Local News

August 27, 2013

Chief says police hires must demonstrate ‘professionalism,’ ‘integrity’

Recruiting qualified officers whose actions show the “professionalism” and “integrity” needed for the job is always a challenge, said Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker.

As a guest speaker addressing Whitfield County’s Chapter 5246 of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Parker said the process for becoming an officer is rigorous. In addition to other requirements, it includes a written test, psychological test, polygraph test and physical fitness test.

“It takes 30 applicants to find one successful applicant,” Parker said. “We typically hire every qualified individual we can find.”

The department’s current racial makeup — which is about 6 percent Hispanic with the remainder Caucasian — doesn’t reflect the makeup of the community, Parker said. According to the 2010 Census, that makeup is about 6 percent black or African-American, 65 percent white and the remainder identifying from a variety of races or combinations of races.

Parker said that while the department advertises in minority media, people from other backgrounds can over time help increase their race’s representation in the police department by encouraging young people early on to learn what it takes to qualify and work toward those goals.

NAACP President Dony Suttles said when he was in Whitfield County in the 1960s, he recalls only two black officers working for the department.

Diversity within a department can be important because community members often feel more comfortable talking with officers from backgrounds similar to theirs, Parker said. Nationally, only two out of five crimes that occur are reported to police, Parker said. He said victims are often more likely to report crimes if they have a relationship with someone on the force they believe they can trust.

Parker said that’s why the department, since he became chief in 2007, has worked hard to be accessible. A neighborhood policing program allows people to contact an officer assigned to the small area where they live or work so they can talk to that person about non-emergency concerns as they arise. More information is available at daltonpd.com.

The department also contracts with a service that shows a map where crimes are occurring over a designated period of time. That information is available at dpdonline.org and also in The Daily Citizen.

“Dalton is a safe community ... but there’s more to be done,” Parker said. “More often than not, the police are about one-tenth of the solution (to any problem) and the community is about 90 percent of the solution.”

NAACP member at large Antoine Simmons said the meeting, which is the first of several for organization members to meet with various public officials, helped open the door for people to begin addressing any issues they have.

The department’s website has contact information for officers along with ways to file complaints, report crime tips and request information.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • runner thompson.jpg Taking the race back

    Dean Thompson didn’t go 100 yards in his 26.2 miles through the streets of Boston without seeing people on the side of the road cheering for him.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bobby Lee Dixon mg.jpg Officials: Man jailed for driving toward officer

    A Chatsworth man who officials said accelerated a vehicle toward a law enforcement officer who was approaching on foot remains in the Murray County jail without bond.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Charges undetermined following standoff (Updated 5:45 p.m.)

    Police have yet to decide whether to press criminal charges against a man they say was armed and intoxicated while barricading himself in his office at a carpet mill in downtown Dalton Tuesday evening.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Man charged for using fraudulent Social Security card

    A man is being held in the Whitfield County Jail on multiple charges for using a fraudulent Social Security card with someone else’s Social Security number to land a job at a rug manufacturer in Dalton and for providing false information to receive workers’ compensation benefits, according to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s Enforcement Division.

    April 23, 2014

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Police: Four-hour standoff ends with peaceful surrender

    A man who was armed with at least one firearm and believed to be under the influence of alcohol surrendered to police Tuesday night after barricading himself for four hours inside a carpet mill in downtown Dalton, officials said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray deputy bit by drug dog while taking selfie

    A Murray County Sheriff’s Office deputy is recovering after one of the department’s drug dogs bit him in the face on Monday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Local wrestler ‘made everybody smile’

    Rash Renegade got his wrestling nickname after a motorcycle wreck several years ago left him with a bad case of road burn.

    April 23, 2014

  • Pinwheels in murray '14 1 mlh.jpg Awareness can prevent child abuse

    Three hundred forty-six pinwheels dotted the Murray County Courthouse lawn on Tuesday, representing 346 reported cases of child abuse in the county last year.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray library, regional system still far apart

    Murray County officials say they will announce soon if they will follow through with their plan to take the Chatsworth-Murray Library out of the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fire believed to have started outside home

    Investigators are still working to learn what sparked a fire that nearly destroyed a house at 602 Top St. in Dalton on Monday.

    April 22, 2014