On the Beat with Sgt. Obester

On the Beat is written monthly by DeKalb Police Sgt. J. Obester. Lt. J.A. Ridlin is Tucker’s liaison to the DeKalb County Police Department and can be contacted by email at jaridlin@dekalbcountyga.gov or by phone at (678) 597-9040.

When I was young, every summer my parents would jam my two sisters and I into our Chevrolet Impala and head off on a road trip to Wildwood, New Jersey. While not the most exotic location in the world (wildwoodsnj.com), to me it was a wonderful place, with broad beaches and a boardwalk full of neon signs and busy arcades. I am grateful for these memories, even if my eyes would burn for days from the large amount of chlorine in our hotel pool.Beach

One of the earliest memories I have from those days is a time we were eating at my mother’s favorite restaurant, The Dolphin. My sister returned from getting something from our car and told my father she observed two people inside our vehicle. When my father went to investigate, sure enough he found a man and woman going inside the center console. The woman told my father that she was just “checking herself in the mirror”. Fortunately, nothing was stolen from us that day. Many years later, I still vividly remember this early criminal encounter.

Nowadays, it should be common sense not to leave any valuables inside your car. Unfortunately, O.C.G.A. 16-8-18, “Entering Automobile”, is still the most frequently reported crime handled by our Tucker Precinct officers. Typically, car break-ins come in small “sprees” occurring in residential neighborhoods or occasionally at one of Tucker’s hotels. As mentioned in previous On the Beat articles, these crimes can be both financially and emotionally hurtful to their victims.

It is heartbreaking to read a report of an out-of-town traveler who wakes up in the morning to find his luggage stolen or his car disabled because of a broken window. I also think back to the story told by Lt. Berg of a hardworking local waitress who left several thousand dollars in cash inside her vehicle. The cash had been intended to be a loan to a needy friend. Unfortunately, the waitress came out during a meal break to find her window broken and her money stolen.

This summer, in addition to upgrading your first aid kit (see last month’s On the Beat), I challenge you to bring one more item with you on vacation – a backpack. Inside this backpack, please place any items that you wish to keep safe such as a purse, laptop, gaming device, cash, etc. Having these items on you while you eat at a restaurant, walk down a beach, or window shop will keep them safer than leaving them in your vehicle. Even better – leave any valuable items at home!

While we all like to relax and not think about our responsibilities while out of town, a little prevention can help ensure a quiet (and crime-free) vacation.

Happy Retirement 'Coach'!Coachman

Last month, Tucker Precinct and the DeKalb County Police Department honored the service of Sergeant Steven Coachman, badge #1830. “Coach” as I call him, was my partner for many years, beginning with our stint together as members of the Interactive Community Policing team back in the 2010s. After his promotion, Sgt. Coachman and I were together again as supervisors here at Tucker Precinct’s Day Watch team. Sgt. Coachman has also worked as a supervisor in our busy Homicide/ Assault unit. Finally, after twenty-eight years of service to the citizens of Dekalb County, Sgt. Coachman has retired and turned in his duty belt. I will greatly miss Sergeant “Coach”, someone who became a true friend to me and many others in the Department. Hope to see you fishing and playing golf my brother!

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