To the editor:

I read a commentary from Francisco Yelamo in the Nov. 28-Dec. 11 edition of the Sandy Springs Reporter. He responded to Councilwoman Ashley Jenkins. His comment: “With the exception of a few police officers and police station employees, you have a contaminated police department.”

I have to give him the benefit of the doubt, which is to say that he is woefully uninformed to say the least. To say the department is contaminated means to me that perhaps he should turn off the TV, open the blinds and step outside once in a while into the real world and at least take an educated look at the subject before he condemns it.

The Sandy Springs Police Department will again show a reduction in overall Part 1 crimes this year. The department has achieved state certification in record time and will most likely reach national accreditation in a fraction of the time most departments take to reach that level.

The traffic unit was responsible in part for the drastic reduction in fatalities for the past two years. Partly responsible for this was the work done by the H.E.A.T. Unit, funded through the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. These units target aggressive driving and impaired driving.

The criminal investigation unit has set records in finding and arresting burglary suspects — not only closing cases, but clearing up dozens of outstanding related burglaries. The crime-suppression unit has been responsible for arresting a number of street-level thugs, clearing cases from robberies to sexual assaults.

The Sandy Springs Police Department gang unit, in the short amount of time it has been in existence, has identified, addressed and cleared dozens of gang-related crimes, from robberies to participation in such street-gang activities as graffiti.

None of this would be possible without the backbone of the department, the Sandy Springs Police Uniform Division, providing coverage, enforcement and support for the residents of Sandy Springs. These officers do an incredible job to get the task accomplished. It is often unnoticed and many times dangerous.

This year saw many changes in the department with personnel, including the resignation of the chief of police and one major. Those were personnel issues that were dealt with, and once concluded, the department again moved forward. In the coming months you will see a number of productive changes and strategies that will involve the department using and partnering with both the residential and business communities to reduce crime and enhance the “community policing concept” in Sandy Springs.

The Police Department in Sandy Springs continues to provide excellent police service in addressing crime and traffic issues. Although I appreciate Mr. Yelamo’s comments and concerns, I would like to offer a good piece of advice when using such language as “contaminated”: Do your homework.

Steve Rose
Lt. Steve Rose is the public information officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department. However, this letter represents only his personal opinion.