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Rocky Mount’s Crime Crackdown Is Working

In mid-February, the Rocky Mount Police Department reorganized and beefed up its Street Engagement Team. Within three weeks, they arrested more than 120 people and confiscated 21 guns.

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Rocky Mount's plan to crack down on crime is keeping officers busy.

When a surge in violent crimes hit the city, including 14 murders in 2007, Police Chief John Manley pledged extra measures to curb it.

In mid-February, the department reorganized and beefed up its Street Engagement Team. Within three weeks, the team arrested more than 120 people – on more than 300 individual charges – and confiscated 21 guns.

“When you focus on drugs and guns and you work with the feds and the state and the district attorney, it has got to make an impact,” said Capt. Robert Baggett, with the Rocky Mount Police Department.

In a January meeting with the City Council, Manley expressed concern about the number of repeat violent offenders and lack of full prosecution.

As a result, the district attorney's office and police officers recently worked together on special training.

“We kind of did like a basic, from the beginning of the case, to the end of the case, to make sure these things are prosecutable and that we're doing what we're supposed to do,” Baggett said.

Members of the Street Engagement Team were also briefed on the details of each unsolved murder investigation, Baggett said. The department hopes this will help officers uncover new leads in the cases.

Baggett would not discuss specifics about the new operations, but said additional supervisors and more intense training are just a part of the program.



Mike Charbonneau, Reporter

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