Across the area

Harlem officers can use Tasers

Officers of the Harlem Department of Public Safety will begin carrying Tasers today.

A policy allowing the six department officers to use Tasers for combative and threatening suspects was approved unanimously by the Harlem City Council at Monday night's monthly meeting.

Tasers fire two probes that pierce the skin and transmit 50,000 volts of electrical pulses into the body for five seconds. The device temporarily incapacitates someone by taking away muscle control.

According to the department's policy, only combative suspects who pose a physical threat to themselves, others or the officer can be shot with a Taser. Harlem officers also carry OC spray.

The department purchased six Tasers for $600 each last fall. All six officers have attended operator and instructor training from Taser International.

Man is accused of molesting 15-year-old

An Augusta man who picked up a 15-year-old girl from her home and drove her to a motel to have consensual sex early Monday has been charged with child molestation, according to Richmond County Sgt. Richard Roundtree.

Donald Harden, 30, of the 500 block of Aiken Street, was a friend of the girl's family, Sgt. Roundtree said.

He left with the girl at about 3 a.m. Monday and returned about five hours later, Sgt. Roundtree said.

The girl's mother, who had reported her daughter missing, alerted police afterward.

Pitts resigns seat on aviation commission

Terry Pitts, the legislative appointee to the Augusta General Aviation Commission, resigned at Monday's monthly meeting.

He said he was leaving because of a recent move to Columbia County. He said he would miss working with the other members of the commission and was grateful for his time on the panel.

Also Monday, the commission approved allowing the Augusta Utilities Administration to use the airport's easement for a new water line. The agreement, if approved by the Augusta-Richmond County Commission, will pay the airport $29,165.

Fire at home sends 2 people to hospital

An early morning house fire in Evans sent a woman and her son to Medical College of Georgia Hospital for evaluation, according to Martinez Fire Department spokeswoman Honey Shore.

Fire investigators think the fire began at about 2 a.m. in the woman's garage in the 600 block of Chimney Hill Circle, but they are not sure how it started, she said. It does not appear that foul play was involved.

Officials investigate early morning fire

Officials with the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department are investigating a fire that started at 1015 13th Ave. at about 4:30 a.m., according to Lt. G.B. Hannan.

Lt. Hannan said people were inside during the fire but that everyone got out safely.

A preliminary investigation suggests the fire was accidental, possibly caused by wiring, he said.

Police tackle man with gun inside pants

An Augusta man was arrested at the Silver Bullet Lounge at 2423 Milledgeville Road early Sunday after a patron told police the man had pulled up his shirt to show a pistol in the waist of his pants, according to a Richmond County sheriff's report.

Christopher Garcia, 23, of the 2500 block of Milledgeville Road, is charged with carrying a concealed weapon and obstruction of an officer, the report said.

When deputies attempted to speak with Mr. Garcia, he began to reach inside his jeans - prompting them to wrestle him to the floor. They found a loaded pistol in his pants, the report said.

Asphalt paving will close road during day

Dodge Lane in Columbia County will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., starting today and continuing until March 6.

The closure is for asphalt paving of the road. Motorists are asked to use an alternate route.

- From staff reports