Anniston Street Crimes Unit hits the ground running

By Dixon Hayes

ANNISTON, AL (WBRC) - In just its first week of operation, Anniston's new Street Crimes Unit has already made numerous arrests and seized more than a hundred grams of marijuana and some crack cocaine.  And they've made some friends along the way.

The five men unit began their work Sunday, October 10th, and already had a track record by the end of the week.  It's made possible by a federal grant, but only now, with a new batch of hires, has the department been able to designate these men to this particular beat.

They're not going out and  answering calls like most of the guys," says patrol commander, Capt. Shane Denham.   "What they're trying to do is focus on areas that have been historically problem areas for us, or that have been higher crime areas, areas where we know that they may be selling drugs or other things going on there."

Denham says the unit will concentrate on peak times for drug buying activity, but not set schedules.  Drug dealers won't have a chance to learn their patterns.  And the officers might drive up in cars--marked or unmarked, ride bicycles or even walk up on foot.

Another part of their new assignments will involve community oriented policing--from befriending law abiding citizens in housing communities, to taking fingerprints from children at special promotions and festivals.

All five were hired from within the department and are considered among the best in the rank and file, says Denham.

"We tried to get guys that had a little bit of maturity," says Denham.  "We picked guys that are also on our SRT team so they're held to a little bit higher standard, as far as education and their experience level."

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