New Gadsden police unit solving problems - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

New Gadsden police unit solving problems

By Dixon Hayes

GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) - A new unit of the Gadsden Police Department isn't devoted exclusively to drugs, vice or other issues, although it deals with it all.  It's a task force devoted to problem solving.
The Special Projects Unit of the Gadsden Police Department was appointed last April by Police Chief Richard Crouch.  Their mission: to go to work on a given problem, and stay on it until they find a way to solve it.
"We can assign them to a problem to a specific neighborhood or a specific type of crime that we're having a problem with,
have them focus on that for several days or even weeks if necessary," says Lt. Mike Moon.
And they're ready for anything, from drugs and prostitution to snow.  In fact they were on standby for the winter weather event predicted for January 9-10, and were pressed into service for the snow that fell Christmas Day.
"We're tasked to do several different things," says Sgt. Wayne Keener.  "We can do everything from regular patrol operations to traffic operations.  We do undercover operations, we have bicycles, things of that nature, we do foot patrols as well as bicycle patrol, motorized patrols."
Among their accomplishments:
*A prostitution sting that netted 11 arrests, prostitutes and even johns.
*Reports of an unlicensed teen club in a residential neighborhood, one where a teenager was shot to death in
2009.  They eventually found a house with alcohol, tobacco and teens, raided it and even had the building department condemn the house.
*Ran a sting on convenience stores--they say almost every one in town--selling alcohol to minors.
*Most recently, devised a gadget-filled but otherwise normal looking car, as bait for thieves.  They can not only run surveillance with hidden cameras and microphones, but they can even remotely shut the car down and lock the thief inside until they make the arrest.
The unit is located in a special office in the basement of Gadsden City Hall.

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