WALB’s own attends GBI Media Day

WALB’s own attends GBI Media Day
Two of WALB's own attended the GBI Media Day. (Source: walb)

DECATUR, Ga. (WALB) - WALB’s Asia Wilson and Emileigh Forrester went to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) Media Day in Decatur Wednesday.

While there, they talked to the newly named director of the GBI, talked to crime scene and bomb technicians and more.

GBI combating crimes with high-end technologies:

Forensic investigators said as technology advances, so are they. The GBI is using more high-tech digital devices and incorporating them at all of their field offices across the state.

During the GBI Media Day, WALB got an exclusive look at high-end technology in the crime scene annex and bomb disposal units.

Crime scene investigators said the GBI recently started using drones at scenes to get a bigger picture of what happened for their investigation. Those drones are now being used at the 15 field offices in Georgia.

Investigators also said the use of 3D digital scanners, bomb robots and other devices are helping them identify and solve crimes in 159 counties.

"A team of agents, crime scene specialists that specialize in child abuse specialties, elder abuse specialties, child exploitation, things of that nature,” Scott Dutton, GBI Investigating Division deputy director, said.

The GBI has 400 employees in the forensics division and over 200 of those are agents.

GBI Media Day: True Allele DNA testing in GA

True Allele DNA testing in Georgia:

Investigators are saying it’s an exciting time for the GBI when it comes to True Allele DNA testing.

GBI officials said agents have already used the method and have seen success. Some of the cases have been in Southwest Georgia.

Leaders at the GBI Media Day praised the new scientific method as a new technique for the state.

The new process is a DNA interpretation software allowing crime analysts to separate multiple matches and pinpoint criminals more quickly.

Kathy Lee, the GBI Crime Lab director, said there’s been several hearings this year that have used True Allele.

In fact, prosecutors have already used this method in the Tara Grinstead case.

Earlier this year, there was also a hearing in Bainbridge where the method was used in the Herbert Moore case. He worked for the Post Searchlight newspaper and was killed.

“But we’ve had Harper hearings, we’ve had Daubert hearings and they have been very successful," Lee said. "So you may be hearing more about True Allele.”

GBI officials said for the first time ever, Georgia will use this as a way to support DNA results.

GBI Media Day: Fighting crimes against children

GBI fighting crimes against children:

Vic Reynolds, the newly appointed director of the GBI, said the agency is taking an aggressive stance in fighting crimes against children.

Vic Reynolds, GBI director
Vic Reynolds, GBI director (Source: walb)

GBI leaders said it’s a team effort to keep children from becoming victims and one of their most recent operations proved just that.

PRESS CONFERENCE—with newly appointed GBI Director, Vic Reynolds. He is discussing street gangs and gun violence! The director says this is a huge problem in rural Georgia, and they are working closely with law enforcement agencies and prosecutors across the state to combat this issue. WALB News 10 #GBIMEDIADAY

Posted by Asia Wilson WALB on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Operation background:

Law enforcement across the southeast wrapped up Operation Southern Impact in May. They arrested 82 people in the child sex sting. More than 30 of those in Georgia. That included Willie Slaughter, a military veteran in Valdosta. He’s charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children.

Reynolds said their work with 10 other internet crimes against children, or ICAC, units in the region paid off.

“I think the most important part of that, we actually rescued 17 children who were being exploited or abused in some fashion,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said the ICAC team in Georgia stands out among the crowd when it comes to protecting kids.

Crews are still building the GBI’s new cyber center in Augusta, but top GBI officials said cyber staff members are already working to stop child pornography and enticement.

GBI Media Day: GBI director aims to take down gangs

GBI director aims to take down gangs:

Reynolds also said street gangs are a problem across Georgia in urban, suburban and rural areas.

He even called it an epidemic in some of those areas. He believes that at least 71,000 Georgians are in street gangs.

Towards the end of the meeting he mentioned how his entire division will work closely with prosecutors and all law enforcement agencies across the state.

Reynolds ensured a key priority will be the tackling of gangs as part of the Criminal Street Gang Act. He also said that they look intensively at gangs in schools.

He also said he will visit each of the field officers across the state to explore all issues in each of those areas.

Throughout the day, directors from other divisions spoke about the work being done in each of their departments.

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