Golf carts, command center protect Valdosta citizens - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Golf carts, command center protect Valdosta citizens

A mobile command center watches over the Valdosta mall area during the holidays (Source: WALB) A mobile command center watches over the Valdosta mall area during the holidays (Source: WALB)
The center features a camera with a 360 degree view (Source: WALB) The center features a camera with a 360 degree view (Source: WALB)
Officers want shoppers to have a real sense of security (Source: WALB) Officers want shoppers to have a real sense of security (Source: WALB)
Chief Brian Childress (Source: WALB) Chief Brian Childress (Source: WALB)
Officer Sabrina Smith (Source: WALB) Officer Sabrina Smith (Source: WALB)
VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

Many people were up early Black Friday shopping and some shopped all day.

With a lot of people and vehicles out, the Valdosta Police Department said that brings a high risk for crime.

VPD brought out some extra force to make sure your belongings were protected while you shopped. However, that extra protection doesn't look like your normal police car.

"We're using them over here in the mall area and as you can see, looking around, having a great day," said Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress as he drove one of the new police golf carts.

One police golf cart was getting its first day in action. The goal was to show the public that the department is there patrolling.

"We're creating a deterrent and we're looking for things like vehicle break-ins, maybe a shop lifting," explained Chief Childress.

While the golf carts are helpful, they aren't the only way VPD is protecting your belongings.

They also brought out a much bigger vehicle to help, the mobile command center. The command center sits at the back of the mall parking lot and has a security camera sitting above it.

"We have the ability to get a 360 degree view of what goes on in our vicinity," explained Officer Sabrina Smith as she was monitoring the parking lot.

The camera can see much more than just the mall area, it can zoom all the way across the street to Target.

Now, let's say a suspect gets away in a car. Well, the command center can still help.

"The camera is good enough to where I can actually get a tag number," explained Officer Smith. "People are less likely to commit criminal activity when they see us."

The goal is to create a presence that turns criminals away from the area completely.

"People want to feel protected," Chief Childress urged. "They want to feel like they can go shopping on Black Friday and not worry about their car getting broken into."

The police department is working to do just that this holiday season, and protect you and your belongings with cameras and golf carts.

The golf carts and command center will be out patrolling the Valdosta mall area until the end of the holiday season.

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