the subject of a humiliating pat-down by local sheriff's deputies. The case raises questions about privacy on school campuses.

GWilber / Foter

A new investigative report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution finds about 12 percent of cops in Georgia schools were forced out of a previous job. The officers were terminated or investigated for a wide range of reasons, including chronically poor performance, lying to superiors, sexual misconduct and inappropriate use of force. But for some, a job in the school system means a second chance. We talk with Brad Schrade, Reporter for the AJC.

Flickr / weaverphoto

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has signed the campus carry law. Starting July 1, anyone with a weapons license can carry a concealed gun on a state school’s campus. The Chief of Police for Valdosta, home of Valdosta State University, says this is bad news for public safety. Here’s Chief Brian Childress, in his own words.

Gwinnett Officers Charged; Police Say Video Showed Assault

Apr 27, 2017
Gwinnett County Police Department

Police on Wednesday filed charges against two fired Georgia police officers who authorities say were captured on video kicking and hitting a man during a traffic stop. On Thursday morning, Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni had turned himself, with Master Officer Robert McDonald expected to follow sometime later in the day.

Gwinnet County Sheriff's Office

On March 18, a pair of Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office deputies allegedly stole items from a storage area without permission.

Corporal Ronnie Rodriguez and Deputy Jason Cowburn were arrested by Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office investigators on March 22 and charged with theft of county property. Investigators did not specify what was taken, but arrest warrants valued the property between $1,500 and $5,000.

Gustavo Tejal / Flickr/CC

A group of Georgia senators are working on a package of bills designed to support law enforcement.

The Senate Public Safety Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to pass each of the four bills. The proposals now move to the Senate Rules Committee.

The unrest in Ferguson, Mo., following the death of Michael Brown in summer 2015 drew renewed scrutiny to police violence and revealed just how little the public knew about its pervasiveness. At first, there were widespread calls to address what officers looked like since Brown was African-American and the officer who shot him is white.

Sgt. Marty Tucker thinks millennials have trouble talking to strangers. Tucker runs training for the Sheriff's Office in Spokane, Wash., and he says new recruits seem inhibited when making face-to-face contacts with members of the public.

"They're so stressed out about making contact that they don't think about anything else," he says. "So they get up there, and then they'll freeze up."

New Orleans has agreed to pay $13.3 million to settle lawsuits over injuries and deaths at the hands of police in the weeks before and after Hurricane Katrina.

Roswell Police Department

A former Roswell police sergeant is suing the city after being terminated for flying a Confederate flag outside of her home. Silvia Cotriss filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court and names the City of Roswell, the Chief of Police, and the City Administrator as the defendants.

Suspect Arrested In Shooting Of 2 Lavonia Police Officers

Dec 13, 2016

Investigators say they've arrested a man suspected of shooting and wounding two Georgia police officers.

In a news release late Monday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation says Khari Anthony Dashaun Gordon was charged with multiple counts including attempted murder and assaulting a police officer.

The two Lavonia officers were making a traffic stop Monday evening in northeast Georgia near a restaurant when officials say the 22-year-old Gordon opened fire. Both officers were hit.

Utility Inc.

The DeKalb County Police Department is the latest law enforcement agency to equip officers with body cameras. The department is buying 600 BodyWorn cameras made by Utility Inc. for each of its patrol officers. The police say it's an effort to enhance transparency and officer safety, but there are concerns about how that footage would be shared with the public.

@ATLisReady

Police shootings of unarmed African American men have sparked protests across the country, including in Atlanta. The protests in the city have been peaceful for the most part. But recent violence against police in Baton Rouge and Dallas have raised questions about the capacity of law enforcement officers to serve as both public servants and defenders of the peace. 

We talk with The Atlanta-Journal Constitution columnist Bill Torpy about why he thinks the way officers handle protests in Atlanta work. 

Police And The Press

Jul 12, 2016
AP Photo/Eric Gay

Shortly after the shooting in Dallas last week, the Dallas Police Department tweeted a picture of Mark Hughes as its initial suspect. Within minutes, Hughes became the most wanted man in the country. Multiple news outlets broadcasted the photo and thousands of users shared it on social media. Though cleared of all suspicion, Hughes had to go into hiding after he received death threats. 

Cherokee County School District

Earlier this month, a police K-9 assigned to the Cherokee County School District died from heat exhaustion. The four-year-old dog named Inca was left inside his handler's police cruiser at the end of their shift. This isn't the first police K9 in recent years to die in Georgia from heat exhaustion. George Mathis decided to look deeper into this problem.

Georgia's First Black Police Officer

May 3, 2016
Linda Chen/GPB News

The first African-American police officer in Georgia was sworn in 69 years ago. A total of nine black police officers joined the Savannah Police Department on May 3, 1947. They became known, collectively, as the “Original Nine.” Retired Lieutenant John White was the first to take the oath and is the only surviving member. Producer Linda Chen spent an afternoon with White as he looked back on that landmark moment of his storied career in law enforcement. 

Gabrielle Ware / GPB

For the first time in 16 years the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Dept. is now at full staff. Police Chief Joseph Lumpkin made the announcement Wednesday standing beside the  department's newest members.

The fully realized force comes as Savannah faces a murder rate nearly three times what it was last year, its worst year for homicides since 1991.

UPDATE July 7, 2017: Contrary to reports on social media, Judge Odell did not release Jerry Chambers Jr. after he was charged in the 2016 assault and attempted robbery outside the Savannah Mall.

According to District Attorney Meg Heap, that case was tried in juvenile court, where another judge found Chambers, then 16, not to be a delinquent, allowing his release. Chambers, now 17, faces three counts of felony murder in the July 5, 2017 shooting and fatal car crash in downtown Savannah. 

Original story, April 2016:

Private Funds Hire Off-Duty Public Patrols

Apr 1, 2016
Grant Blankenship / GPB

Bill Fickling sat on his front porch in the Ingleside neighborhood of Macon.

 

He pointed beyond the cherry blossom trees, well-known to those who live in the city. Through the woods is a house.

 

“The burglars were actually using that as a hide out, apparently that house is vacant,” said Fickling.