APD gets a scolding from judge - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

APD gets a scolding from judge

Trevin Davis was arrested driving the judge's car. (Dougherty Jail photo) Trevin Davis was arrested driving the judge's car. (Dougherty Jail photo)

January 31, 2007

Albany -- A Dougherty County Judge, herself a crime victim, thinks Albany Police need to get their act together.  Probate Judge Nancy Stephenson, says APD didn't do all it could to find the person who stole her car in December.  

Ultimately, it was the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office that solved the crime, and Stephenson says if APD had put out a bulletin on her car, like they should have, it would likely have been found weeks ago.

Dougherty County Probate Court Judge Nancy Stephenson's Honda was stolen from her carport on the night of December 28th, while she and her family were at home.

Stephenson said she was shocked all the crime victims she talked to.  "People in this town are feeling more and more under siege from criminals."

Even though she reported it stolen to Albany Police, as far as she can tell, little or nothing was done to recover it. In fact, she says she was stunned to learn APD didn't even ask other local law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for it.

A few days ago, Stephenson herself asked the Dougherty County Sheriff's office for help and Monday, they found the car, and arrested the man driving it. "The thieves or someone apparently had been driving it around town for more than a month, with our same license tag, and our same Vanderbilt tag on the front end. They didn't even bother to change anything about it."

Albany Police reported the stolen car to the Georgia Crime Information Center, but the only way the other law enforcement officers in town would know it was stolen is if they ran that specific tag number through their computers. "I think the more communication we can have between these agencies and the community, the better off we would be as far as solving crime," said the judge.

Neither Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek nor Sheriff Jamil Saba wanted to go on camera today, but acknowledged they get little lookout information from Albany Police, and would welcome more.  

"We are never going to really make progress with that if people are held back by wanting to make sure they are the ones who get the credit for an arrest,"  said Stephenson.

Stephenson said several other cars had been stolen earlier in her neighborhood, but APD gave them no warning. She says the lack of information from Police is helping criminals.    

"The thieves are operating with absolutely no fear of being caught. They are being bolder and bolder," Stephenson said.

Bolder, she worries, because they know all law enforcement is not working together against them.   Albany Police say they share information of eminent danger with the other law enforcement agencies in town, and feel their cooperation is good.

Judge Stephenson said the people on her block have increased their neighborhood watch program.

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