Wednesday, June 27, 2012

An examination of everything...

This summer the Greenville Police Department will seek re-accrediation under the nationally accepted professional standards of  the Commission for Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies,  also known as CALEA.

Of 18,000 law enforcement agencies across America, only about 728 are nationally accredited.

National accredition is a recognition by its peers that the Greenville Police Department is operating under the best practices available and accepted by the police profession.  It forces a department to adopt and adhere to nationally accepted professional standards.  In summary, accreditation forces a police agency to strive for excellence.

GPD received its first accredited status in 1996.  Accreditation at that time required the department to grow and change aggresively; to move from a small town police department with minimal technology and minimal training to a modern, forward-thinking agency.   Accreditation drove the construction of our current police headquarters, as well as the development of personnel who are better trained and better equipped to address the needs of the community into the 21st Century.

Since that initial accreditation process, the Greenville Police Department has been re-examined several times by the CALEA representatives, and has been re-accredited each time.   National accreditation is valid for 3 years.

As the re-accreditation process get nearer, the public will be asked to provide feedback to the accreditation assessment team, comprised a group of law enforcement professionals from across the nation who will come to Greenville in August and examine our department.

The assessment team will also examine closely all aspects of the department and will interview police officers and elected officials to determine if the department is doing all the things we are supposed to be doing.

Meeting the accreditation standards is not easy, but the benefts to the agency and to the community include a more professional law enforcement agency, a commitment to continual improvement and strategic planning, and a better police force overall, providing for a safer community.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Where the rubber meets the road...

When an emergency call to the police goes out, and the blue lights go on, that is where the training takes over.  Supervisors and senior officers begin directing resources to where they are needed.  Non-essential tasks are put aside.  Decisions are made efficiently and orders are carried out .

It takes a large degree of coordination and teamwork, along with tactical and strategic planning to put the officers in the right place at the right time, and quickly, during an emergency call for service.

The radio communications between officers, the communications center, and the caller must provide for the effective flow of information to on-scene personnel because this is where lives are really at stake.

Police officers and dispatchers are accustomed to doing a lot of so-called "routine" assignments.  But always there is the knowledge in the back of their minds that things can turn deadly serious without a moment's notice. 

Here is a web link to the radio & telephone communications on a recent burglary in progress: 

Anyone who listens to this audio should be able to sense the intensity of the situation.  Officers from A-Platoon responded to this call quickly, and they handled the call professionally and with compassion for the victim.

We are all proud of them. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

"Can we play with the siren?"...

For an inside look at a day (or night) in the life of a police officer,  come ride along with the officers of the Greenville Police Department.

The Citizen Observer Program has been in place for over 20 years and is designed to allow cititzens a chance see what it is like "behind the scenes," so to speak.  This ride-along program should provide you with valuable insight into the line operations of the Greenville Police Department.  It will be informative and enjoyable.

Participants in this ride-along program will be assigned to ride with a patrol officer on a wide variety of calls for service.  Most ride-alongs last for about 4-5 hours.  You will have a chance to see what goes on each day or night in your city, and how the officers of the Greenville Police Department are working to keep our community safe.

If you are interested in going on a ride-along,  just contact the Greenville Police Department  at 329-4315,  or come by an complete an application form.  Sorry, but criminals need not apply.  A background check will be conducted on you, just to make sure you are one of the good guys, and once approved, you will be informed when you can ride.

We ask that you come neatly dressed.  No jeans allowed.  You cannot bring your camera or tape recorder, and you will have to sign a release. 

The officers you ride with will be happy to discuss their duties and responsibilities, and just about anything else you want to talk about.  And, while every effort will be made to provide for your safety, the police officer's first responsibility will be to carry out their assigned duties. You will be required to sign a liability waiver.  Remember, law enforcement can inolve danger and serious risks.   You will not be permitted to leave the patrol car at the scene of any police calls.  As they say at Busch-Gardens, "Keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times."

If you want to see what policing on the streets is really all about, come ride with us. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Do you know where your children are...

Back in the 1970s, there was a TV Public Service Announcement that went simply, "It's 11:00, do you know where your children are?"

Now that summertime is officially here, and since it doesn't even get dark until after 8:30 pm, it might be good time now to remind folks that the City of Greenville does have a curfew for juveniles under the age of  16.

Inside the city limits, it is unlawful for any juvenile less than 16 years old to be out on the public streets, or in any public place, at night after 11:00 pm, Sunday through Thursday nights.  A juvenile under 16 may not be in any public place after 12:00 am on Friday and Saturday nights.  The curfew is effective until 6:00 am each day.

This curfew ordinance was adopted by the Greenville City Council In September 2008.
At the time of its adoption into law, the City had determined that there had been a recent increase in juvenile violence and juvenile gang and crime activity.   Since becoming law, there have been about 20 curfew violations documented in case reports.

There are a number of exceptions to this ordinance.  Here are just a few:  A juvenile may be in the company of a parent or guardian, or other adult at least 18 years old.  The juvenile may be traveling to or from school, work, church, or some other place, or the juvenile may be participating in some other extracurricular activities recognized by the ordinance.

Whenever a police officer encounters a juvenile out after curfew hours, the officer is required to determine why the juvenile is out  and to notifiy the parents of the juvenile.  The officer may have to take the juvenile into custody for safekeeping if no parent or guardian can be located.

A juvenile who is in violation of this curfew may face court penalties, and be declared a deliquent.  Parents may be fined and held civilly liable, too.

The goal of this curfew isn't to punish juveniles or parents.  Rather it is intended to protect young people, to keep them safe, and to keep them from making mistakes that could affect them in very negative ways.

Getting back to that old TV announcement from the 1970s,  Here is a modern take:


Monday, June 18, 2012

One night in your neighborhood...

For many years the Greenville Police Department has sponsored a NATIONAL NIGHT OUT event at the Greenville Town Commons.  In 2012, we are going back to the original NATIONAL NIGHT OUT model as it was conceived by the National Association of Town Watch.   Rather than being a single event, NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is intended to be a series of more intimate, neighborhood-focused events, spread across the city.   Police officers will be visiting these events for participating neighborhoods. 

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT 2012  is scheduled for August 7, 2012.  NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is a collection of events happening in local neighborhoods all across America on this special day.  NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is designed to reconnect friends and neighbors and strengthen neighborhood spirit against crime and criminal activity. 

Whether it is a block party,  a neighborhood picnic, an organized flashlight walk, or simply visiting friends in the front yard,  National Night Out 2012 is meant to be a local event focused on making your neighborhood safer.

How do you participate?  It’s very simple, and your neighborhood watch group can make a positive impact in an inexpensive way.  Organize a neighborhood walk.  Sponsor a small cookout.  Have a street party, or just pull up a lawn chair and visit.  You will have a chance to meet your area police officers.  Your National Night Out event does not have to be expensive or complicated.

Representatives from the Greenville Police Department will be attending National Night Out activities all across the City.  If your neighborhood chooses to participate, let us know and we’ll be there.

By attending a National Night Out event in your local neighborhood, you can show others that you are committed to making your street,  your block,  and your neighborhood a safer place to live.

Your NATIONAL NIGHT OUT 2012 Coordinator is Lieutenant Edward Carson.  You can call Lt. Carson at the Greenville Police Department at 329-4373.

Please visit the NATIONAL NIGHT OUT website for more information:     You can also register with the National Association of Town Watch and receive organizing kits, activity ideas, community watch tips, and other pieces of helpful information to get started.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mountains or beach...

Summer is here and its time for a vacation getaway.  Before you go, however,  call the Greenville Police Department and let us know...

One of services offered by the Greenville Police Department is the Vacation House Check.   Before you go out of town,  call the police department and request this service.   You'll be asked to provide some basic information such as:
  • How many days will you be away?
  • Is there an emergency contact person we can call if we need to?
  • Does someone nearby have an extra set of keys
A Community Services Represntative will ask you some other questions and then complete a house check form for you and assign the house check to the proper area officer or police volunteer.  You can do all this over the telephone. 

Then while you are gone,  someone will stop by your home periodically and conduct a physical  inspection, making sure your windows and doors are secure,  your garage is locked, etc...

This is one of the most under-utilized services our department offers, and it is also one of the best services for providing peace of mind for residents while they are away from home.

The next time you're going on vacation, or anytime you need to leave for several days,  Call the Greenville Police Department at 252-329-4315.  Request a Vacation House Check.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer re-runs, already...

The Greenville Police Department again is requesting help from the community to solve a recent series of car break-ins, this time from the area of South Square Drive Apartments, near Pitt Community College.

Since June 10 there have been 19 car break-ins reported in the City of Greenville, and 14 of these occurred near the area of South Square Apartments.   In every case reported in this area, the victim’s cars were left unlocked.
Crime prevention is everybody’s business.  Taking away a criminal’s opportunity to steal is the most effective method for preventing crime.

The Greenville Police Department wants everyone to be aware that car break-ins can occur anyplace and any time.  Virtually any article left in plain view is apt to be stolen.  Most property stolen is left in plain view where anyone walking by the car can see it lying there.

Taking a few common sense steps can help you avoid being a victim of a car break-in.  Here are some safety tips for protecting your car and the valuables inside, while parking your car in a public or private driveway or parking lot:
  • Always roll up your windows and lock your car, even if it is in front of your home.
  • Never leave valuables item or even loose change in plain view, even if your car is locked. This is the number one reason cars are broken into. Put your valuable items in the trunk out of sight. This includes empty book-bags, purses, or luggage that may appear to contain valuables.
  • Park your car in a busy, well-lighted area whenever possible.
  • Consider subscribing to a GPS tracking system, in case your car does get stolen, it can be tracked and recovered quickly by law enforcement.
  • Consider using a steering column lock or an anti-theft alarm system when leaving your car parked.
  • Be a good neighbor.  Report suspicious people in your neighborhood or business parking lot to the police.  Use the buddy system and watch your neighbor’s home.
  • Never leave your keys in the car or ignition.
  • Use outside lights around your home at night.  Motion sensors work great.
It generally takes just a few seconds to secure your valuables, but it will take only a few seconds more for a thief to break in and steal valuables left in plain sight. 

Do your part by taking preventive action and spreading the word. You can make a difference.

Don't make me have to say this again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bean counters with a badge...

The GPD Financial Crimes Unit consists of 3 detectives who investigate "white collar" crimes such as Fraud & Forgery,  I.D. Thefts, Embezzlement, and Internet Fraud, among many other types of crimes.    These detectives work closely with banks and insurance companies, as well as other businesses who process financial records in order to track and record money transactions for victims.

Internet fraud is a particularly fascinating category of crimes and our detectives focus primarily on cases where the suspect is operating in Greenville and defrauding victims around the world.

In at least one case, our detectives assisted a victim from as far away as Australia...and I don't think it can get further away than that.

Most recently our detectives completed an investigation of an internet fraud where Dell Computer Corporation was the victim of approximately $720,000 in fraudulent equipment exchanges and thefts.  The 5 suspects are based here in Greenville.

More common offenses include basic forgery & uttering of  stolen checks, and fruadulent use of credit & debit cards.  In these cases, as in most financial crimes cases,  detectives are required to obtain a small mountain of documentary evidence.  This requires subpoenas to be served on each of the institutions affected in order to provide for the release of records.  This process often takes several months to service and obtain a reply to requests for information and records.

Financial crimes are considered non-violent crimes and often the punishments for committing these offenses is much less than that for things like armed robbery or burglary.

Our detectives are patient, but persistent.  They handle a large case load effeciently, and do a great job for their victims.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On child predators...

The Greenville Police Department continues to be an active member of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program. The ICAC Task Force Program helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases.

The ICAC Program is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces. This Program consists of a national network of state and local agencies dedicated to developing effective responses to the online enticement of children by sexual predators, child exploitation, and child obscenity and pornography cases.

The National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program is dedicated to increasing the investigative capabilities of State and local law enforcement officers and prosecutors in the detection and investigation of internet crimes offenses against children.  ICAC is dedicated to the identification and apprehension of offenders, especially those including technology-facilitated child exploitation offenses.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Little known facts...

Very few people know that whenever a non-citizen of this country is arrested, he must be given the opportunity to notifiy his country's Consul to the United States.  A police officer must advise the arrestee of that right and ask them if they want the police to contact their consulate.   

In some other cases,  the officer is required to contact the consulate, regardless of the desires of the arrestee.  There are about 56 countries which by treaty require US law enforcement officers to make Consular notification whenever one of their citizens is arrested in the United States. ( Albania, Belarus, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and the United Kingdom are some, just to name a few.)

One of the first questions a police officer should ask a person whom he suspects is not a US Citizen, is "Are you a U.S. Citizen?"   The Greenville Police Department maintains a list with the telephone numbers and cities of every Consular Office in America, so that the officer can call that Consul and notifiy someone there that one of their citizens has been arrested by the Greenville NC Police Department.

In some cases,  Consular offices may provide legal assistance to the defendant.  They may assist with family issues, or may even visit the defendant to make a determination about the nature of their arrest.

Every year police officers receive a brief refresher training lesson about this requirement for Consular Notification.  The US State Department provides every police department with a summary of the law, as well as small index cards for the officers. These index cards summarize the required procedures and they list those countries that require Consular Notification.

It's just one more detail every police officer must remember in the course of doing their jobs.


Friday, June 1, 2012

That's a lot of saran wrap...

On Friday June 1, 2012 the Greenville Regional Drug Task Force, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit, and DEA Raleigh concluded a 5 month long Marijuana Trafficking Investigation. The investigation led to the recovery of 122 lbs. of marijuana. The arrests and seizures were made at the intersection of Memorial Dr. and Stantonsburg Rd. at approximately 7:30 am.  The following subjects were arrested:

  • Filiberto Cobarrubias-Herrera, 38 years old, Mebane, N.C.
  • Angel Aguirre Luna, 47 years old, Burlington,  N.C.
The Goldsboro Police Department and Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in the investigation.  Today’s arrest and seizure is not connected to the seizure of marijuana on May 31, 2012.  Members of the Greenville Regional Drug Task Force include the Greenville Police Department, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, the State Bureau of Investigation and the Farmville Police Department.

122 pounds of marijuana seized by the Drug Task Force