Police Chief Andy Powell and Officer Chuck Lilley were investigating a burglary in Oakman when leads took them into virtually every city in the county rounding up suspects and making arrests. The duo arrested four people and added additional charges to one already in jail. They are still looking for one other individual who is suspected in the burglary.
The officers also recovered seven guns, some or all of which may have been stolen from area homes. Other stolen items include a truck, jewelry and electronics as well as marijuana, pills and assorted drug paraphernalia.
According to Powell and Lilley, they arrested Shane Taylor, Rodney Lindsey, Brady Kilpatrick and Johnny Wilcutt.
Another suspect, Johnny Farley, was already in custody at the Walker County Jail and the police are still looking for Tim Glaze in connection to the crimes.
“The charges range from burglary, misdemeanor and felony theft, misdemeanor and felony receiving stolen property, criminal mischief and criminal trespassing to unlawful possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia,” Lilley said.
Powell said the majority of the city’s reported crimes are theft and burglary. He vows no leniency for those arrested in Oakman, particularly those arrested on burglary, theft or drug charges.
“We’re not stopping until we get them, and I want them to know we are not playing,” Powell said. “We will work day and night until we catch you, and when we catch you, we will charge you to the fullest extent of the law.”
This was the department’s second drug arrest in less than a week, Lilley received minor injuries in a scuffle with a suspect last week who was allegedly in possession of drugs when he fled from the officer.
“We want the citizens to know that we are working hard to stop the break-ins and get their stuff back,” Powell said. “It’s taking long hours, and we’re short on manpower, but we’re committed to finding these criminals.”
The two officers said they are well aware of the public’s perception of the department, but are working to change that. When Powell came into the office, the department was not up-to-date on filing reports with the state, the department’s computer was not functioning, nor was the department’s radio system.
According to Powell and Mayor Joyce Todd, the department is now current and in compliance with state reporting laws, the computers are operational again and the city’s radio system will be back online next week.
“We’re trying our best,” Powell said. He added that he hopes to improve the department’s financial situation and be able to hire additional officers and a dispatcher in the future.
Currently the department relies on cell phones to relay calls and the cell service has been unreliable in many of the department’s coverage areas.
“The community has not felt that they had support from their police department,” Lilley said. “Now, the citizens can rest assured that their police department is working for them and is here for them. But, we need them just as much as they need us. We need their support.”
Powell, Lilley and Todd are currently developing a plan for a community forum to allow citizens to voice concerns to the department or ask questions of the officers.
“We want everybody in this city involved in this police department,” Powell said. “If they have complaints or concerns, we want to talk about it. We want everyone to know what’s going on and get involved, that’s the only way we are going to turn this around.”