Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SCAD's Paula Wallace selected as new GA History Trustee

Posted By on Tue, Sep 30, 2014 at 12:25 PM

 The Georgia Historical Society announced today that Paula S. Wallace and Alana Smith Shepherd will be the latest inductees to the Georgia Trustees at the annual Trustees Gala in February 2015.

Paula Wallace is the president and co-founder of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), established in 1978. Today SCAD awards undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 40 areas of study at locations in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France.

Alana Shepherd is co-founder of Shepherd Center, a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury and other neurological conditions.

“The Georgia Historical Society and the office of the Governor have chosen two individuals whose drive and determination have advanced the cause of medicine, art and education in Georgia,” said W. Todd Groce, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Historical Society. “Through their leadership and accomplishments, they have touched the lives of thousands, not just in Georgia but around the world, and we are honored that they will be inducted as the newest Georgia Trustees."

The induction will take place Saturday, February 14, 2015, at the Georgia Trustees Gala, “The Seven Empires.” For information on how to purchase individual seats and tables for the event, please visit www.georgiahistory.com/gala.

Georgia Historical Society Director of Programs Christy Crisp announced that the Featured Historical Figure for the 2015 Georgia History Festival will be legendary Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto.

“We have chosen Hernando de Soto in observance of the 475th anniversary of his journeys in Georgia,” said Crisp. “We look forward to bringing the story of his exploration in Georgia and the broader legacy of Spanish exploration in the American southeast to classrooms across the state through educational materials and in-school visits.”



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Friday, September 26, 2014

County votes to split up police merger; City Manager issues statement

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Earlier today the Chatham County Commission voted to exercise its option to terminate the decade-old merger of city and county police forces.

Negotiations had been stalled for several months over the City's insistence on a certain funding formula and the County's insistence that it have more control over the Chief's position.

City Manager Stephanie Cutter today issued the following statement:

“I understand the Chatham County Board of Commissioners voted today to begin the process of terminating the SCMPD intergovernmental agreement. While I respect the will of our elected representatives, I believe strongly that dissolving the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department will hurt public safety in our community.

“I am encouraged that Chairman Scott desires to continue negotiations on a new agreement. The City and County agree on far more provisions for management, structure and cost share of police services than we disagree. I am confident that by sitting down and engaging in open and honest dialogue, we will be able to create a new agreement that is fair for all residents in Chatham County.

“The advancements gained over the nine years of SCMPD’s existence are significant. Shared investigative resources, better intelligence, reduction of jurisdictional confusion and the creation of patrol beats that reflect neighborhood and geographic realities are just some of the benefits of a combined police department.

“While we must do more to target criminal behavior, it is without question that SCMPD has increased public safety in our community. Since Metro’s creation, Part I crime has decreased nearly 30 percent across the jurisdiction, including a 50 percent drop in Unincorporated Chatham County during a time when its population increased 20 percent.

“I look forward to working with County leadership over the coming weeks on this most important priority for residents in our shared community.”

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Planned mosquito spray causes controversy

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 12:20 PM

A low-flying Chatham County Mosquito Control plane sparked accusations of intimidation and controversy by some leaders of street protests in West Savannah, who said they were deliberately sprayed with the chemicals.

But Chatham County responds with records indicating the flight was pre-planned and the community was notified.

"Because of positive testing for West Nile Virus in the West Savannah area Chatham County Mosquito Control has been actively treating that area," a spokesman says. "Previous treatments have taken place on August 27th, September 3rd, September 11th, and September 18th with a scheduled flight for last night. Notifications of these flights are sent to all municipalities, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, Savannah Airport Police and to SCMPD."

Mosquito Control helicopter began its scheduled treatment, "unaware that there was a public gathering in the Augusta Avenue area, and some of the product was released in the general area," the spokesman says.

"SCMPD officers then contacted the pilot to inform him of the gathering and the pilot pulled from the area."

The spray used by Chatham County Mosquito Control can cause some irritation to the eyes and skin. This product is sprayed in an amount of 0.6 ounces per acre.

For those that questions or concerns regarding the Chatham County Mosquito Control spraying operations should contact them at 790-2340 or e-mail mosquito@chathamcounty.org.

Fire Marshal warns of scam

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 12:11 PM

The Savannah Fire Marshal's office warns of a scam involving a caller demanding payment from business owners for work that supposedly performed at the business under the direction of the local fire marshal.

The phone calls originate from a telephone number that is located in or assigned from Virginia. The callers are "very insistent and threaten immediate legal action if business owners don’t acquiesce and meet their demands," a spokesman for the Savannah Fire Marshal says.

“The fire marshal’s office does not direct or manage the work of private contractors, neither does the fire marshal’s office authorize outside agencies to collect payment for work performed by or for private businesses,” Savannah Fire Marshal Craig Landolt says. “Business owners should notify my office and also file a police report if they believe they have been contacted in this manner or have fallen victim to the scam.”

Any Savannah business owners who have been targeted by this scam are encouraged to contact Marshal Landolt at (912) 644-5960.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Police Chief candidate reception is Wednesday

Posted By on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 9:39 PM

A reception to introduce the candidates for the position of Chief of Police of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department will be held by the City of Savannah & Chatham County on Wednesday, September 24, 5-6 p.m. on the 2nd Floor Mezzanine, Savannah Civic Center 301 West Oglethorpe Avenue.

They are:

Joseph Lumpkin, Athens/Clarke County police chief since 1997, just retired 

Ralph Evangelous, current chief of Wilmington NC police since 2004

William Heim, Reading, PA, chief since 2006

Video of Smith arrest released

Posted By on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Savannah/Chatham Metro Police have released a series of surveillance videos from the convenience store in West Savannah where the late Charles Smith was arrested. He was later shot by an officer during an altercation in and around the police car further down the block.

However, the videos do not show that incident and essentially show four different views on the convenience store scene, two inside and two outside, at different angles.


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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mayor Jackson statement on Augusta Ave. shooting

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 10:52 PM

Mayor Edna Branch Jackson released the following statement on the officer-involved shooting in West Savannah:

“I am distressed at today’s shooting in West Savannah that left one man dead, a family grieving, and a community with many questions. I share many of those questions. There will be answers, but for the moment I ask for patience.

Chief Tolbert immediately brought in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into this shooting. That is proper. We must now give authorities time to do their job.

I met today with the victim's family, and I grieved with them. I spoke with West Savannah residents, and I listened to them. I talked with Police leaders, and relayed our citizens' concerns while offering support for our officers and the difficult public service they perform every day.

When the answers come, we will be open, transparent and forthcoming. We will remain in continuous communication with the family. For now, I hope the citizens of Savannah will join me in remaining calm and patient as authorities gather the facts.”

GBI investigates officer-involved shooting

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 10:48 PM

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Chief Julie Tolbert has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to take over the investigation of the shooting death of a Savannah man during an arrest Thursday morning.

Officer David Jannot, a 10-year veteran of the department, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The shooting occurred today at 11:08 AM on Augusta Avenue between Eagle Street and Cumming Street. The initial investigation shows that "officers arrested Charles Smith, 29, on outstanding warrants. When the officers placed Smith under arrest he was handcuffed behind his back. The arrest encounter is captured on video," says a GBI spokesman.

"After being placed in the patrol car, Smith was able to move his hands to the front of his body and kick out the window of the patrol car. The officers said as Smith attempted to exit the patrol car they saw that he had a firearm. This encounter resulted in Smith being shot and killed at the scene. During the crime scene examination, a firearm was found under Smith’s body. This information is based on the GBI’s preliminary investigation," the spokesman continues.

When the investigation is completed, the findings will be turned over to the Eastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. An autopsy on Smith’s body will be done at the GBI Crime Lab in Savannah Friday. 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Crash! Bang! Arrest!

Posted By on Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 6:05 PM

A suspect is in custody and being treated for possible injuries "after crashing a suspected stolen car into a police car, firing shots and finally surrendering to Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police," a department spokesperson says.

Police were searching for the vehicle that had been reported stolen "and were moving in on it on West 36th Street near Ogeechee Road when the suspect saw police approaching, entered the vehicle and sped into one of the stopped police cars. The vehicle he was driving flipped on its side and into a parked SUV. The suspect then fired shots before surrendering. No one else was injured."

Ogeechee Road between the 37th Street Connector and West 37th Street was closed for the investigation.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Three police chief finalists selected

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Out of over 100 applicants, the City of Savannah and Chatham County have agreed on a final list of three candidates for Savannah/Chatham Metropolitan Police Department Chief. 

They are:

Joseph Lumpkin, Athens/Clarke County police chief since 1997

Ralph Evangelous, current chief of Wilmington NC police since 2004

William Heim, Reading, PA, chief since 2006

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