Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Marietta Police Aim High with Gun Safety Seminars

By: Nick Theriot MARIETTA, Ga. – You might be surprised to know which type of non-emergency phone call the Marietta Police Department receives most. These calls voice a legitimate concern, for both the police and the citizen caller. The calls are so frequent that they even caught the attention of Chief Dan Flynn. Gun safety questions and issues regarding the law are the most common. Being the subject of countless calls, something regarding firearm safety had to happen. To meet this need, the Marietta Police Department initiated gun safety seminars. The latest, held Feb. 16, drew a crowd of nearly 200 people in the jam-packed Marietta City Council chambers. Additionally, Kennesaw State University and Cobb County police were present to observe. “This is a subject we receive calls on all the time,” said Marietta Police Public Information Officer Jennifer Murphy. The idea for the seminars, the first of which was held in November 2010, originated with Flynn. According to Murphy the chief immediately asked the training unit to carryout a firearm awareness campaign. “The positive reception and large turnout of the first seminar led to the second,” said Murphy. “Due to the overwhelming success of the second, it would be likely more will be held.” Unofficially, the program is slated to have a third seminar and possibly more. Police officials would not yet confirm this. If past success dictates future action, Marietta will be offering more seminars and expanding this program. The Marietta Police training unit conducted the firearm lectures and demonstrations. Officers gave the basics of firearm safety, making it clear to the audience the serious nature of owning a firearm. Various shotguns and pistols by different manufacturers were displayed. Mossberg shotguns and GLOCK pistols took a majority of the spotlight and praise from both officers and citizens. Less-than-lethal alternatives were also demonstrated. Officers emphasized a gun is not the only choice. Their basic premise: If you don’t think you can handle it, don’t handle it. To ensure the safety of citizens preferring not to have a firearm, alternatives were given. Demonstrations of civilian model stun guns and pepper spray units were shown. “This program has been developed to educate the citizens on current firearm laws and weapon safety. We want to equip citizens with the knowledge and skills so they feel confident owning and handling a firearm or weapon if they choose to do so,” said Sgt. Jake King of the Marietta Police training unit. Engaging the community in a meaningful way is often made difficult by the nature of police and community interaction. Most of the time police are responding to calls. The seminars are the police department’s effort to participate and get involved in the community, according to a prepared police media release. “Giving the citizens education is priceless. With the essentials of safety and law publicly taught and offered, perhaps there will be a drop in crime,” said John Vallerie of Marietta. This could be true. According to FBI statistics from 2006 and 2008, Marietta’s largest category of crime is larceny and auto and home robbery. Statistics suggest that more armed citizens and households could enhance these crimes’ decline. In 2010, according to, the number of current Concealed Carry Weapon licenses in Georgia is 368,987. That is approximately 3 percent of the state population and an increase over the approximately 100,000 licenses from three years ago. The success of the firearm safety seminars has drawn the attention of other police departments and law enforcement agencies. For now, Marietta will take the distinction of being one of the first cities in America that has proactively engaged and educated the public about firearms.