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Waynesboro police chief hopes drug bust sends message

Waynesboro police warn criminals

Monday, April 23, 2012 7:34 PM
Last updated Tuesday, April 24, 2012 1:26 AM
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The Waynesboro Police De­partment hopes a just completed drug bust will send a message to the city’s drug dealers.

"After this operation, the dealers and users will find it more difficult to find the drugs and will be more cautious about selling. … They will take their business elsewhere, where it is less complicated." - Waynesboro Police Chief Alfonzo Williams, who organized a multi-agency drug bust

“We will not tolerate drugs in our city,” said Chief Alfonzo Williams. “You won’t know when we are coming, but we will catch and prosecute you.”

On Friday evening, the Waynesboro Police Depart­ment partnered with more than seven other agencies – totaling about 60 officers – to execute search warrants for criminals who had sold drugs to undercover officers since January.

Six people have been arrested in Operation Lightning, and a small amount of drugs, a few firearms and some money were confiscated. Williams said the operation was more about sending a message than taking contraband off the streets.

“It was a reminder we are still here,” he said. “And a way of showing the citizens of Waynesboro that we are listening and hear their complaints about drugs near their homes.”

Since January, Williams said they have seen a spike in crime, including car break-ins and burglaries, which the department believes is directly related to drug use in the area.

Williams became chief in February of last year and said he “hit the ground running,” by swiftly cracking down on drug dealers.

When the department started to see the familiar crimes creep back up during the last few months, they started planning Operation Lightning.

“Drug use has always been high, as it is in any small town,” Williams said. “After this operation, the dealers and users will find it more difficult to find the drugs and will be more cautious about selling. They will be concerned about who is working with police and who is not. They will take their business elsewhere, where it is less complicated.”

Williams also wanted to show Waynesboro residents how closely they work with surrounding departments. By bringing in officers from sheriff offices in Burke and Richmond counties, the Thomson and Wadley police departments, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and others, the drug dealers would realize there are few places to hide, he said.

Sgt. Jerry Blash, Waynesboro’s chief investigator, said Lightning was unprecedented for Waynesboro in recent years. Since beginning plans in January, narcotics and investigators have worked closely with informants to get the warrants they needed.

When it was time to execute, seven teams of at least eight officers spread out across Waynesboro and rushed in simultaneously, making all the arrests without incident.

It might have been the first sting operation of its kind, Blash said, but will not be the last.

“The next one will be bigger,” he said. “We will have more information and more evidence.”

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Patty-P 04/23/12 - 07:52 pm
They will probably take their

They will probably take their business to S. Augusta, where it is less complicated.

REDRIDER 04/24/12 - 07:27 am
Only six people and 60

Only six people and 60 Lawman.

my.voice 04/24/12 - 07:50 am
I appreciate the effort and

I appreciate the effort and applaud the bravery, but to stem this tide you have to get much higher up in the organization. Dealing with these street level punks is not going to resolve anything, there are a hundred more waiting in the wings.

You have to cut off the head. And the head isn't in Waynesboro.

augustahistorybuff 04/24/12 - 08:40 am
Strength in numbers, my

Strength in numbers, my friends, that's the reason Waynesboro and others departments work together in the operation. The show of force will deter criminals in their activities.

Chief Williams has been a God send to the people of Waynesboro. There are few out in the field that has the experience and wisdom that he does. Look at crime stats from the time he took office a year ago and those of his former predecessor. People talk about "they should do this" or "they should do that", when they know not of the experience of the Chief or Assistant Chief.

Small times for small towns are over. One can't sit outside of a lager metropolitan area and expect there to be no trickledown effect from the crime that is just around the corner from you. When large departments work with smaller ones, it produces a domino effect in the area for each criminal arrested.

Waynesboro has its own criminal "heads" and those have to be separated from the problem(s) to get to the root. It starts somewhere with this being only one operation to be followed by more. The people of Waynesboro deserve the same life style free of crime and protection by law enforcement as anyone else, whether it's a small town or large city.

Keep up the good fight and stay safe.

JRC2024 04/24/12 - 09:11 am
Chief Williams, I liked you

Chief Williams, I liked you from the day I met you at your home off Oakley Pirkle in Martinez and the next one in Evans. In my opinion you are a great leader and a very fine man and are doing the right thing for the people of Waynesboro. Catch all those degenerates from wherever they come. Tell your mother hello for me.

Itsallnew11 04/24/12 - 09:13 am
Thank you augustahistorybuff

Thank you augustahistorybuff for your educated and informed comment. Chief Williams was and has been a God send to the community of Waynesboro since he was first employed there many years ago. He was raised in our community and has returned to our community to take it back from the streets that have taken over. We applaud you Chief Williams for your hardwork, tenacity, dedication and love you have for our community and hometown.

Many prayers are with you and your staff as you take back the streets and make it a safe and welcoming environment for all to enjoy.

hon_10 04/24/12 - 11:36 am
South Augusta is not the only

South Augusta is not the only area saturated with crime. It's just the only area that is heavily populated with African Americans and the media wants everyone to believe that this is where everything happens. There are decent families that works hard everyday to provide for their family. Most of the time neighborhoods are spoiled due to individuals who moves in without any respect for themselves, others, nor property. We should not think of ourselves highly than others.

Great job Chief Williams and the Waynesboro Dept.!!!!

jackrussell 04/24/12 - 12:55 pm
Could the crime in South

Could the crime in South Augusta be related to all the section 8 vouchers for rental properties there? Hmmm?

sueboo418 04/24/12 - 01:01 pm
Patti-P, S. Augusta ain't

Patti-P, S. Augusta ain't alone. West Augusta is big time into the drug scene!

akmoose 04/24/12 - 01:13 pm
I have been honored to be a

I have been honored to be a part of the first Citizens Police Academy under the leadership and direction of both Chief Williams and Major Mary Bennett. I assure you, this small town is led by BIG dogs and they are in the fight. Richmond and Columbia Counties are looking to implement some of the programs that Chief Williams has created, such as the Citizens on Patrol. His record speaks volumes and it is a privilege to know him.

TK3 04/24/12 - 04:29 pm
The "message" often is "pay

The "message" often is "pay up" and shows prohibition doesn't work!

Conservative Man
Conservative Man 04/24/12 - 05:01 pm
I'd take an Alphonso

I'd take an Alphonso Williams, who isn't scared to bust ANYONE dealing, rather than the law enforcement types who spend more time on "photo-op" type criminal investigations which really accomplish very little on the street level.. It's the broken window syndrome people....We catch you? You're busted....period...
To those that say prohibition doesn't work?...I agree. But as long as it's illegal,.....IT'S ILLEGAL...Don't like it? Change the law or don't do it...simple...

itsanotherday1 04/24/12 - 07:03 pm
Sounds like Chief Williams is

Sounds like Chief Williams is the kind of guy needed for sheriff in ARCo.

KUTBUDDY 04/25/12 - 01:31 am
I guess you gonna let patty-p

I guess you gonna let patty-p get away with that comment AC?

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