Friday, May 29, 2009

Call for Nominations 2008 - 2009 Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

/PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs is accepting nominations beginning today for the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor, the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer. The medal is awarded by the President to public safety officers cited by the Attorney General who have exhibited exceptional courage in protecting or saving lives.

WHAT: 2008-2009 Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Nominations
Online Form at

NOMINATION PERIOD: May 29 to 8:00 PM, EDT, July 31, 2009

CRITERIA: Acts of Valor performed from June 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009 by public safety officers nominated by the chief executive of their employing agencies

REFERENCES: Additional information about the Medal of Valor and those honored for their acts of courage is available on the Medal of Valor website at

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Former Polk County Jail Sergeant Charged with Using Excessive Force

JOSHUA DAVID LOWE, 25, of Aragon, Georgia, a former sergeant at the Polk County Jail, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on a felony charge of using excessive force against an inmate. LOWE is scheduled to make an initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson in Rome on Monday, June 1, 2009, at 10 a.m.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “The great majority of Georgia’s detention officers serve with honor and courage, often under trying circumstances as they guard the inmates in our jails and prisons. But any officers who abuse their authority by violently assaulting inmates violate the Constitution and face going to prison as inmates.”

Polk County Sheriff Kelly McClendon said, “This type of behavior will not be tolerated in Polk County. We will aggressively deal with it in the most effective and appropriate manner, so that justice will be done.”

According to United States Attorney Nahmias, the indictment, and information in court: On February 7, 2009, LOWE, working as a detention officer, allegedly used excessive force when he struck an inmate at the Polk County Jail. The indictment alleges that this assault violated the inmate’s constitutional right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law. The Polk County Sheriff’s Department discovered the alleged violation and immediately reported it to the FBI for further investigation. LOWE was terminated as a result of the incident.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Armored Truck Employee Indicted for Role in Armed Robbery

DESMOND COOPER, 26, of Duluth, Georgia was arrested May 22 on an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on May 19, 2009. COOPER is charged with one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of possessing a firearm during the commission of a violent felony. COOPER had his initial appearance and arraignment today before United States Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker. A detention hearing for COOPER has been scheduled for May 28, 2009, at 11 a.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker. Another defendant named in the indictment, CRAIG CARROLL, is also charged with one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of possessing a firearm during the commission of a violent felony and is currently in the Gwinnett County Jail.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “Today’s arrest shows that the FBI and local law enforcement agencies remain committed to investigating armed robberies in our community and bringing those responsible to justice.”

According to United States Attorney Nahmias, the indictment, and the information presented in court: On May 31, 2007, COOPER was the driver of an armored security truck when it was robbed during a scheduled delivery to a check cashing facility in Tucker, Georgia. During the armed robbery, co-defendant CRAIG CARROLL allegedly robbed the armored truck while brandishing a handgun and threatening to kill an armored truck employee. CARROLL fled the scene with United States currency. Subsequent investigation by the FBI and Bibb County Police Department revealed that COOPER and CARROLL allegedly planned the May 31, 2007, armored truck robbery with COOPER providing CARROLL with details of the armored truck’s delivery route.

The indictment charges one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a violent felony. The charges carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine up to $500,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the FBI.

Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Jackson is prosecuting the case.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.


Currency Fund Manager Pleads Guilty to Perpetrating Ponzi Scheme

JAMES G. OSSIE, 48, of Atlanta, pleaded guilty May 21 in federal district court to a wire fraud scheme involving the operations of his foreign exchange trading firm, CRE Capital.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “This defendant operated a major investment fraud scheme that defrauded more than 100 victims out of more than $25 million dollars in only nine months. Those caught preying on the investing public in this way will find themselves facing long terms in federal prison.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Gregory Jones stated: “The damage done by this fraudulent investment scheme is extensive, leaving a trail of victims in its wake. These victim investors placed their trust in Mr. Ossie and now are literally paying for this misplaced trust. Today’s guilty plea serves once again as an example of how these ponzi schemes are not sustainable and that those that engage in these types of fraudulent schemes will ultimately be held accountable.”

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and other information presented in court: OSSIE and CRE Capital operated an investment fund for private clients focused on options contracts in foreign currencies. The fund operated from approximately April 2008 into January 2009, when it was shut down by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).

OSSIE and CRE offered investment contracts, in amounts of at least $100,000, that guaranteed the return of an investor’s deposit plus 10% interest within just 30 days. OSSIE claimed to be able to pay such substantial monthly returns because he typically made even more than that through his trading activity. He also claimed that his trading profits allowed him to fund a substantial cash “reserve fund” sufficient to re-pay all investors their deposit plus 10% monthly profit, in case the market deteriorated. OSSIE told investors that CRE Capital even hired outside accountants, or auditors, who reviewed and confirmed the accuracy of the numbers. OSSIE made these representations directly to individual investors, through salespersons known as “correspondents,” through the CRE Capital website, and in numerous mass conference calls involving groups of investors and prospective investors.

However, these were all lies. Instead of making profits sufficient to pay 10% monthly returns and fund a “reserve” account, OSSIE lost millions of dollars. Indeed, during CRE’s 9-month lifespan, the firm lost over $12 million in its foreign currency trading accounts. Moreover, there was no “reserve” account sufficient to repay investors. For example, by the end of 2008, CRE owed over $23 million in pending investment contracts but only had just over $2 million deposited in all of its bank and trading accounts combined. Although CRE hired outside accountants for limited projects, OSSIE did not allow any access to the records of the trading accounts that would have revealed his substantial losses.

Thus, because he was making no profits, OSSIE was only able to re-pay investors their deposits and guaranteed 10% returns through what is referred to as a “Ponzi” scheme. Specifically, OSSIE paid his debts to existing investors with money recently invested by new investors. When the time came to pay the returns promised to the new investors, OSSIE would recruit more investments from still newer investors. This unsustainable scheme was identified and shut down by the SEC in January 2009. In the meantime, OSSIE had raised over $25 million from over 120 investors, approximately half of which was lost in unsuccessful currency trading. The investors were from all over the United States, including many from Georgia, California, South Carolina and Texas.

OSSIE was indicted in March 2009 on 15 counts of wire fraud. He pleaded guilty to one count today, although he agreed that the facts underlying his entire scheme will be relevant for sentencing purposes. He could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 30, 2009, at 9:30 a.m., before United States District Judge William S. Duffey, Jr.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The SEC and Commodities Futures Trade Commission (CFTC) have also both brought civil enforcement actions against the Defendant based on violations of federal anti-fraud securities and commodities laws.

Columbus Lawyer Charged in 40 Count Indictment

Joseph D. Newman, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Macon, Georgia returned a forty-count indictment against Columbus attorney, John Mark Shelnutt, age 46. He was charged with Conspiracy to Launder Money in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h), Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 1956, Aiding and Abetting a Cocaine Conspiracy, in violation of Title 21 United States Code, Section 846, Attempted Bribery of a Federal Official, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 201, Witness Tampering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512, Failure to File Cash Reporting Forms, in violation of Title 31, United States Code, Section 5331, and Making False Statements to an FBI Agent, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001.

Newman, who is Acting U.S. Attorney on this particular case, stated that the indictment stems from a lengthy investigation of the Torrance Hill drug organization which operated in Columbus between 2004 - 2006. In that case, DEA agents seized over 270 kilograms of cocaine and more than $740,000 in cash. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia prosecuted the case against Hill and his conspirators, but recused their office from the current case due to a conflict.

The indictment charges that beginning in 2005 and continuing until 2008, Shelnutt participated in a conspiracy to launder proceeds of Hill’s drug organization. He is also charged with directly aiding and abetting Hill’s drug organization. Shelnutt was also charged in 31 substantive counts of money laundering, three counts of false statement, two counts of failure to file cash reporting forms, one count of attempted bribery, and one count of witness tampering. If convicted of the drug conspiracy charges, Shelnutt faces a statutory penalty of 10 years to life imprisonment and a $4 million fine. If convicted on the money laundering charges, Shelnutt faces a statutory penalty of up to 20 years and a fine of $500,000 on each count. Newman stressed that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by the Columbus, Georgia Offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commended the agents that worked on this long-running investigation. Benson stated, “This investigation would not have been possible without the cooperation of the various participating agencies. This indictment demonstrates that no one is above the law."

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fayette: PTC Police Hold Teen CERT "Summer Camp"

The Peachtree City Police Department will be hosting a Teen Community Emergency Response Team (TEEN CERT) “summer camp” the week of July 13 to July 17th.

The summer camp will be held daily from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The TEEN CERT Program educates young adults about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.

Prospective candidates must be between 14 and 17 years of age at the time of registration and a resident of Georgia. Applicants will be required to complete an enrollment form and applicable waivers. The application and waivers must be signed by a parent or legal guardian. A local check will be conducted to determine the background of the participants as a pre-condition to acceptance into the program.

There is no charge to attend this class; however, the class size will be limited to 14 participants. A meeting with the parents/legal guardians of those admitted into the program will be held prior to the first class.

More information about the TEEN CERT can be obtained by visiting the police department’s web site at (click on the CERT link) or by calling 770-487-8866.

Application forms are available online, or may be obtained from the library, city hall, police department and various other locations throughout the City.

The application deadline is June 30th, 2009.
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fayette: Sheriff's Office Offers Internet Safety Courses

The Fayette County Sheriff's Office is pleased to announce several educational opportunities that will be available during the summer. The Sheriff's Office will be offering three courses pertaining to Internet Safety: Internet Safety for Parents, The New Hangout: Social Networking, and Internet Safety for Senior Citizens. All courses are free to the public; however, there are limited seating. If you are interested, contact Investigator Spencer at (770) 716-4999 Ext. 1906 or to register for the course(s).

Course Dates/Times:

Internet Safety for Parents:
June 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm
June 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm
July 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm
July 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm

The New Hangout: Social Networking
June 18, 2009 at 6:30 pm
June 29, 2009 at 5:00 pm
July 14, 2009 at 2:30 pm
July 14, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Internet Safety for Senior Citizen's
June 18, 2009 at 1:30 pm
June 29, 2009 at 1:30 pm
July 14, 2009 at 10:30 am
July 14, 2009 at 6:00 pm

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Amber Alert / Levi's Call Issued for 10-yr old in Georgia

The State of Georgia issued the Amber Alert on Friday afternoon (05-22) after the child was reportedly abducted in College Park earlier in the day. The child is believed to be in extreme danger. Police believe they may be headed to Mississippi.

Kaylen Francis Johnson a 10 year old Black female, 3' 9", 70 pounds with brown eyes and sandy brown hair. She was last seen wearing a pink plaid skirt, pink shirt and gold sandals.

The suspect is Malissa C Johnson, a Black female, 30 years old, 5' 6", 180 pounds with dyed red hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a a black shirt with diamonds and a design.

The suspect vehicle is a green 2003 Dodge Stratus with Georgia tag number BFJ8799.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Fulton County School Police Department at 404-867-3468 or dial 911. More information may be available at

Clayton State Office of Public Safety Adds Former Olympian Gregory Meghoo to Campus Police Force

Gregory Meghoo (Newnan) recently joined the Clayton State University Office of Public Safety police staff.

Prior to working for the University, Meghoo worked for the Fulton County School District and MARTA Police transit. Meghoo was also on the Jamaican 4x100 relay team that won the silver medal in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles… his team was defeated by a U.S. team anchored by Carl Lewis.

Meghoo is enthusiastic about his future with Clayton State University. He decided to come to Clayton State because he wanted a different experience in policing.

“I wanted to do something different, in a larger community,” he says. “Training in the University setting has been good because it’s a very mature setting.”

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Contractor Living in Marietta, Georgia Charged with Defrauding Cincinnati Leasing Company Out of More Than $1.6 Million

A federal grand jury in Cincinnati on May 20, 2009, indicted Vernon Menifee, 39, of Marietta, Georgia alleging that the contractor defrauded Cincinnati-based Schottco Corporation and Schott Leasing Company out of $1,686,647.30 between 2006 and 2008, United States Attorney Gregory G. Lockhart of the Southern District of Ohio and Keith L. Bennett, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division announced.

Menifee allegedly claimed that he needed the money to complete construction projects for Hurricane Katrina victims. The projects were never finished and he used at least part of the money to open a bar here.

In 2006, Menifee lived in Georgia and owned a construction business in Cincinnati called Built By Brothers. Some of the construction work was located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Menifee leased construction vehicles and luxury cars from Schott Leasing Company, a subsidiary of Schottco Corp. The indictment alleges that, through a personal associate who worked for Schottco, Menifee set up a wire fraud scheme to transfer money from the company’s accounts to his personal accounts.

The indictment also charges that Menifee committed mortgage fraud when he made several false statements including falsely claiming that there were no pending judgments against him when he applied to Countrywide in 2007 for a loan connected with his property in Marietta, Georgia. In September 2006, the U.S. District Court here had ordered him to pay restitution of $895,872 as part of his sentence for conviction on tax evasion and bank fraud charges in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme.

The indictment charges Menifee with 44 counts of aiding and abetting wire fraud, each of which has a maximum possible sentence of 20 years imprisonment. The indictment also charges one count of conspiracy to commit loan fraud, which is punishable by up to five years imprisonment, and one count of making false statements on a loan application, punishable by up to 30 years imprisonment.

Local law enforcement authorities in Georgia arrested Menifee in Marietta on April 10 for violating the conditions of his supervised release. He has been in custody since his arrest.

Lockhart commended the FBI agents who investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer C. Barry, who is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant should be presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Piedmont Fayette Hospital Recognizes Local Emergency Medical Services Team

National EMS Week is May 17-23

On the heels of last week’s ceremony where Piedmont Healthcare thanked the Fayette County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team for their quick response and life-saving actions, Piedmont Fayette Hospital is now recognizing the hard work of their EMS partners during National EMS Week.

“National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week brings together local communities and medical personnel to honor the dedication of those who provide services of medicine's ‘front line,’” says Darrell Cutts, president and CEO of Piedmont Fayette Hospital. “During an emergency, they often play a critical role in saving a life, our community would be at a loss without them.”

Emergency Medical Services technicians are those dedicated to providing out-of-hospital acute medical care and/or transport to definitive care for patients with illnesses and injuries deemed as medical emergencies. EMS specialists range from first responders and ambulance teams to paramedics.

“Partnership with local Emergency Medical Services teams allows lives to be saved every day within record time,” says Cutts. “The transition from the scene of the emergency to the hospital is seamless and it’s incredible what these specialists can do in the time frame allotted to them.”

On Monday, May 4, Piedmont Healthcare representatives publicly thanked the professionals of the Fayette County Department of Fire and Emergency Services (EMS) for their commitment to excellence and congratulated them on the record-breaking response time that saved the life of Ramzan Batliwala of Fayetteville.

As a token of their appreciation, physicians and staff from Piedmont Heart Institute, Piedmont Hospital and Piedmont Fayette Hospital signed and presented Fayette County EMS representatives with an oversized thank you card that read: “Thank you, Fayette County Department of Fire and Emergency Services! Thank you for being an extension of the Piedmont Promise – to do everything in our power to make you well and keep you well. We appreciate your commitment to excellence in emergency medical services to the Fayette County community.”

To learn more about Piedmont Fayette Hospital, please visit
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Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola to Host Family Safety Day

Recognizing everyday heroes and promoting safety awareness

In an effort to educate the community and celebrate the work of our everyday heroes, the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola are partnering to recognize our Everyday Heroes with a celebration in Pemberton Place on May 30, 2009. With a special focus on child safety, the event will aim to educate families about various safety issues. The event will cover a wide range of displays and activities including:

· A fire engine, fire safety house, Striker rapid intervention vehicle and HERO unit
· Informational booths including an accident simulation booth, infant and child car seat information booth, smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector booths and interactive water safety program presented by Safe Kids Georgia
· Complimentary fire truck rides from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. courtesy of Red Hot Fire Truck Events, LLC and complimentary McGruff Safe Kids ID Kits provided by ADT
· Service personnel on-site including a horse-mounted officer, K-9 unit and more
· Giveaways include a limited number of first aid kits, flashlights, carbon monoxide and smoke alarms and samples of Coca-Cola products
· Appearances by Atlanta-area mascots including Deepo, Thrash (Atlanta Thrashers), Harry the Hawk and SkyHawk (Atlanta Hawks), Chopper (Gwinnett Braves), Star (WNBA Atlanta Dream) and special guest, McGruff the Crime Dog

In appreciation of their services, the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola will also offer discounted admission rates for service personnel, law enforcement and their families May 23 – 31.

Saturday, May 30, 2009 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Pemberton Place
Georgia Aquarium World of Coca-Cola
225 Baker St. NW 121 Baker St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30313 Atlanta, GA 30313

Starting May 23-31, show a service-oriented ID or badge (police, fire, EMS, HERO, etc.) at the Aquarium entrance, and purchase discounted tickets for personnel and family for only $20. Tickets may be purchased at the door, online at or by calling 404.581.4000.

Starting May 23-31, show a service-oriented ID or badge (police, fire, EMS, HERO, etc.) at the World of Coca-Cola Ticket Booth, and purchase up to six discounted tickets for family and friends. Discounted pricing is as follows: Adults (age 13-64) $13, Seniors (age 65+) $11, Youth (age 3-12) $8 and children age 2 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets may only be purchased at the ticket booth.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Former Home Depot “Product Merchant” Pleads Guilty

RONALD DOUGLASS MATHENY II, 42, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Richard W. Story to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in relation to a scheme to defraud his former employer, Home Depot.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “This defendant abused the trust and authority given to him by his employer and lined his own pockets at the company’s expense. For this fraud against his employer, he will now face a federal prison sentence.”

“Consumers pay the ultimate price when corporate executives take kickbacks and try to thwart the competitive process,” said Christine A. Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Antitrust Division. “The Antitrust Division is committed to bringing to justice those who engage in kickbacks and other anticompetitive schemes.”

IRS Special Agent In Charge Reginael D. McDaniel said: “It is vital for the strength of our economy for our large corporations to be free of individuals who succumb to greed and corruption. IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to actively pursuing corporate fraud at any level.”

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and information presented in court: MATHENY was employed by Home Depot from May 1987 until July 2007. From May 2002 through April 2005, MATHENY held the position of Product Merchant in Home Depot’s Flooring Department and was responsible for overseeing the location of flooring merchandise in all of Home Depot’s retail stores and for locating outside firms to facilitate the display of flooring products within those stores. MATHENY and several unnamed co-conspirators arranged for Home Depot to purchase items for resale in Home Depot’s retail stores on less than the most advantageous terms to Home Depot, and to have the co-conspirators supply services on less than the most advantageous terms to Home Depot. In return, MATHENY’S co-conspirators paid him approximately $1,471,467.64. MATHENY is no longer employed by Home Depot.

MATHENY could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on the conspiracy to commit money laundering. MATHENY also could be fined up to $250,000 on each count. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

MATHENY is scheduled to be sentenced on August 3, 2009, at 2:30 p.m., before United States District Judge Richard W. Story.

Anyone with information on corporate kickbacks and fraud is asked to call the FBI at 404-679-9000.

This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Anti-Child Prostitution Campaign Says Actions by Craigslist 'Not Enough'

/PRNewswire/ -- A Future, Not A Past--the campaign to stop the prostitution of children in Georgia--believes Craigslist is not doing enough to stop the use of its service by pimps to sell sex with children, it's campaign director said today.

"Somewhere in Atlanta tonight, a child will be prostituted because Craigslist refuses to immediately pull the plug on ads that make the exploitation of the child possible. Craigslist has reportedly said such ads will remain on their site until they expire next Wednesday. As if protecting our children should be governed by an expiration date. That's not good enough for the children of Georgia, or any state in the country," Kaffie McCullough, the campaign's director said.

Ms. McCullough said the campaign has research indicating that almost half of child prostitution in Atlanta occurs through ads placed on Craigslist.

"One key element of stamping out child prostitution and the sexual exploitation of young girls is to disrupt a pimp's ability to find customers. Our research shows that Craigslist has, as a matter of simple fact, been a critical link in the chain between the John, the pimp and the child prostitute," Ms. McCullough said.

Spearheaded by the Juvenile Justice Fund, A Future, Not A Past is a statewide campaign to stop the prostitution of girls in Georgia by building a barrier between children and those who seek to harm them through commercial sexual exploitation.

The campaign is addressing child prostitution in the state through a four-tiered strategy of research, prevention, intervention and education.

Craigslist has announced it will eliminate the "Erotic Services" category, replacing it with a new adult category of online classifieds that are to be reviewed by the Web site's employees.

Ms. McCullough says that alone is not enough.

"We are pleased that Craigslist has taken this step. This is a start, but it is only a start," Kaffie McCullough, the campaign's director said.

Ms. McCullough said the latest research by A Future, Not A Past shows 200 adolescent girls were advertised for sex on Atlanta's Craigslist site in February of this year--the highest number reported since the campaign started studying the site in August of 2007.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fugitive from Virginia State Prison System on the Run 27 Years—Living Most of Those 27 Years in North Georgia Community—Arrested this Week

Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Gregory Jones, FBI Atlanta, announces, on behalf of the Conasauga Safe Streets Task Force, the arrest May 13 of Richard Boucher, age 56, of Eton (Murray County), Georgia, on federal unlawful flight/fugitive charges stemming from his 1982 escape from a Virginia Department of Corrections Prison in Chesapeake, VA.

Boucher, utilizing the alias name of Eric Coleman, had been living in Murray County, Georgia for most of the last 27 years. He was serving a 10-year sentence for robbery at the time of his escape. Arrested with Boucher was his wife, Debbie Boucher, age 53, who was utilizing the alias name of Debbie Coleman. Both were arrested without incident at their residence at Eton, GA.

Boucher is currently being housed at the Whitfield County, Georgia Detention Facility where he is being held on Whitfield County and Murray County state charges, noting that Murray County officials have charged Boucher with “felon in possession of a firearm” in that a rifle was recovered from his residence incident to arrest. Boucher will await extradition proceedings in order to be returned to Virginia regarding escape related charges.

The Conasauga Safe Streets Task Force includes agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), officers of the Calhoun Police Department, Dalton Police Department, and the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office.

The public is reminded that all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Bremen Man Charged with Operating $7 Million Investment Scam

JEFFREY WALLACE “J.W.” EDWARDS, 43, of Bremen, Georgia, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering in connection with an alleged $7 million fraud scheme. EDWARDS was arrested this morning and has made an initial appearance before a federal magistrate. EDWARDS is scheduled to have his bond hearing before United States Magistrate Judge Linda Walker on Monday, May 18, at 10:00 a.m. The indictment had been sealed until his first court appearance.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “In this latest chapter in the long book of investment fraud schemes, a man who lives in a small town in west Georgia allegedly persuaded investors from around the country that with his secret government contacts and other plans, he could make their money multiply into millions. He will now be prosecuted in open court, where he is alleged to actually be just a thief who used lies to steal millions from his victims.”

IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Reginael McDaniel said, “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. People should diligently check out claims of high rates of return before investing. They should not blindly follow the advice of one person, and should always get a second opinion.”

According to United States Attorney Nahmias, the charges and other information presented in court: Starting in early 2006, EDWARDS allegedly promised investors that they would receive returns of between 40 and 150 percent on the money they placed in his “high yield” investment programs. EDWARDS variously claimed to own a bank, to have access to confidential and lucrative investment opportunities, or to be a “special agent” of the Federal Reserve whom the United States Government had authorized to stimulate the economy with cash injections. Between February 2006 and February 2007, 31 investors mailed or electronically transferred over $7.4 million to EDWARDS, who allegedly spent the money on Haralson County real estate, vehicles, jewelry, fur coats, art, gambling trips to Las Vegas, and family cruises to Alaska, Hawaii and the Mediterranean. EDWARDS allegedly never invested any money, though he did make nominal payments to a few investors who persisted in asking to see their returns.

The indictment includes charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. The mail and wire fraud charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, and the money laundering charges each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders

The indictment also includes a provision seeking to forfeit real estate, vehicles, and cash that allegedly were proceeds of the fraud scheme. Additionally, in June 2008, the Government filed forfeiture liens on EDWARDS’ real estate holdings, and it seized his Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Town Car, and Lincoln Mark LT pickup truck.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Man Sentenced to Nearly Five Years in Federal Prison for Transporting 14-Year-Old Girl That He Met on “My Space” from Virginia to Texas

Man Sentenced to Nearly Five Years in Federal Prison for Transporting 14-Year-Old Girl That He Met on “My Space” from Virginia to Texas for Criminal Sexual Activity

Branden Tye Holden, of Kennesaw, Georgia, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings to 57 months in federal prison, announced acting U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Holden, 19, pled guilty to one count of interstate transportation for criminal sexual activity in January 2009. Judge Cummings also ordered that Holden serve a 10-year term of supervised release and register as a sex offender. Holden is presently in custody.

Holden admitted that he and Jane Doe, a 14-year-old girl who lived in Virginia, met on “My Space.” Although Doe was actually 14, her My Space profile identified her as a 17-year-old female. In telephone conversations, Holden and Doe discussed engaging in sexual relations with one another.

On Thursday, September 25, 2008, Holden left his home in Georgia and drove to Virginia to pick up Doe and bring her to Georgia. After her parents went to bed, she left the house and met Holden who was parked a block from her residence, at a park. The next day, Doe told Holden that she really was 15-years old. Holden then began driving from Virginia through North Carolina, South Carolina and into Georgia, stopping along the way at rest areas where they had sexual relations.

On September 26, 2008, while he was near Augusta, Georgia, Holden received a phone call from his mother who told him that he was being sought by law enforcement for kidnapping. His mother told him that the girl he was with was only 14-years-old and that he needed to go to Woodstock, Georgia, and turn himself into authorities. At that time, Holden and Jane Doe decided to head west.

On Monday, September 29, 2008, Holden was stopped by a Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper in Crockett County, Texas, and was arrested. Jane Doe was with Holden.

Holden estimates that he engaged in sexual relations with Jane Doe approximately 10 times during his travels with her.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

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FBI Releases Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in 2008

The FBI today released preliminary statistics indicating that 41 of our nation’s law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2008. By region, 20 of the victim officers were killed in the South, nine in the Midwest, nine in the West, and three in the Northeast. The number of officers feloniously killed was 17 fewer than in 2007.

Of these felonious deaths, 10 occurred during arrest situations, eight officers were killed during traffic pursuits/stops, seven during tactical situations, six while investigating suspicious persons/circumstances, six were as a result of ambush situations, two officers were performing investigative activities, one was responding to a disturbance call, and one was handling, transporting, or had custody of a prisoner.

Firearms were the weapons most often used in these slayings. Of the 35 officers killed with firearms, 25 were killed with handguns, five with rifles, four with shotguns, and one officer was murdered with an unknown type of firearm. Four officers were killed by vehicles, and two officers died from injuries as a result of a bomb.

At the time of their deaths, 30 of the law enforcement officers were wearing body armor. Ten officers fired their weapons, and four of the officers attempted to fire their weapons. Six officers had their weapon stolen, and four officers were killed with their own weapons.

The 41 law enforcement officers were killed in 38 separate incidents. All 38 incidents have been cleared by arrest or exceptional means.

The number of officers killed in accidents also dropped from the previous year as 67 officers were accidentally killed in 67 separate incidents while performing their duties in 2008. This represents 16 fewer officers killed in accidents than in 2007.

The FBI will release final statistics in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s annual report, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, which will be published on the Internet in the fall of this year.

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Study finds homicidal poisoning rising, more likely in infants and elderly

Homicidal poisonings are rare but on the rise—and infants are the most common victims—according to a new University of Georgia study that aims to raise awareness of this often overlooked crime.

Greene Shepherd, clinical professor in the UGA College of Pharmacy, and recent graduate Brian Ferslew examined seven years of recent federal mortality data and identified 523 deaths due to homicidal poisoning—a figure that corresponds to a rate of 0.26 poisonings per million people. The study found that although poisonings account for less than one percent of all homicides, they appear to be on the rise. The study documented a low of 0.20 cases per million in 2000 and a high of 0.35 in 2004. In 2005, the last year for which data is available, the rate was 0.3 per million people.

“Homicidal poisoning is rare relative to a lot of other causes of death, but the numbers are trending higher,” said Shepherd, whose results appear in the May issue of the journal Clinical Toxicology. “We may never know the true incidence because some cases undoubtedly evade detection and classification.”

Shepherd is a former poison control center director who had heard several anecdotal accounts of homicidal poisonings but found very little data on their incidence. Because such data is a critical starting point for efforts to reduce the risk of poisonings, he and Ferslew began combing through data compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics.

While books and television dramas often portray homicidal poisoning as a premeditated crime committed against adults, the researchers found that infants are the most common victims. Children less than one year old are approximately nine times more likely to be victims than the general population, the study found. Shepherd said that rather than being premeditated acts, the majority of these poisonings are likely negligent homicides committed by parents or caretakers.

“Anyone who has been a new parent knows about the long hours and the stress of an inconsolable child,” Shepherd says. “In some cases people make bad decisions and try to sedate their children with medication or alcohol. I think there’s a role for pharmacists and other health care workers to better educate new parents about the inappropriateness of sedating newborns.”

Further analysis by race found that African-American infants—who are 21 times more likely to be victims than the general population—are most at risk. Shepherd said this increased risk among African Americans is “a tragic result of socioeconomic status,” as stressful situations and poor coping skills are more common in young parents lacking family support and economic stability.

The study found that older adults also had a significantly higher rate of poisoning than the general population. Older adults who require institutional or home care are particularly susceptible to abuse, Shepherd said, and are at risk of being administered excessive doses of sedatives or other medications.

The study also found that drugs, medications and other biological substances accounted for 65 percent of the poisonings during the 1999 to 2005 study period, while assault by gasses and vapor accounted for 28 percent of poisonings. The remaining seven percent of assaults involved other chemicals, corrosive substances or pesticides.

“Though rare, these crimes do happen,” Shepherd said. “Now that we’ve identified at-risk populations, we have the potential to raise awareness and possibly save lives.”

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Governor Perdue Honors Fallen Officers

Today Governor Sonny Perdue honored Georgia’s law enforcement officers that have died in the line of duty at the 2009 Peace Officer Memorial Day Ceremony at the Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth. The training center features the Public Safety Memorial Wall, honoring the state’s fallen officers.

“As protectors and guardians, peace officers have a high and special calling,” Governor Perdue said. “While we appreciate their service every day, it is important to stop and reflect on those that have died while serving their fellow Georgians.”

This year’s officers that were recognized and added to the Public Safety Memorial Wall are:

David W. Gilstrap, Jr. - Oconee County Sheriff’s Office - died October 9, 2008 – Deputy Gilstrap was struck and killed by a vehicle, while directing traffic in a school zone.

Robert A. Griffin – Decatur County Sheriff’s Office - died May 1, 2008 – Deputy Griffin was responding to a call when he lost control of his vehicle and was killed in a single car accident.

Eric C. Barker - DeKalb County Police Department - died January 16, 2008 – Officer Barker was working a security job at the Glenwood Garden Apartments and was shot to death when he confronted several suspects for questioning.

Ricky L. Bryant, Jr. - DeKalb County Police Department – died January 16, 2008 – Officer Bryant was working a security job at the Glenwood Garden Apartments and was shot to death when he confronted several suspects for questioning.

William E. Hobbs – Georgia Department of Natural Resources - died July 21, 1967 – Ranger Hobbs was shot to death while assisting an Early County Deputy in apprehending a suspect.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Conspirator in $12 Million Medicare Fraud Ring Sentenced to Prison

ALAIN AMADOR, 31, of Miami, Florida, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Jack T. Camp to serve over 4 years in prison on a charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “This was a bold crime in which the defendant and his conspirators made up phony medical companies and billed Medicare for millions of dollars of fake medical services. This defendant, who was a key part of the scheme, will now spend several years in federal prison. The good news is that most of the money the conspirators attempted to get was either not paid or was seized by law enforcement. The crime was identified early because several Medicare patients carefully reviewed and reported discrepancies in the paperwork they received. We thank those citizens, who with many others are on the front lines in our battle against health care fraud.”

“We are proud to be part of the Federal team that brought AMADOR to justice," said Melody Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General's Atlanta Regional Office, who also warned, “Criminals can rest assured that if they attempt to defraud federal health care programs and their patients, they will be held accountable.”

AMADOR was sentenced to 4 years, 3 months in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3.9 million, and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service. AMADOR pleaded guilty to the charges on March 3, 2009.

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and the information presented in court: AMADOR and his conspirators set up a series of fake medical clinics in the Atlanta area. They leased space in the names of the companies, opened bank accounts, filed corporate documents in the names of the companies, and ultimately applied for and received Medicare billing numbers. However, the companies existed in name only. They maintained no operations, employees, or equipment. Using improperly obtained identity information of actual doctors and Medicare patients, the conspirators filed more than $12 million in Medicare claims for phony services in less than a year.

Of the amount billed, Medicare paid approximately $3 million before the scheme was uncovered and the payments were halted. As part of this criminal case, the United States seized approximately $2 million of this money, some of which was still present in bank accounts when the scheme was identified, and some of which was in the form of checks that were sitting in the fake offices waiting to be picked up and deposited. Most of the remainder of the money was transferred to or deposited in foreign bank accounts.

AMADOR, who has a nursing degree, helped set up and maintain the fake companies. He assisted in incorporating the companies and opening the bank accounts. He periodically traveled from Miami, where most of the conspirators were based, to Atlanta, to keep up appearances at the office space, check the mail (including picking up outstanding Medicare checks), and pay rent.

The investigation is still ongoing. One named co-defendant remains a fugitive. JESUS LLOSA, a Cuban national, was last known to live in Miami, Florida. This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General.

Assistant United States Attorneys Justin S. Anand and Gerald S. Sachs prosecuted the case.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

More Fulton County Jailers Arrested on Obstruction of Justice Charges

DERONTAY ANTON LANGFORD, 34, of Fairburn, Georgia, a Fulton County Sheriff’s Detention Officer, and MITNEE MARKETTE JONES, 46, of Atlanta, Georgia, a Fulton County Deputy Sheriff, both of whom work as officers at the Fulton County Jail, were arrested today by FBI agents following their indictment by a federal grand jury on felony charges of filing a false report, making false statements to federal agents, and obstruction of justice. LANGFORD and JONES are expected to make their initial appearances before United States Magistrate Judge C. Christopher Hagy at 2 p.m. this afternoon.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “We are continuing to investigate this suspicious inmate death at the Fulton County Jail, as well as other incidents involving the alleged unreasonable use of force against inmates by jail officers. Whether or not we ultimately determine that other officers committed crimes against inmates, any officer who obstructs our efforts to find the truth should expect to be arrested and charged with serious federal felony offenses. Five officers have been charged with obstruction of justice already. Our message to Fulton County jail employees should be clear: you don't want to be next.”

Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson said, “This investigation is far from over. Any officer inside this jail who thinks they can beat an inmate or violate an inmate’s civil rights is looking at federal prosecution, and that means being in a federal prison as an inmate. The administration at this jail will continue to hold everyone to the highest professional standards, and that includes truthfulness when asked about any incident inside these walls.”

According to U. S. Attorney Nahmias, the indictment, and information in court: The indictment, unsealed and made public after the arrests today, charges that LANGFORD and JONES aided and abetted one another and former Fulton County Jail Detention Officer CURTIS JEROME BROWN, Jr., in engaging in misleading conduct by allegedly authoring and submitting incident reports that omitted material information regarding an encounter and physical contact with an inmate prior to the inmate’s in-custody death on March 18, 2008. BROWN was fired on October 22, 2008, and was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 24, 2008, for violating civil rights by using excessive force against a different inmate, filing a false report, making false statements to federal agents and obstruction of justice. BROWN’s charges are still pending. The indictment unsealed today also charges LANGFORD and JONES with making false statements to federal agents and obstructing justice by falsifying and concealing material information during their testimony before a federal grand jury.

According to a criminal complaint filed in connection with BROWN’s related charges, on the night of March 18 and into March 19, 2008, a jail inmate was causing a commotion in his cell when BROWN and two other staff members, now identified as LANGFORD and JONES, allegedly entered the cell and engaged in a physical altercation with the inmate. According to eyewitness accounts, the inmate was on the floor when the three staff members left the cell. After they left, the inmate was discovered unresponsive and not breathing on the cell floor and was transported to Grady Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The federal investigation of that in-custody death and other incidents at the Fulton County Jail is continuing. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department is cooperating in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 404-679-9000.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Brent Alan Gray and Angela M. Jordan are prosecuting the case.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

“Amigos Don't Let Amigos Drive Drunk”

Pick A Designated Driver Before Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo has become a big night-out on the Georgia social scene, especially for young adults. Fiesta plans north of the Border have become another ‘six-pack-tradition’ here on the all-American party calendar, just like on St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween.

This year the holiday falls on a Tuesday, so for some dedicated party-goers it means an entire weekend celebrating the consumption of adult beverages. And that can turn Cinco de Mayo into a high-risk holiday on our roadways for everyone, because of Georgians who drive drunk.

With those parties beginning Friday night, the Peachtree City Police Department is issuing this early warning to remind lawful motorists about a dangerous night-out because of alcohol- or drug-impaired drivers. To drunk drivers the message is simple: You drive impaired, you WILL go to jail. In Georgia it’s Operation Zero-Tolerance…. OVER THE LIMIT. UNDER ARREST!“

Let’s face it, about half the fatal crashes on our state’s roadways will be alcohol-related this Cinco de Mayo weekend,” says Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) Director Bob Dallas. “Impaired adults behaving badly have turned the Cinco de Mayo celebration into another deadly drinking and driving weekend… just like we’re seeing on St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween.” Unfortunately the drinking and driving deaths associated with the Cinco de Mayo holiday have become a predictable risk factor of American party culture for the last decade.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, starting each year on May 5th and running overnight into the early morning hours of May 6th, 43-percent of all highway fatalities were caused by drunk drivers. And since 1999, the NHTSA data shows those impaired drivers had blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of 0.08 percent and above.

What do those numbers mean to you? In Georgia, on average, a dozen people will die as a result of alcohol-related crashes during the Cinco de Mayo weekend.

Across the country, nearly 40 times a day, someone in America will die in an alcohol-related crash. That’s one DUI victim every 39 minutes. And if you think you’re immune, think again. That data shows three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives. That’s how hundreds of thousands are injured in alcohol-related highway crashes each year, many of them right here in Georgia.

So this Cinco de Mayo, the Peachtree City Police Department is issuing a plea to party responsibly. Real amigos should remember to designate a sober driver in advance – Before the Cinco de Mayo festivities begin. Whether meeting a few friends after work or hitting the holiday party circuit, ‘amigos don’t let amigos drive drunk’.

What should you do to protect your family on the highway this Cinco de Mayo weekend? Your best protection against a deadly encounter with one of these drunk drivers is… a buckled safety belt.

If you have a Cinco de Mayo party, make these safety tips part of your guide to being a great host!

Make sure your guests have Designated sober Drivers.
Never serve alcohol to guests under 21-years-of-age.
Serve plenty of food…. and include soft drinks, juice, and water.
Stop serving alcohol before the party ends. Start serving coffee and dessert instead.
Take car keys from anyone who even thinks about driving impaired.

In Georgia every year, one-of-every-three crash fatalities is alcohol-related…. and every one of those alcohol-related deaths could have been prevented.

If you attend a Cinco de Mayo party at your favorite restaurant or bar, plan an exit strategy before you leave for home:

Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give them your car keys.
Volunteer to be the Designated Driver or offer to be one next time out.
Before you party, program local cab company numbers in your cell phone so a safe ride is just a call away.
Pace yourself. Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks. Eat during the evening; load up on the chips and salsa and other appetizers, and then enjoy your other favorite Mexican foods during the evening;
Never let a friend out of sight if you think they’re about to drive impaired.

Remember, Georgia enforces DUI laws for those who drive drunk. “Be responsible about your own limits,” said Peachtree City Police Chief H. C. “Skip” Clark II. “Impaired driving is no accident – nor is it a victimless crime. GOHS supports Mothers Against Drunk Driving in their reminder that the perfect end to a perfect Cinco de Mayo celebration is a safe and sober ride home.”

The Georgia State Patrol reminds drivers in Georgia to report ALL impaired drivers with a free cell phone call to the nearest Georgia State Patrol post by calling: Star G-S-P (*477) on Interstates. If you observe an impaired driver in Peachtree City, Fayette County, simply call 911.

The Peachtree City Police Department has several programs in place in regards to traffic safety, such as educational programs at schools, road safety checkpoints, and saturation patrols. The City of Peachtree City has set up an on-line based system for traffic safety concerns, programs, and educational materials which can be accessed at For more information on impaired driving prevention see , or, or visit . Additional traffic concern questions or comments can be made by email at or by calling 770-487-8866 and requesting to speak to any member of the Community Response Team (C.R.T.).
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