Tuesday, Mar. 21, 2023–5:21 p.m.
-David Crowder, WRGA News-
Late last year, local law enforcement agencies conducted a child abduction response drill and on Monday, that training paid off with the safe return of a child that had been from her mother in less than three hours.
The local Child Abduction Response Team is led by the Rome and Floyd County Police Departments as well as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The team was activated Monday after a call came in that 34-year-old Jackie Blaine Tucker had beaten a woman at a residence on Fountain Square before taking a 2-year-old child. Tucker is the father but had no legal authority to take custody of the child. After the CART activation, an AMBER Alert was issued. Tucker was tracked via his cell phone and multiple agencies surrounded the area. A captain with the Rome Police Department Hostage Negotiation Team was able to make contact with Tucker who agreed to surrender himself and turn the child over to officers.
The child was recovered in the area of Sam Harris Road, unharmed, and Tucker was arrested. The original call came in at 10:01 a.m. and was resolved by 12.48 p.m., just two hours and 47 minutes later.
Following Tuesday’s Rome Public Safety Committee meeting, Rome Police Chief Denise Downer-McKinney said that she believes being able to bring all of the law enforcement agencies and entities together was an important factor in working toward a successful ending……(C-DENISE1)…..The Floyd County Police Department and sheriff’s office, E-911, the Georgia State Patrol and GBI’s aviation units, the state’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division, the Rome-Floyd Victim/Witness program, and Atrium Floyd EMS all assisted in the response.
The Bartow County Sheriff’s Office and Gordon County Sheriff’s Office also assisted by searching for the suspect at possible locations in their respective jurisdictions.
Public safety committee hears from NAACP
Members of the Rome-Floyd County Chapter of the NAACP spoke during Tuesday’s public safety committee meeting, wanting to know more about the Rome Police Department’s procedures for handling complaints against officers.
President Sara Dahlice Malone told the committee that the NAACP has a legal redress committee where people can call in if they have Civil Rights-related issues. That committee has received complaints from a man and a woman who claim they were treated unfairly by police.
“The gentleman said there is body cam footage, but the lady did not address body cam footage,” Malone said before asking if Rome Police officers are required to wear body cameras.
Rome Police Chief Denise Downer-McKinney told Malone that all officers must wear body cams and are mandated to turn them on. So, there should be body cam footage.
“We do have a complaint process if anyone has an issue,” Downer-McKinney added. “Major Mike Tison looks into the complaints, and if there is body cam footage he will look that up. If it is something that is validated, we handle it. It may be a personnel issue or a training issue, but we never sweep anything under the rug or cover anything up. That looks negative on us and how we are trying to be good citizens and also be respectful to our citizens and trying to take care of them.”
Police are aware of the complaint from the man, and it has been addressed, according to Assistant Rome Police Chief Debbie Burnett, who explained the complaint process further.
“Major Tison receives all the complaints,” she said. “He will either handle them personally or assign them to a supervisor. They cannot hold a complaint longer than 14 days without asking for an extension. Each member in the chain of command signs off on the complaint to show that we’re all aware of it. That form also shows when the complainant was contacted and notified of the outcome.”
Charles Love, second vice president for the local NAACP, told the committee that when the NAACP receives complaints, they try to process them and get reports from both sides.
“We, as an organization, are trying to be proactive and we are bringing this to you in case there is a need for officer training in de-escalation,” he said. “Somebody may have some mental conditions—like one of these people may have.”
Burnett told Love that Rome officers train in de-escalation and dealing with the mentally ill every year.