Maj. Bill Berry (right) with the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit and Capt. Michael Persely with the Albany Police Department conduct a news conference on the multi-agency crime sweet, Operation FACT. (Staff Photo: Jim West)
ALBANY — Wednesday was an active day for law enforcement officers in Dougherty County and for some state and federal agencies as they participate in Operation FACT (Facing Albany Crime Together). Officers from multiple agencies hit the streets around 5 a.m., said Major Bill Berry, commander of the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit, for the purpose of serving warrants throughout Albany and Dougherty County.
At a 2 p.m. news conference at the ADDU headquarters on Pine Avenue, Berry said the operation involved more than 130 law enforcement officers from agencies including the ADDU, the Albany Police Department, Dougherty County Police, Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Department of Corrections, State Board of Pardons and Parole, Albany State University, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division and the U.S. Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force.
“What we have done is to send a message that ‘no matter where you hide, sleep or live, we’re going to be looking for you.’” Berry said.
According to Berry, who was commander of the operation, FACT consisted of nine separate teams looking for suspects with active arrest warrants. Other reasons for the sweep included probation and parole checks, Berry said, and followups from previous contacts. Berry said the area was divided into three zones with three teams to a zone and a “floating” SWAT team.
As the operation continued through the day, agents in the “war room” tracked suspects and field officers on a map of Dougherty County. At around 3:30 p.m., 31 arrests had been made, Berry said.
The warrants ranged from relatively minor misdemeanors to serious felonies including aggravated assault, Berry said, with most of the “main targets” handled first.
“I think that what you’ll see for a least a few days is that the criminals will be a little leery,” Berry said. “They won’t know what we’re going to look at next or where we’ll be or how long we’ll be. It sends the message out that even if it’s four in the morning, we’ll be out looking for you.”
“The biggest thing is that we have to show we’re always working together,” said Capt. Michael Persely with the Albany Police Department. “There are some people with debts to pay up and the operations like this ensure that everyone is held accountable.”
In addition to the arrests made, Berry said about half a pound of illegal “spice,” “ecstasy” and marijuana had been seized.