Police agencies talk safety, friday's police chase

Chief Don Cheek, Col. Mark Shirley, and Chief John Proctor sit on a panel to answer safety questions Wednesday / Ashley Knight

High ranking officials from all three police agencies came together to talk about safety at a luncheon Wednesday.

They touched lightly on the police chase that took place Friday afternoon.

Col. Mark Shirley was the first to spot the blue Tahoe police were looking for in the robbery case of the Consolidated Loan Company Friday.

"So I called into the sheriff's office, I said I'm behind a blue Tahoe, here's the tag number," said Col. Shirley.

They didn't know who the suspects were or even if it was the right Tahoe. Three APD cars shortly joined in.

"The blue Tahoe turned south onto Radium Springs Road and then that's when it sped up," added Shirley.

At Wednesday's lunch with leaders, he told a roomful of citizens, he wondered if the outcome would have been different had he pulled next to the car, preparing to box them in, instead of just following behind. But Friday's chase wasn't the reason for the lunch. Chief Don Cheek with Dougherty County and Albany Police Chief John Proctor were also at the Welcome Center to talk about safety. And according to Proctor, violent crime is down 17 percent, comparing September 2010 to 2011.

"We identified areas in the community that have the preponderance of criminal activity, we put a lot of resources there," said Proctor.\

But they can't do it alone. Proctor says to alarm your home, leave lights on and secure windows, especially now closer to the holiday season.

Col. Shirley with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office says the important thing is that people know they're not three separate agencies with their own agendas, but three agencies working together to better the community.

"It's here to pull this community together to help fight the crime here, to help bring awareness to crime to Albany and Dougherty County," said Shirley.

Shirley also stressed family involvement, saying the lack thereof may be the reason behind our crowded jail cells.

"Someone's gonna raise that child. And if it's not the family, if it's not the mother or the father, it's gonna be the street," said Shirley.