Item takes a ride with police

Published 2:49 pm Friday, September 24, 2010

Patrolling the streets of Picayune is not always a run and gun show.

Thursday morning the Picayune Item took a ride with Picayune Police officer Sgt. Daniel Davis, to get an idea of what a day on the police beat is like.

The ride lasted only about 3 and a half hours, but 25 year-old Davis was able to make three traffic stops for speeding, two of which received citations, and also tracked down a man suspected of driving with a suspended license.

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Davis has been with the Picayune Police Department since October of 2006, starting out on the night shift and moving to days in the past few months. Typically, nights are when the most calls come to the department, Davis said. However, each shift has pros and cons.

At night, bars in town are open, paving the way for a whole different set of incidents to respond to. Davis said that after dark most calls center around domestic disputes, vehicle burglaries and accidents. Officers also safety check points.

When the sun comes up, most of the incidents officers work concern bad checks, shoplifting and at times traffic violations and accidents.

Davis was raised in the Picayune area and said he decided to become a police officer because his father was a police officer and it involves physical activity. Since he played sports in high school, he wanted a job that would allow him to use his athletic ability. His favorite kind of police work deals with narcotic incidents. Davis said he likes the proactive nature of working narcotics calls, and at times the suspects run, giving him a chance to give chase.

“It’s one of those jobs you look forward to going to,” Davis said.

During the ride along, Davis pulled over three vehicles for speeding. The first vehicle was pulled over on Goodyear Boulevard, traveling about 10 miles faster than the speed limit. The driver was apologetic and respectful to Davis and after running her driving record, he chose to just issue her a verbal warning.

The second speeding violation occurred on Millswood, a notorious spot for speeders that want to avoid the congestion that occurs at the intersection of Mississippi Highway 43 North and U.S. Highway 11. Davis clocked a green Jeep traveling at 33 miles per hour in a 20 mile per hour zone. Davis decided to issue citations to the driver for speeding and for no proof of insurance.

After setting up in the same spot again, Davis caught yet another speeder on Millswood, also traveling about 10 miles faster than the speed limit. That driver was issued a citation, but as a warning. Davis said if the same driver is pulled over for another traffic violation while that warning citation is on record, then the driver will not only pay for the warning, but the second violation as well.

As Davis worked that traffic stop, he saw a man he suspected was driving with a suspended driver’s license. Davis said he remembered the suspect had been arrested for DUI previously and was pretty sure that his license had been suspended as a result. Davis contacted dispatch to check the status of the suspect’s license, which did come back as suspended for a previous DUI conviction. Since Davis was still working the traffic stop, the suspect, later identified as 26 year-old Lemus Haralson of 214 S. Haugh Ave., drove on out of Davis’ line of sight, for a short while.

However, after Davis finished the traffic stop, he toured the city for a while to try to run across Haralson again. However, Davis was called back to the Police Department to speak with a complainant about an issue she was having with another person allegedly spreading malicious rumors about the complainant.

After giving the complainant some advice, Davis headed back out on patrol. While traveling north on South Haugh Avenue, Davis spotted Haralson traveling south. Davis whipped his Dodge Charger patrol unit around, and caught up with Haralson in the Eagle gas station parking lot on U.S. 11.

Haralson was taken into custody for driving with a suspended driver’s license and no insurance.

The ride along was part of the Picayune Police Department’s Community Academy, which has only two more weeks left.