Operation ABLE has had a “pretty significant impact” on crime, says Dalton Police Chief James Chadwick.

Starting in June after the Memorial Day shooting death of Dalton High School student Andre Johnson, the police department beefed up the number of officers on patrol, shifted resources to hot spots such as Morris Street and took other steps to rein in crime.

“Our operation plans are to go through September, and we are going to re-evaluate to see if we’ve had an impact. Preliminary indications are that we’ve had a very positive impact,” Chadwick said.

Chadwick says “Part 1” crimes — such as murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson — have dropped 21 percent since the same period in 2006. Vandalism has dropped 43 percent.

Those numbers follow a 28 percent drop in violent crime in 2006, and a 32 percent decrease in property crimes that year.

“Ninety percent of the crime we have is property crime,” Chadwick said.

He said the department’s goal for 2007 is to cut crime by another 5 percent.

Bobby Nichols, owner of Dalton Guttering on Morris Street, says he has noticed the increased police presence.

“It seems like they are around more,” he said.

Nichols says he has had windows shot out at his business on a number of occasions and as recently as two or three months ago.

But he says he believes the increased police presence, including as many as 27 officers on the street during peak times, has had an impact.

Chadwick says the police have also been “knocking on the doors” of known and suspected gang members and gathering more information on them.

Chadwick says Dalton police have also arrested more than 20 individuals for forgery or fraud. If convicted, those individuals who are here illegally should face deportation, he says.

“We’ve been involved in immigration enforcement actively since 1995,” Chadwick said, referring to the joint immigration task force that involved local and federal law enforcement agencies that operated through 2003.

“Anytime we have some indication that person is in the country illegally and we have reason to arrest them, we notify (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) about that,” Chadwick said.


ABLE is an acronym for:

• Aiding the community in identifying various crime indicators.

• Building partnerships with the community.

• Locking up offenders.

• Enforcing laws consistently and constitutionally.

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