With a goal of reducing serious crime, Gwinnett County police are counting its recently concluded special detail in the South Precinct a success.
From Aug. 18 to Sept. 14, police conducted the "South Surge" detail, including probation and parole sweeps, sex offender checks, and foot patrol in high-crime areas.
The special enforcement netted more than 500 charges, including 211 traffic arrests, 56 warrants and 55 DUI (alcohol) arrests, according to data provided by Gwinnett County Police Department.
"During the detail, there were many instances where, due to the large number of officers, GCPD was able to offer a quicker and larger response to significant calls," Cpl. Jake Smith said in a press release Thursday. "All officers were instructed to discontinue details, such as road checks, in the event a significant call occurred near them.
"This resulted in the capture of several suspects who might have otherwise escaped."
Several departments within GCPD were part of the effort: Community Response Teams, Communications, Quality of Life, DUI Task Force, Aviation, Motors, and the K-9 Unit.
"GCPD considers this operation a success and may conduct similar details in the future," Smith added in the press release.
See attached documents for crime statistics related to the "South Surge." The graphics show a decrease in crime during the detail and the number of charges issued.
The Quality of Life Unit checked more than 450 businesses on U.S. Highway 78 from the Dekalb County line to the city limits of Snellville. In that work, police handed out 70 citations for business violations.
In addition, the unit looked for ordinance violations in neighborhoods with high numbers of serious crimes. One example was the Westchester Subdivision off Five Forks Trickum Road, in the Lilburn area. There more than 200 homes were checked, which concluded in more than 60 notices of violation issued.
"Following the detail, the homeowner’s association president contacted GCPD praising the Quality of Life Unit’s work," police said in press release.
During a road check on Ronald Reagan Parkway and Bethesda Church Road, a suspect was stopped because of the smell of marijuana coming from the inside of his vehicle. A vehicle search located several small bags with marijuana in them along with a large quantity of cash.
Officers also located hand-written notes that indicated the driver was possibly selling larger amounts of drugs. This stop led to a search warrant execution on the suspect’s home. A large scale marijuana grow operation was located in the residence.
In Lilburn, the use of license plate readers on a patrol vehicle in the area of Rockbridge Road and Lilburn Stone Mountain Road helped discover a stolen vehicle.
Officers trailed the stolen blue Mercedes to a nearby CVS, where the suspect tried hiding in the ceiling tiles, and the bolted for the adjacent Ingles grocery store.
He was eventually found in a walk-in freezer and subsequently charged.
Another significant arrest began with a minor traffic violation. During a safety check on Sept. 12 near Sugarloaf Parkway and Davis Road, police stopped suspects who were not wearing seat belts.
After an officer smelled drugs inside the vehicle, a search located a half-pound of cocaine inside. The occupants were arrested and the investigation was turned over to the Special Investigations Section.
The detail also resulted in the capture of a homicide suspect who police said stabbed his mother to death in Lawrenceville. After the homicide, officers set up around the areas in which the suspect was previously seen.
A surge officer located the suspect sitting in his vehicle at the QuikTrip on Highway 20 at Simonton Road, where he was taken into custody without incident.