Arrests, Safety the Goal of Operation Total Focus - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Arrests, Safety the Goal of Operation Total Focus

David Wilson facing felony charges after running from police during Operation Total Focus David Wilson facing felony charges after running from police during Operation Total Focus
Operation Total Focus Netted 3 Felony Arrests Operation Total Focus Netted 3 Felony Arrests

It doesn't matter in which neighborhood you live, crime has been the topic on everyone's minds in Savannah.

Savannah-Chatham police wanted to make sure criminals were talking about it, too.

65 units, 5 precincts, 2 nights.  

Operation Total Focus zoomed in on the crime problem in our area and tried to make a difference with a show of force, and some good police work.  

"It's to see, saturate, educate and enforce. Saturate every area, educate every person. We come in contact with what we are doing. Is a better their quality of life issue."

That was the message from Savannah-Chatham police Sergeants before hitting the beat

"We are going to develop that connection between police and citizens."

That connection started with a News 3 ride along with Sgt Sean WIlson.

We started on the road to Liberty City.  but a simple patrol quickly turns into something much bigger.

 A man runs through a Georgia State Patrol traffic checkpoint.  the chase goes for several miles, ending with a GSP pit maneuver, the suspect out of the car, tackled by officers, and in handcuffs.

"Just a regular day. And out of the blue sky, stuff like this happens," explained Wilson.

From his pockets, a few plastic baggies with trace amounts of marijuana and a wad of cash.

The question is, why did he run?

"I just got no license, that's it. I just had a newborn baby. I'm not trying to go to jail," explained David Wilson, the suspect.

But that's exactly where he will be going, thanks to a bad decision and police work on the streets and in the skies.

"We attribute this to boots on the ground, eyes in the sky," said Savannah Police Lt. Mike Wilson.

As that investigation wraps up, we head off, and within minutes another stop, this time along Victory Drive. A suspicious car with an unusual smell coming out of it.

"Dude, our camera guy smells the weed," smiled Sgt Wilson. "What y'all doing? Having a party?"

Three men, and only one joint.

"Where's the weed at? You throw it out? Where did you throw it out at?
"When you first turned the lights on."

A thorough search of the car turns up nothing else unusual. the men are cleared and police decide to let them go this time.

Just as the car pulls away, officers make an interesting discovery, a big bag of marijuana, and more trouble for these "partiers."

Friday night closes out with one more chase, one more scene.

Turns out this man rented a car from Tennessee months ago and never brought it back.
 
A big crowd, lots of stories, but with a few good questions they find out who is responsible, and who just happened to be here.

"As long as we get cooperation from everybody it makes our job go a lot quicker," said Wilson. "So everybody who is not involved will be released quicker."

One night down, one to go.

Saturday night it's a new set of officers with similar instructions.

This night starts slower.  We swing by the traffic checkpoint, where GSP is performing DUI tests.

Savannah-Chatham Police APO Steven Bland is doing some damage control.  One scared little girl gets a teddy bear for her trouble.

"Get on the ground, do it now. On the ground. Put your hands behind your back!"

Minutes later, another set of teens aren't getting anything but handcuffs for their trouble.

Eagle 2, the police helicopter, found the suspicious car, and their light sent kids running.

They ran from a car into a backyard, where Sgt Wilson catches one, and gets backup to find the second.

"There was only 2 running, right?" Sgt Wilson asked Eagle 2.

"Get up!" said the other officers to a 3rd suspect.

"Never mind, we just got the 3rd one," explained Wilson to Eagle 2.

All 3 runners now in custody, time for Sgt. Wilson to do some investigating.

"Why you running?"
"I got scared. I've never been followed by a helicopter before."

But that may not be the whole story for these teens.
 
"I got some seasoning in my sock I was taking to my grandmother. It's not no weed or nothing," said the teenage suspect. "I swear to God on my cousin on my shirt that's seasoning."

As records are run and the car is searched, Wilson decides to smell for himself.

"Looks like parsley or oregano or something," said Wilson as he sniffs the bag. "Not Marijuana."

No marijuana, but there will still be charges for all 5 teens in and out of that car.

The end of a long but effective couple days for Savannah-Chatham Police.

"Obviously we are not out here to lock up everybody on the street," said Sgt Wilson. "We want to keep the honest ones honest and we want to let the bad guys know we are out here and we are not playing."

By the time the weekend operation was over, Savannah-Chatham police issued 111 citations, served 5 warrants, made 3 juvenile arrests, 17 misdemeanor arrests, and 3 felony arrests,

One of those arrests, the man in that chase, David Wilson. He didn't have a license, now he has four charges on his record instead.

Police call this operation a success. but aren't stopping there.

They plan more "total focus" weekends in addition to daily police work.

That way criminals will always have to be on edge.

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