by Sgt. Jennifer S. Ross
As you read over a sampling of arrests our officers have made over the past couple of months, note the instances where a community member called and reported something they witnessed or thought suspicious. Whether you subscribe to the “if you see something, say something” philosophy, consider yourself to be nosey or just believe it is a duty for neighbors to look out for each other, the bottom line is community members watching out and calling the police makes a difference.
As a criminal justice student at GSU many years ago, I remember having to learn about Sir Robert Peel, said to be the father of modern policing, and I paid attention and memorized what I needed to in order to make good grades. At 19-years-old I wondered how applicable a set off principals established by this man in the 1800’s was going to be as I started my career.
Only with age and experience do some of the things you “learned” actually have meaning. One of the “Peelian Prinicipals” includes the following statement: “The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interest of community welfare and existence.”
Letting those words sink in with seventeen years of experience now means something. If you find yourself seeing something and asking yourself if you should call the police, please go ahead and do so. You are NOT bothering us, it IS important and it DOES make a difference.
Think of it as the difference between having the eyes of 46 Decatur police officers, who work various days and shifts so they are not all on duty at the same time, and having the eyes of over 20,000 community members looking out and pointing the officers in a specific direction.
- On 11/3/13 at approximately 1:20 a.m., Decatur Police responded to the 200 block of West Ponce De Leon Avenue in reference to a theft of services. The complainant advised a group of five males left the location without paying their bill for $86.63. A server was able to obtain the tag number of the vehicle the suspects left the location in and the registered owner was identified as one of the suspects. A warrant for theft of services was issued and the suspect, a 25-year-old male from Lithonia, was arrested on 12/20/13.
- On 11/10/13 at approximately 8:15 a.m., Decatur Police responded to the intersection of Clairemont Avenue and East Ponce de Leon Avenue in reference to an intoxicated person. An officer located a male lying face down on the sidewalk. The officer noticed the strong smell of an alcoholic beverage coming from the male and located a large bottle of gin on the ground near the male. The officer woke the male up. The male stated he was an alcoholic and fell over. The male was not able to stand or walk. The 47-year-old male from Conley, GA was arrested and charged with public intoxication and open container.
- On 11/11/13 at approximately 4:10 p.m., Decatur Police responded to the 200 block of West Ponce de Leon Avenue in reference to a shoplifting. The complainant advised two sets of headphones were stolen from the store. The complainant provided a detailed description of two male suspects and a direction of travel. Officers located the suspects on East Court Square and located the two sets of headphones on one of the suspect. The complainant positively identified the suspect found with the headphones as the person seen taking the headphones. The suspect, a 24-year-old male from Ellenwood, GA, was arrested and charged with theft by shoplifting. Upon being placed in the rear of a patrol vehicle, the male refused to be seat belted and began kicking the doors. The suspect was further restrained and transported to the jail without further incident.
- On 11/12/13 at approximately 3:30 p.m., Decatur Police responded to the 100 block of Winnona Drive in reference to an entering auto. A witness reporting she was driving by and saw two young males wearing gloves looking into vehicle windows and flipping door handles on cars. She further witnessed one of the males enter one vehicle while the second male stood outside "acting as a lookout". An Agnes Scott College officer arrived on scene and detained the two males, one 13-year-old and one 14-year-old both from DeKalb County. Decatur officers located the vehicle the witness pointed out as having been entered and observed the driver's door was damaged and lock assembly was punched in. The vehicle's doors were unlocked and the ignition was damaged consistent with an attempted auto theft. A flathead screw driver was located on the ground outside of the passenger's door. A phone belonging to one of the juveniles was located inside of the vehicle. The two juveniles were charged with entering auto.
- On 11/14/13 at approximately 2:33 p.m., Decatur Police responded to the 100 block of Madison Avenue in reference to a suspicious male who was seen walking out from behind a house at that location. An officer located a male walking in the street near the location who claimed he was trying to locate his aunt’s house. A GCIC check revealed the male was wanted for forgery by Hapeville PD for forgery. The 53-year-old male from Hapeville was arrested for the warrant.
- On 11/16/13 at approximately 3:20 a.m., a Decatur officer was traveling on Scott Boulevard near North Decatur Road and received an alert of a stolen vehicle on the Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR). The officer located and confirmed the vehicle from the alert was reported stolen out of Raleigh, N.C. Officers conducted a felony vehicle stop and the driver, a 33-year-old male from New Jersey, was arrested and charged with theft by receiving and driving while unlicensed.
- On 11/16/13 at approximately 11:00 p.m., a Decatur officer observed a male on the sidewalk near the intersection of East Court Square at West Ponce De Leon Ave who was unsteady on his feet, appearing to hold his arms to maintain balance and had glassy eyes and a dazed stare. The officer spoke to the male who stated he had been drinking at a bachelor party in the area and was on his way home. The officer asked the male if he needed assistance with a cab and he stated "yes." The officer provided directions to the nearby taxi stand but then observed the male so unsteady on his feet it appeared he was going to fall into the roadway. The officer offered the male a ride to the taxi stand. The male then began to vomit in the rear of the patrol vehicle. The officer stopped and opened the rear door allowing the male to continue to vomit on the ground. The male was assisted out of the vehicle and seated on nearby steps. The male began stating that he had to use the bathroom. The male loosened his belt and unzipped his pants while standing on the sidewalk, in front of passing citizens. The male refused all requests to secure his clothing and made an attempt to drop his pants to relieve himself in public. The male, a 44-year-old from DeKalb County, was arrested and charged with public intoxication.
- On 11/18/13 at approximately 5:05 p.m., Decatur Police responded to the 100 block of East Trinity Place in reference to a theft. The elderly victim reported she opened her credit card statement the day before and found numerous charges, totaling over $1,000.00, that she did not make. The victim could not locate her credit card which is normally kept in her wallet. The victim stated she thought her caretaker made the charges on her credit card. The caretaker was interviewed and confessed to stealing the credit card and making the charges. The suspect, a 49-year-old female from DeKalb County, was arrested and charged with financial transaction card theft and elder exploitation.
- On 11/21/13 at approximately 2:43 p.m., Decatur Police responded to the 100 block of West Ponce de Leon Avenue in reference to a shoplifting. A description of the suspect was given and an officer located the suspect on East Court Square. The complainant stated the suspect took a chef’s jacket and fled through the rear parking lot. The complainant pursued and confronted the suspect and recovered the jacket before calling police. The complainant positively identified the suspect, a 30-year-old male from Atlanta, who was arrested and charged with shoplifting.
- On 11/27/13 at approximately 8:40 p.m., a Decatur officer conducted a traffic stop for no tag light in the area of East Lake Drive and Hosea Williams Drive. The officer made contact with the driver who had a hard time keeping his eyes open. The officer noticed green plant material throughout the vehicle consistent with marijuana and notified the driver who voluntarily reached into his right front pants pocket and retrieved a plastic baggie containing suspected marijuana and handed the item to the officer. The driver of the vehicle was taken into custody. A search of the vehicle revealed two loaded handguns, a set of digital scales, a plastic bag containing a white powder that field tested positive for cocaine, a bag that held a container of suspected marijuana and box of plastic sandwich bags and a box of ammunition. A passenger was interviewed and stated the drugs and guns in the car belonged to the driver. The driver was interviewed and stated the passenger had nothing to do with anything found in the vehicle. Further investigation revealed the driver was a convicted felon on parole for manslaughter. While in custody the driver began to vomit and feel lightheaded and medical personnel responded and released the driver for transport to the jail. The driver, a 26-year-old male from DeKalb County, was arrested and charged with VGCSA possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, VGCSA possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and tag light requirement.
- On 12/02/13 at approximately 5:58 p.m., a Decatur officer was working an accident in the 300 block of North McDonough Street Decatur when he observed a young male run past his patrol vehicle. Just after the male ran by, an adult male pulled up and stated "That guy just stole my son's phone!" and pointed out the young male who had just ran by and drove off in the direction the young male ran and the older male followed. The officer located and questioned both males in a parking lot. The juvenile male stated "I took a phone and just ran." The juvenile stated he was watching basketball at the recreation center and went into the pocket of a pair of unattended pants on the bleachers and taking the phone, removing the SIM card to keep the phone from being tracked and leaving. The juvenile further stated he received a call from a third party telling him he needed to return the phone because of who it belonged to. He returned to the gym and returned the phone to the owner and then fled. The father of the phone’s owner arrived and pursued the juvenile in the area and flagged down the officer. The juvenile suspect, a 15-year-old male from Ellenwood, was arrested for the theft of the phone and released to his father.
- On 12/10/13 at approximately 11:56 p.m., a Decatur officer was conducting a park and walk in the 400 block of Church Street when he observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed come to an abrupt stop in front of the Decatur Marta Station. The officer saw a passenger and then the driver exit the vehicle and begin to argue. The driver then retrieved what appeared to be a 4 foot walking stick and a very large knife and begin quickly walking toward the passenger holding the stick in his left hand while swinging the knife side to side in his right hand. The passenger retreated backwards and the officer ordered the driver to drop the weapon and he complied. As the driver was detained and placed in the rear of a patrol vehicle, the passenger began to walk away. The uniformed officer verbally identified himself as a police officer and commanded the passenger to stop but he then began to run towards the 500 block of North McDonough Street. The officer gave chase and caught the passenger who was also detained. The driver stated he gave the passenger a ride and the passenger attempted to take control of the vehicle and the driver thought the passenger was attempting to rob him and his actions were self-defense. The passenger stated he obtained a ride home from the driver when the driver “just went crazy” for unknown reasons. The passenger denied attempting to rob the driver and claimed he ran away from the driver and not the officer and that he did not recognize the officer as a police officer. The driver, a 36-year-old male from DeKalb County, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and the passenger, a 46-year-old male from Forest Park, was charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
- On 12/13/13 at approximately 4:16 p.m., Decatur Police responded to the 100 block of Clairemont Avenue in reference to two cases of forgery in progress. The complainant pointed out two males who were conducting separate transactions with separate tellers. The complainant advised both checks being passed were from the same customer's account and the account holder had been contacted and verified the checks were fraudulent after the tellers found them suspicious. The suspects, a 39-year old male from Alabama and a 52-year-old male from East Point, were arrested and charged with forgery in the fourth degree.
- On 12/13/2013 at approximately 4:17 p.m., Decatur Police responded to the 200 block of East Ponce de Leon Avenue in reference to a forgery in progress. The officer arrived and located the suspect who ran from the bank. Additional officers responded to the area and apprehended the suspect in the rear of a building across the street. The complainant advised the male that fled had presented a teller with a check that was confirmed by the account holder to be stolen. The suspect, a 21-year-old male from Atlanta, was arrested and charged with forgery in the fourth degree and obstruction of an officer.
- On 12/16/13 at approximately 8:57 p.m., Decatur Police responded to the 700 block of East Lake Drive in reference to a disorderly person. Officers located a male outside of the business trying to talk to the business owner through the glass doors from the outside of the business. Officers observed the odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from the male’s person, his speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. The complainant stated the male came into the store and was turned away due to his intoxicated condition. The male refused to leave and then urinated in one of the aisle of the store. The male then left the store but returned minutes later and attempted to enter the store again at which time police were called. The suspect, a 46-year-old male from Atlanta, was arrested and charged with public intoxication and improper disposal of waste.
- On 12/18/13 at approximately 6:58 p.m., Decatur Police responded to the 900 block of East Ponce de Leon Avenue in reference to a suspicious male. The complainant advised he heard a noise on his front porch and observed a male he did not know on his front porch. Officers arrived and located the suspect who was now on the sidewalk and yelling curse words and racial slurs. The officer smelled the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the male and he admitted to drinking “a lot”. When told to remove his hands from his pockets, the male became belligerent, continued to curse and then took an aggressive fighting stance and clinched both fist. The male, a 77-year-old from South Carolina, was arrested for public intoxication.
- On 12/20/13 at 12:08 a.m., Decatur Police responded to the 200 block of Forkner Drive in reference to a suspicious person. The complainant stated she arrived home and observed a male emerge from the side of her residence and then walk toward Church Street. An officer canvassing the area observed large tree branches and a bag of yard waste obstructing the roadway within the 200 block of Forkner Drive and removed the objects from the roadway. The officer then located the male who stated that he was being chased by people and that he placed the tree limbs and yard waste bag in the road to keep the people from following him. It appeared the male was referring to the complainant, who arrived home and found him in her yard. While speaking to the male, he became increasingly loud, used vulgar language and threatened the officers. The male, a 52-year-old from South Carolina, was arrested for disorderly conduct.
- On 12/20/13 at approximately 8:59 p.m., Decatur officers patrolling the downtown Decatur Square on foot observed a woman and then two men fall to the ground and then heard the woman yell "Get him!" A male who had been walking with the woman tackled the man who knocked her to the ground. Officers gained control of the suspect who resisted and made many attempts to escape. The male was very combative with officers and appeared to be under the influence of an unknown narcotic. The male continued to be combative in the back seat of the patrol vehicle, kicking the interior of the vehicle, and was further restrained. The male, a 17-year-old from Atlanta, was charged with simple battery and obstruction of a law enforcement officer and transported to a local hospital due to his excited delirium condition.
- On 12/26/13 at approximately 5:45 p.m., Decatur Police responded to the area of South Candler Street and Midway Road in reference to a theft of mail and provided a description of the suspect. Officers responding to the area observed envelopes, papers and a box scattered on the sidewalk in the area. An officer located the suspect in the 800 block of South Candler Street. The witness made contact with officers and pointed out the suspect as the person she saw taking mail from the victim’s mailbox, open the mail and discard some of the mail on the ground as well as put some of the mail in his pockets. Officers recovered the discarded mail which included a box for ProActive products from the ground. The suspect denied taking anything but officers located three ProActive bottles from his pockets. The male, a 35-year-old from Conyers, was arrested for theft by taking, damaging mail, and littering.
- On 01/05/13 at approximately 5:33 p.m., Decatur Police responded to the 600 block of Second Avenue in reference to a suspicious person at the rear of a residence peering into a vehicle. Officers located the male leaving the yard of another residence on Second Avenue. The male claimed to be walking from a business at Oakview Road and Second Avenue to his residence on Hosea Williams Drive by way of cutting through an alley. The complainant stated he witnessed the male walking in one direction on a neighboring street and then observed him minutes later inside of the fence of the rear yard of a neighbor’s house on Second Avenue looking into a vehicle. The male ducked behind the vehicle when he noticed the complainant watching him. The witness positively identified the male stopped by officers. The male, a 51-year-old from Atlanta, was arrested for loitering and prowling.