Cov­ing­ton hosts state po­lice work­shop

Lo­cal de­tec­tive dis­cusses cop­per theft crime

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Tyler Smith

Mem­bers of the Ge­or­gia State Intelligence Net­work meet in Cov­ing­ton Thurs­day where they were treated to bar­be­cue, live mu­sic and a cop­per theft work­shop by Cov­ing­ton Po­lice De­part­ment De­tec­tive DJ Seals.

GSIN is a net­work of city, county, state and fed­eral law en­force­ment of­fi­cials that meet monthly to share in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties in their par­tic­u­lar ar­eas. Seals said this col­lec­tion of dif­fer­ent perspectives has lead to ma­jor breaks in sev­eral cases around the state.

Most of the monthly meet­ings in­volve a sem­i­nar or train­ing ex­er­cise, fol­lowed by an around the room dis­cus­sion of is­sues and cases in each per­son’s area. This round­table is ex­tremely valu­able and can save in­ves­ti­ga­tors weeks of work, Seals said. A se­ries of crimes in dif­fer­ent coun­ties in the metro area can of­ten be re­lated and GSIN meet­ings are es­sen­tial at help­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tors link them.

The meet­ings also al­low of­fi­cers to spread the word on how they have made a big bust and how oth­ers can ap­ply the tools they used. At Thurs­day’s meet­ing, Seals de­tailed the CPD’s crack down on cop­per thieves and the peo­ple that buy the stolen items.

“If there is a de­mand, there will be sup­ply,” Seals said. “If you sti­fle the de­mand, the crim­i­nals will have to go some­where else.”

Seals re­cently had a stolen cop­per bust which re­sulted in more than 2,000 charges. The case took a year for Seals to de­velop, but he hopes his ground work will aid other GSIN mem­bers to cut that time down in their own in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Seals said cop­per theft has be­come a ma­jor prob­lem around the coun­try, but par­tic­u­larly in ex­pand­ing ar­eas like New­ton County. Would be thieves have even gone so far as to at­tempt to steal cop­per rods from Ver­sion cell tow­ers and Ge­or­gia Power tow­ers. Cop­per theft on con­struc­tions sites has also be­come com­mon in the county.

“Those thefts hit the home­owner, the con­trac­tor and the com­pa­nies,” Seals said. “It can af­fect ev­ery­one and it is easy, easy money.”

But Seals is quick to point out that mak­ing money from scrap met­als can be a le­git­i­mate and nec­es­sary busi­ness.

“Some­body needs to do the job,” Seals said. “There is scrap ev­ery­where.”

The CPD’s job is to en­sure that those busi­nesses fol­low the law and only ac­cept met­als that are legally ob­tained.

The next meet­ing of the GSIN will be held in Bald­win County on Sept. 20 and 21.

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