Law enforcement officers from Macon, Bibb County and other agencies across the state arrested 150 people and gave out more than 400 citations to motorists this past weekend as part of the Thunder Task Force.
At a news conference Monday, law enforcement officials noted the effort -- in which Macon and Bibb County law enforcement officers were joined by members of the Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Office of Highway Safety, the National Guards drug task force, and 40 officers from 16 police departments and sheriffs offices -- was very successful.
It was very productive weekend, said Harris Blackwood, director of the Georgia Office of Public Safety. The numbers speak for themselves.
Among the citations and arrests made during the operation, which ran from Thursday to Saturday:
36 drug citations/arrests;
11 felony citations/arrests;
48 fugitives apprehended;
68 DUI citations/arrests.
Blackwood noted one of the key areas of concern for law enforcement was the number of citations and arrests made during the weekend for failing to properly restrain children -- 73 in all, plus five warnings.
Theres a lot of work we have to do in that area, he said.
Blackwood said 120 officers were on the streets during the three days, as well as seven in helicopters with the National Guard.
Other participating agencies during the operation included the Byron, Clayton County, DeKalb County, Dublin, Glynn County, Henry County, Valdosta and Winder police departments; sheriffs offices in Barrow, Douglas, Forsyth, Twiggs and Walton counties; and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
Bibb County Chief Deputy David Davis said 150 people were booked into the Bibb County jail during the three-day period as a direct result of the operation. According to the official statistics, another 416 people were issued citations while 83 motorists received warnings.
Davis said the mere presence of officers on the road at 28 different checkpoints and the word spreading across the county of the checkpoints proved to be a deterrent to many drivers.
Davis said the only way to catch lawbreakers is to do thorough inspections of licenses and automobiles for violations.
Thats good police work, he said. It helps take major criminals off the streets.
Among the most significant arrests during the three days included Bibb deputies arresting three people from Florida on possession-with-intent-to-distribute charges in that state, and confiscating 151 crack rocks, 22 baggies of powder cocaine and 5.5 ounces of marijuana from an operation on Emery Highway.
Georgia State Patrol officers charged a woman with child endangerment for transporting an unrestrained 2-year-old while impaired.
Macon police conducted an operation on Cedar Avenue which led to the arrest of an Ohio man who was on parole for murder and had outstanding warrants in that state. As part of the operation on that street, officers also confiscated 40 bags of cocaine, four bags of marijuana, two guns and a marijuana plant.
Macon police Maj. Charles Stone said planning proved key among the agencies.
The plan was well-executed, he said. No officers were injured.
Blackwood said much of the planning involved using crime and traffic statistics from Data Driven Approach to Crime and Traffic Safety, or DDACTS, a tool that law enforcement officials use to measure which parts of a city or county have the highest levels of crime and traffic incidents.
Because this was a cooperative effort among law agencies and the state, there was no extra cost to local taxpayers for the operation, Blackwood said. Local officers will reciprocate by offering their assistance to other cities and counties across the state in similar operations later this year.
At times like this, when the budget is tight, its important to provide that extra support, he said. The results speak for themselves.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.