U E L I G BL HT THE
Official Publication of the Gastonia Police Department
Stacy Conley, Chief of Police
Vol. XV, Issue I, Summer 2012
Remembering GPD’s Fallen Officers
A memorial service in conjunction with National Police Week was held May 7 at the Gastonia Police Memorial and Commemorative Park built in 2011. Chaplain Austin Rammell opened with prayer, Chief Stacy Conley welcomed everyone, Chaplain Dennis Boyce served as speaker, and the roll call for GPD’s nine fallen officers was read by Assistant Chiefs Chuck Lifford and Robert Helton. GPD’s Honor Guard presented colors, a laying of the wreath and performed the 21 gun salute. (Photo by Mike Schwartz)
Tactical Team & Field Force By Capt. Don Roper
Greetings From the Chief Page 2
GPD Awards Page 3
Strategic Plan Page 4
Habitat Renovation Page 5
Spending Time Page 6
Randy Gantt Promoted to Sergeant Page 6
he Gastonia Police Department’s Tactical Team has recently evolved in its responsibilities to include crowd control and riot suppression. Members of the team are training in these tactics in addition to their core duties of providing a rapid, tactical response to active violent situations. This concept of having a trained and equipped Mobile Field Force began as a goal of then Assistant Chief Stacy Conley several years ago. Upon being promoted to the top job, and with the upcoming Democratic National Convention in neighboring Charlotte,
Chief Conley decided to move forward with the project. While determining a selection process for officers to be assigned to the Field Force, it became clear that the Tactical Team would be the obvious choice with its group of motivated and specially trained officers already in place. The process began with the addition of new members, nearly doubling the team. After completing the tryouts which consisted of a physical test, combat stress course, and an oral interview, all the team members were in place. The next step involved specialized training provided by instructors from The Center for Domestic Preparedness, (Please see Field Force, page 4)
The Blue Light Bulletin
Greetings From The Chief Progress Report & Looking Ahead
elcome to the summer edition of The Blue Light Bulletin. As Chief of Police, I am honored to serve this community alongside the outstanding men and women of the Gastonia Police Department. Policing in Gastonia is founded upon the tenets of Community Policing and we genuinely believe that in order to create and maintain a safe community, we must develop an interdependent relationship with those we serve. Doing so ensures that we can deliver exceptional service to our residents, businesses and visitors alike. To date, the department has many successes to report. First, I am pleased to announce that our City Council has voted to rescind charges for take home vehicle mileage within the city limits, allowing a small savings for each of us. Secondly, our department is showing another year of declining crime. Preliminary statistics show that our crime was reduced by 3%
over the 2011 calendar year, equating to a 25.64% decrease in Part I crimes over the past five years.
25.6% The part one crime rate decrease in Gastonia over the last five years.
Finally, our department continues to work diligently with other Federal Agencies to address our breaking and entering crimes and to addresses our residents who are involved in gang activity. Their tenacity has resulted in several arrests and a temporary reduction in breaking and entering crimes in our targeted communities. As many of you know, I am open to new ways of doing business and committed to creating innovative approaches to delivering
Torch Run for Special Olympics Assistant Chief Rob Helton carries the torch in the N.C. Law Enforcement Torch Run, which has benefited Special Olympics since 1987. Law enforcement agencies in Gaston County carried the torch 14 miles on May 21 from West Franklin Boulevard to the Catawba/South Fork River. (Photo by Eddie Green)
police service. In March of this year our department held a strategic planning retreat to identify the core goals and objectives necessary to keeping our community safe. Officers, civilians and command staff personnel gathered together for a day to help create a long-term vision for the department. Through a collaborative effort, we have developed a plan that embraces Intelligence Led Policing, open communication, technology, accreditation, employee wellness, environmental conservation and volunteers. The plan has been finalized and as the department moves ahead, each of you will play a part in helping achieve the newly identified goals and objectives. I am optimistic that this department will continue on the path of excellence as we continue to address the needs of our diverse community with professionalism and determination. As we develop programs, embrace the new Intelligence Led Policing philosophy, implement technology and take on new initiatives, I know that the men and women of this department are organized and focused on reducing the levels of fear, crime and disorder in our city. Together we accomplish great things!
Stacy Conley Chief of Police
The Blue Light Bulletin
Medal of Honor & 30 Other Awards By Donna Lahser BLB Editor
ice and Narcotics Detective Jim Poole has received the Medal of Honor, and four officers have received Lifesaving Medals, Chief Stacy Conley has announced. “Detective Poole’s actions define the Medal of Honor,” Chief Conley said. “He was in an extremely hazardous situation with threat to his own life while engaging armed assailants and his actions protected the public at extreme risk to himself.” Officer Jason Eaker saved a victim from a burning residence Ofc. Eaker on June 23, 2008, a case in which the suspect was charged with attempted first degree murder and first degree arson. Officers Ryan Smith, Andrew Ofc. Smith Pate and Eric Seagle saved a victim from an attempted suicide by hanging on May 28, 2011. Other awards in the department’s 2012 awards program include: Four Exceptional Duty Awards – Capt. Steve Duncan for development and coordination of the Gastonia Sniper Conference, a nationally recognized event. Capt. Ed Turas for service as president and a founding member of the
Improvised Explosive Device (IED) prevention Homeland Security Program, and for directorship of a nationally recognized research program with UNC-Charlotte known as ISERRT (Infrastructure Security and Emergency Responder Research and Training Facility). Sgt. Trent Conard and Sgt. Chad Hawkins for development and coordination of the Police Training Officer program. Officer Amy Hawkins for achieving major growth, statewide recognition and awards with the Explorer Program, and receiving the Advisor of the Year award. Officer of the Year – Detective Shane Lewis for outstanding Ofc. Pate investigations and prosecutions involving Internet Crimes Against Children. Detective Lewis also serves as a certified computer forensics Ofc. Seagle examiner. Commendation of Service – Emily Burr for diligent and substantial contribution with the Gang Net Program aiding in successful investigation and prosecution of organized crime offenses. Citizens on Patrol Awards – Doug Carpenter, COP Volunteer of the Year with 268.5 hours of service. Commendations of Service to Don Brittain, Gayle Kiser, Larry King, Sharyn Hartzell, Lamar
Above, Chief Conley recognizes Doug Carpenter as COP Volunteer of the Year, and below D’Andre Mason is honored as Explorer of the Year during the Family Day event on May 18 at Karyae Park. (Photos by Jonas Hansen)
Gardin, and Betty Hamilton. Explorers Awards – D’Andre Mason, Explorer of the Year with 282 hours of service. Commendations of Service to Clay Jenkins, Nick Swann, Chris Swann, Caleb Price, Cody Price, Travis Gilman, Jordan Taylor, Ashlynn Windham, Brittany Dimmitt and Dallas Payne. Education Awards – Officer Jackie Quinley and Sgt. Keith McCabe for obtaining master’s degrees.
The Blue Light Bulletin
DNC Is Catalyst For Evolution (Field Force, continued from page 1) a division of FEMA. This training was conducted at the CMPD training academy over several three-day courses during October and November of last year. Tactical Team members took the training they received and began sharpening their abilities during their regular training days each month. The team is becoming more proficient in its capabilities with each session. Members have also stepped up to take a leadership role in the In-Service training that every officer of the department is receiving this year in crowd control and riot suppression. The Gaston
A new patch for the Tactical Team & Field Force, reflecting the team’s new training and capabilities.
County Police Department and the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office have participated in training with the team as well. During the process, the team has
looked to the upcoming DNC as a catalyst for this evolution. Chief Conley showed his confidence in the team by offering their services to assist the CMPD for crowd control duties during the DNC in Charlotte this September. CMPD accepted the offer, and 44 members of the team will be assigned to a Field Force platoon for the week during the convention. In return for this effort, members will receive equipment and valuable real world experience to bring back to Gastonia for future use should the need arise.
Five-Year Strategic Plan Updated By Asst. Chief Chuck Lifford BLB Writer
n March 21 a group of 40 volunteers met in the community room to review and revise the GPD’s 2012-2017 strategic plan. Divided into four teams, the groups assessed the organization’s Mission, Values, Goals, and Objectives. Through their efforts, a document all could agree was meaningful, was created. One primary discussion centered upon the agency’s philosophy of Intelligence Led-Problem Oriented Policing. Intelligence Led policing is a top down strategy that assesses crime data and the supervisors give specific assignments. Problem Oriented Policing is a line level strategy where officers develop
responses to deal with crime and disorder issues. The GPD proposes to utilize both strategies by hosting regular Commander meetings to identify significant crime issues and implement efforts to enhance communication between various functions of the agency to respond to those issues. Everyone will be focused on the same problems collaboratively. Other elements of the strategy include the introduction of aircards in the field so every officer can access crime data to be more effective. A second interesting initiative is a goal to make the agency more “green” and to focus on all the employees’ well being. The resources the agency has, including its staff, must be used wisely and nurtured for the best outcomes. The entire plan is available through
the www.GastoniaPD.org website. The team that wrote the initial plan for consideration was Jackie Quinley, Rodney Aldridge, Dean Conner, Brad Herndon, and myself.
The Blue Light Bulletin Staff Executive Editor Chief Stacy Conley Editor Donna C. Lahser Writers/Contributors Steve Norris, Mike Lari, E.G. Starling, Sherry Dunaway, David Morton, Chuck Lifford, Teri Mullinax, Jonas Hansen, Robert Helton, Patrick Daley, Mike Schwartz, Nancy Capistran, Eddie Green, Jamin Brackett, Eddie Lovingood, Dennis Boyce
The Blue Light Bulletin
Habitat & 51% Crime Decrease
newly renovated Habitat for Humanity house was dedicated May 22 on Parkdale Avenue thanks to the Gastonia Police Department, the Gastonia Fire Department and the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office. The public safety partnership has completed five Habitat homes: three new ones and two remodels. This is the fourth home in the Parkdale area, and there has been a 51 percent drop in the crime rate there since this effort started, Sgt. Jimmy Arndt said.
The current renovation started on April 13th, and about 15 officers, seven Sheriff’s Office deputies and numerous firemen provided volunteer labor along with the Recreation Department and the home’s resident, a city employee who is very excited. “We do all the work on the house except for the foundation: tear out (fire department), re-frame, new roof, new plumbing, new wiring, siding, sheetrock, paint, trim, driveway, etc.,” Sgt. Arndt said. (Photos by the GPD ID Bureau)
The Blue Light Bulletin
Counselor’s Insight How Will You Spend Your Time?
recently learned a valuable lesson from my wisdom teeth. Using intense searing pain from my chin to my ear and into the socket of my eye, my wisdom teeth underscored a principle one might find in Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Oh, I understood the concept when I read it in Covey’s book years ago, but my wisdom teeth really brought it home. One night I performed a self-appendectomy just to distract me from the pain. It turned into more of an exploratory surgery but that’s a different column. We spend a great deal of time on things that are:
1. Urgent but not important (time sensitive Facebook debates) 2. Not urgent and not important (watching the Jeopardy marathon on Game Show Network) 3. Urgent AND important (there’s a fire in the kitchen) We don’t spend enough time on things that are not urgent but still very important. I wish I had spent more time discovering the truth about what havoc my wisdom teeth were wreaking in my mouth. Dental physiology was very important but not particularly urgent…until I was in tremendous pain. It is a simple, truthful example of what often happens in much more painful ways. We might ignore
family relationships until someone is no longer there to love or speak to. We might ignore planning for retirement or our physical health… all because we are spending time on things that don’t really matter very much. Go ahead. Spend some time with the kids tonight. Start pursuing the degree you have always thought about. Call your Mom. Go to the dentist. Choose something today to devote some time to…not because it HAS to be done today…but because it HAS to be done. You can thank me later…no rush. Be safe! Dennis Boyce
Randy Gantt Promoted to Sergeant
andy Gantt has been promoted to sergeant. The promotion was effective July 1 upon the retirement of Sgt. Jeff Hawkins. “Sgt. Gantt is an asset to the department, and I’m confident he’ll do well in his new role,” Chief Stacy Conley said. Sgt. Gantt, 28, was hired by the Gastonia Police Department in September 2006, and has served with Patrol, the Street Crimes Unit and the Honor Guard. He served as a Police Training Officer in Patrol. In the Street Crimes Unit he participated in undercover
operations including prostitution stings, and drug and gang investigations. Sgt. Gantt holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UNC-Charlotte as well as the State of North Carolina’s Intermediate Law Enforcement Certificate. ***New assignments are as follows: Sgt. Keith McCabe has been selected for the A rotation in the East District. Mike Rudisill and Tim Pilkington have been appointed to the Honor Guard. David Lingafelt has been selected as East District Community Coordinator. Shane Johnson,
Brandon Johns and Mike Rudisill are new Police Training Officers. Stephen Rollins and Chris Waldroup are new Gang Intelligence Liaisons. Warren Roberts, Clint Bridges, Stephen Rollins, and David Ferguson (Reserves) are new members of the SWAT Team.Warren Roberts and Brandon Johns are new Shift Sniper Team members. Det. Eric Starling has been selected for the Mobile Command Team. Andrew Pinney is a new Criminal Investigator. (Please see GPD Tidbits, page 7)
The Blue Light Bulletin
CSI Camp GPD and the Schiele Museum teamed up to host a camp called CSI: Not As Seen on TV held June 25-29 for area middle schoolers. Sgt. Jeff Hawkins, Det. Heath McMullan, and Mandy Jordan with the Schiele served as camp leaders with assistance from Explorers Travis Gilman, Brittany Dimmitt and Ashlynn Windham (not pictured). (Photos by Sgt. Jamin Brackett)
GPD Tidbits, continued from page 6 Thomas Doby is the Street Crimes Unit K-9 officer. Eric Seagle joined the Street Crimes Unit. Fred Williams joined the East District B rotation. ***New assignments in the Central District are as follows: Jason Williams to C rotation, Marty Oates to Community Coordinator, Brandon McConnell to B rotation, Joshua Williams to A rotation, and Jason Harris to C rotation. ***Det. Albert Fleming won first place for the second year in a row in a firearms competition in the 60th Anniversary North State Law Enforcement Officer’s Training Conference held June 13-17 in Durham. ***A retirement ceremony was held for Sgt. Jeff Hawkins on June 22 in the Community Room. He was presented with many gifts including a billy club from the GPD Sergeant’s Association. ***Don Black and Todd Anthony celebrated their retirements with cookouts behind the PD. Don’s celebration was April 27 and Todd’s was on May 23. Retirement gifts were presented while everyone enjoyed hotdogs, hamburgers and socializing. ***A retirement celebration was held for Steve Moore on Dec. 15 in the Community Room. He received many gifts, and special recognitions from the Honor Guard and Code Enforcement. Sgts. Jeff Clark and Chad Hawkins said Steve would
always say “I’ll do it” and was a PTO leader. ***Recently hired officers: Cody Huffstetler, 12/27/11; Clarence Belton, 1/17/12; LaDoniqua Neely, 1/17/12; Jonathan Schrock, 1/23/12; Cody Edge, 2/20/12; Luke Hester, 2/20/12; and Jason Green, 2/27/12; Justin Padgett, 6/11/12; and Brandon Davis, 6/11/12. *** On May 29 Caleb Price was selected as the 2012 Explorer Academy President.
In Memory of K-9 Luke GPD recently lost K-9 Luke to degenerative myelopathy, a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. A true police officer, Luke never missed an opportunity to serve and protect Gastonia and apprehend the bad guy. Imported from Slavokia, Luke joined the department in October 2006 and served in Patrol and in the Street Crimes Unit. Officer Clay Anthony served as Luke’s handler.
Citizens Police Academy Graduation Gastonia Police Chief Stacy Conley and Assistant Chief Rob Helton presented certificates on May 21 to eight graduates in the departmentâ€™s Citizens Police Academy. The graduates, in turn, recognized Officer Amy Hawkins with a plaque for her efforts in the 11-week program that focuses on Gastonia Police operations. Graduates are, left to right, Kostelanetz Phillips, Dee Newman, Johnny Mayes, Maisy Meakin, Debbie Clay, Jennifer Kornegay and William Starr. Not pictured is Charles Meakin. (Photo by Mike Schwartz)
Gastonia Police Department Office of Public Information P.O. Box 1748 Gastonia, NC 28053