ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany law enforcement agencies, including the Albany and Dougherty County police departments, Dougherty County Sheriff's Office, parole officers, the Albany State University Police Department and the Dougherty County School System police have joined forces to sweep the area for criminals, APD officials say.
Lt. Keithen Hall with APD is one of the coordinators for Operation Takeback, a summer initiative designed to take back the city streets during a traditionally high-crime period. Hall said his department wants to be sure the public is aware of the ongoing patrol efforts.
"We know that when kids get out of school the crime rate goes up, and we want to send a real serious message to those out there committing crimes," Hall said. "You're going to see us. We'll be knocking on your door."
According to Hall, Operation Takeback started on May 18, "right after graduation."
"All the troops bought into it," Hall said. "That was an important thing. It's going to take a lot of their time off. Now it's all hands on deck."
Hall said the main objectives of the initiative include the targeting of specific and undisclosed areas for the purpose of attacking gang activity, robberies and the like. Already, strategic roadblocks have resulted in some 80 citations and 12 towed vehicles, Hall said. The ASU police force assisted in the effort.
"ASU came out and did a great job," Hall said. "They got some valuable experience, and it was a good outcome."
An important aspect of Operation Takeback will be a blunt warning to criminals with outstanding warrants.
"We have an upcoming warrant sweep," Hall said. "We're asking everyone who knows they have warrants against them to come on in, or eventually you'll see us outside your door."
The sweep, which will begin later in the enforcement initiative, is to involve what Hall refered to only as an unreal number of active warrants.
"This is an opportunity not only to let the criminal element know, but also to allow the community to see the presence of law enforcement," APD spokeswoman Phyllis Banks said. "It's going to be a little tough for some people out there."