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Chief Mark J. Becker, East Chicago, Indiana Police Department today released the following information:
On August 15, 2013 at approximately 5:50pm, a vehicle occupied Timothy Pearson,
34 years of age and Kevin Rhodes, 40 years of age, was curbed by an officer assigned to the department’s recently established “STOP Team”. The officer had been patrolling the area of Guthrie and Deodar Streets, East Chicago, Indiana when he recognized Pearson to be in the vehicle. The officer had prior knowledge of the existence of an arrest warrant was on file for Pearson and proceeded to curb the vehicle.
Pearson’s arrest warrant was based on a recent traffic stop made earlier this week, again initiated by a STOP Team officer, who at that time had found him to be in possession of marijuana. Rhodes was also found to have outstanding arrest warrants on file with East Chicago Police as well as with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Both Pearson and Rhodes are residents of East Chicago.
At the time of the traffic stop last night, as the officer approached the vehicle, he observed a clear plastic bag containing a green leaf like substance, consistent in appearance with that of marijuana, to be sitting on top of the gear shift control. Both suspects were taken into custody.
As a result of the investigation, STOP Team officers executed a search warrant at 4016 Grand Blvd. As the officers approached the residence, they noted a strong smell of marijuana, which was detectable from standing outside the residence.
Upon entry into the residence, Adrian Paynes, female, 34 years of age, was found to be present. The ensuing search found approximately 11 pounds of marijuana, two loaded hand guns, over $12,000 in US Currency and several television sets that are suspected to have been stolen from locations yet unknown. Paynes was taken into custody and is facing related charges.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has joined in the investigation. A decision will be made in the near future as to perhaps seeking federal charges.
Chief Becker commended the actions of all involved, from those involved in the traffic stops, to the detectives who executed the search warrant. Becker also stated his gratitude for the assistance provided by the ATF, the United States Attorney’s Office and the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office.
Additionally, Chief Becker noted that recently area law enforcement agencies have had several discussions as to how to deal with increased murders, gang presence and other types of violent crime. Those discussions are continuing and new initiatives will soon appear. Although new ideas and methods are welcome, as is evidenced in this investigation, increasing traffic enforcement is a very basic and effective manner to help reduce the violence the Region has faced. As of July 1, 2013 the East Chicago Police Department has already exceeded the total traffic stops made for all of 2012.
Research has proven that one of the simplest ways to reduce crime is to stop those who drive poorly. People who commit serious crimes oftentimes make for poor drivers. If we remain aggressive and stop would be criminals for minor traffic issues, we will positively impact our crime rate. The STOP Team is one such initiative that the department has deployed in furtherance of increasing a very visible police presence in the city.
The STOP Team is an aggressive patrol based initiative that the department initiated in April of this year. Those assigned to the unit are expected to deal with any and all public safety issues that may arise. Those issues range from dealing with speeding in school zones to dealing with those who would opt to use locations in East Chicago to distribute illegal drugs.
Through July, over the course of just 3 ½ months, the team has executed nearly 800 traffic stops, made 137 arrests and continue efforts to reach out to the community to gain their trust and assistance in addressing matters such as that described in this release. The activities of this team coupled with the diligence of all of our officers and support personnel, are very much responsible for the 18% reduction in violent crime during the first 6 months of 2013 compared to the same period of 2012.
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