Sweep targets guns, drugs

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Rocky Mount Police Officer E.J. Rauen, right, administers a breath test for alcohol to a motorist with the assistance of N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement Special Agent Scott Young, center, during a traffic stop Thursday on Pender Street during Operation All Hands on Deck.


Staff Writer

Friday, July 28, 2017

All hands were on deck Thursday evening in Rocky Mount for a joint law enforcement sweep to get guns off the city’s streets.

Twin Counties law enforcement agencies including the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office, Nash County Sheriff’s Office, Rocky Mount Police Department, Tarboro Police Department and Pinetops Police Department teamed up with the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement and the State Bureau of Investigation for a sweep of Rocky Mount dubbed Operation All Hands on Deck.

Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinston said planning for Thursday’s sweep started only a week ago but many agencies came on board quickly to make the operation a success. Atkinson thanked Rocky Mount Police Chief James Moore for offering his department’s officers to the operation.

“When I asked for that help, Chief Moore did not hesitate to help,” Atkinson said.

The five-hour operation yielded a number of traffic stops that resulted in citations and arrests, including one stop conducted at the intersection of Arlington Street and Sutton Road that netted a drug bust. According to law enforcement officials, the traffic stop resulted in the arrest of Christopher Turner for possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia that included syringes. Cameron Toney, the car’s driver, was cited for driving with no operator’s license.

Other traffic stops resulted in citations for speeding, drunk driving, weapons possession and other charges. While arrests were made during Thursday’s operation, the evening was not solely about putting people behind bars, officials said.

Atkinson said that the joint operation was also about protecting, serving and reaching out to local residents such as Randolph Battle, who said he appreciated what the agencies were doing.

“This is a long time due,” Battle said. “Seeing (the sheriff’s office) working with the Rocky Mount Police Department is especially a good start. For these agencies to be out here, it will definitely make the city safer. I am so glad to see (law enforcement) working together.”

Atkinson said the community support was moving.

“It is meaningful and gratifying to know people appreciate what we’re doing. It is a team effort,” Atkinson said. 

Atkinson said with teamwork, more operations like Thursday’s could be coordinated throughout the city.

“No one agency has the resources to do it alone,” Atkinson said.

Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Kevin West said the final numbers on the sweep were unavailable because the operation ran late into the night.