By Justin Jones, Staff Writer
Monday, January 21, 2013 —
In early November, Albemarle Police Depart-ment (APD) began a directive that was geared toward deterring breaking and entering and larceny crimes.
Earlier last week, APD held a Command staff meeting to discuss the results of that directive and how they arrived at their goal of better law enforcement.
Capt. David Dulin of the Criminal Investigation Division was the first to report on the progress his unit made.
Dulin credited communications between the road patrol and investigative unit as a factor in making several arrests for persons who they believe to be repeat offenders.
“I’ve had 18 years in (law enforcement) and my first 10 years, you didn’t really speak to detectives a lot because they were busy doing something else,” Dulin said.
“I’ve spoken with my folks and we are encouraging the patrol to communicate with us. Tell us what you see out here on the roads so that we can use that in some cases we’re investigating now.”
Dulin said he encouraged communication following his email blasts on people that officers should be aware of while out on patrol.
“We don’t have warrants on these people and we’re not going to arrest them. In essence, if we do roll up on them that it will send off a light bulb,” he said.
“If you see them out and about, do a field contact and see what they’re wearing. And if you run into this guy, pay attention to what he may have or what he may not.”
That communication proved to be helpful and reciprocated.
“It was obvious that once we sent that (email) out, patrol came right back to us, saying you might want to think about So-and-So,” Dulin said.
“Us (detectives) telling them what we got, (patrol) telling us what they got, we’re bound to come up with something really good.”
Other captains gave their reports and how their units targeted shopping centers and neighborhoods where the department receives a majority of their crime reports.
Capt. L.P. Howell reported to the others that his unit (Squad D) often parked in neighborhoods and outside of shopping centers and around banks in an effort to deter crime.
“We totalled a number of 68 times that we walked through businesses in day or night shift,” Howell said.
“When officers weren’t patrolling, we stressed to park in parking lots, near banks or stores.”
Howell reported his unit made nine arrests during the directive, all related to breaking and entering or larceny crimes.
Other captains had similar reports, while one squad witnessed first-hand the effect an officer’s presence can have in deterring crime.
Sgt. John Griffith read the report in place of Capt. Kristine Swink, as they particularly targeted reducing crimes inside and outside Walmart.
Griffith spoke of two instances, one of a larceny that was ongoing in the electronics section of Walmart and another in which a shopper was trying to leave with a case of alcohol.
“Employees say that the suspect saw the officers walk by and put the items back that were concealed and actually paid for several other items,” Griffith read.
Griffith said the man with a case of alcohol eventually left the buggy and exited the store without any items.
“An officer’s presence does deter,” he said.
In all, Albemarle Police concluded that during the directive, a total of 19 arrests for home or vehicle breaking and enterings were made.
Compared to November and December 2011, Police Chief William Halliburton said the department had a 32.5 percent decrease of crimes in those areas.
Even if the numbers aren’t as high in arrests, he said that doesn’t mean the directive wasn’t a success.
Dulin and Halliburton both mentioned that several of their arrests made earlier in the directive may have drastically reduced the amount they would have seen in the following weeks if the suspects had not already been arrested.
As Criminal Investigation Division Commander, Dulin said the department does not want their job to quit at the point of arrest, but would like to see their work through to prosecution.
As a step in that direction, Dulin said they had a member of the district attorney’s office to speak for what was initially scheduled as a 30-minute meeting into what finished about two hours later.
“We had him tell us what we’re doing wrong, tell us what we’re doing right,” Dulin said.
“The good, the bad, the ugly.
“We hit on topics everywhere. I think that turned out real positive.”
Along with the developing communication that has led to several arrests, Halliburton said his officers have been doing a better job in writing their reports, which can be crucial in gathering more substantial evidence if an arrest is made.
“As we found, a lot of these cases on B&E’s are linked. So the more you put in the report, that’s where you can find those links,” he said.
“We’ve talked with supervisors and I’ve sent out three different ‘attaboys’ for reports these guys are turning in.
“They’re taking a lot more due diligence in what they’re doing. They’ve always done quite a few steps but didn’t necessarily put it on paper, so we’ve seen a big improvement on that and I think that’s one of the positives we try to get out of directives is improving how we do things operationally.”
Halliburton said this directive was their third of the year, and each one gets harder in finding creative ways to deter crime.
One of the items that they plan on developing further, Halliburton said, was through connecting with the community and developing areas of community surveillance.
“Our lines of communication are getting better and led to several arrests,” he said of the directive.
“And we’re going to do better policing through better reporting.”