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Officers show off crime-stopping skills

If the law enforcement officers in our area haven’t impressed you lately, you haven’t been paying close enough attention.

Sure, police officers may not always turn on their blinker to make a turn while patrolling the Camellia City’s streets or might get overly excited prior to a traffic stop and radio in for more back-up than needed, however, over the past couple of weeks, they have proven themselves to be pretty good gumshoes. Besides, it’s better safe than sorry and, after all, they are human.

One incident that comes to mind was the early morning robbery of a convenience store in mid-May that shook up the community. It was initially reported that an armed robbery had occurred and officials with the Greenville Police Department were seeking a black male suspect wearing a black mask with sunglasses and a hoody. A surveillance photo was released to assist the department in its search. Thanks to some tips as a result of that snapshot, detectives were able to develop a suspect.

Timothy Obryant Smith was arrested later that night and charged with first-degree robbery and booked in the Butler County Jail after the leads provided to and confirmed by GPD detectives led them to the 32-year-old Greenville resident. GPD Chief Justin Lovvorn later revealed that Smith was caught on tape pulling a knife on the clerk and demanding money from the
register.

Lovvorn later said that Smith confessed to the crime after confronted with evidence that had been collected by GPD investigators, which is not an easy task. Talk about some quick action — less than 24 hours — not to mention all while getting a confession. After all, you can’t argue with the facts.

Mother’s Day morning officers — the same ones that may roll through a stop sign from time to time — were also able to quickly detain a burglary suspect thanks to the awareness of a patrol officer paying close attention while performing nightly building checks.

A suspicious vehicle parked in front of a business on the Greenville Bypass caught the officer’s eye after it was not noted during an earlier check of the same building. Calling for backup after noticing a pair of bolt cutters outside of a storage building and a door slightly open, the officers went into action. Once noises were heard, the officers surrounded the building and ordered the person outside.

Christopher James Cunningham, 36, of Tuskegee was then cuffed and charged with third-degree burglary, possession of burglary tools and third-degree criminal mischief. Cunningham was also already on parole with the Department of Corrections.

Nevertheless, solving crimes isn’t all that Greenville’s officers have been up to lately. Preventing injury to the citizens of the city is also high on their priority list.

A few months ago, lights from a police cruiser could be seen from the intersection of Fort Dale Road and Commerce Street near the Greenville Post Office. Another fender bender in our bustling downtown? Thankfully, not.

Upon further investigation, an officer could be seen blocking traffic with his cruiser and getting the attention of motorists with his lights flashing as he allowed a person confined to a wheelchair the opportunity to cross the busy intersection safely. Talk about going the extra mile.

Over the course of the year – days, weeks and months — law enforcement officers get criticized for various actions that they may or may not have performed. As long as they are not causing harm to someone, give them some slack. In fact, some of the things you witness as unusual may in fact be intentional as part of an investigation or an oversight in the midst of an investigation or hectic day. That’s probably why warning tickets are issued — mistakes happen.

So when all else fails, be sure to back our blue.