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Police reach out to the community

LAWRENCEVILLE - Today through Sunday, Gwinnett police will be out in force in the West Precinct as part of what they call a continuous effort to make the county safer and address community concerns.

The detail - called Operation Conscious Community - will cover areas in District I primarily consisting of unincorporated Norcross and its major thoroughfares, Gwinnett County police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said.

Officers will patrol on foot, bikes and in squad cars to ensure maximum efficiency.

"The goal is to make contact with citizens in residential and commercial areas and to also neutralize any criminal activity," Spellman said.

Most of the department's specialized units, including the DUI and gang task forces, the Crime Prevention Unit and Highway Interdiction Team, will be involved. The Gwinnett Sheriff's Office and the Department of Probation and Parole will also participate.

With increased vigilance will likely come additional arrests, but that isn't the only purpose of the detail, police said.

"This operation will show the community that we are continuing to make a concerted effort to keep a foothold on criminal activity of all levels," West Precinct commander Maj. John Strickland said. "We also want citizens to become empowered through crime prevention education to help us drive criminals out of our communities."

While the operation will be limited to a small portion of the county, Chief Charles Walters said more areas will be covered eventually.

"I am certain this detail will be successful and look forward to conducting similar types of details in all districts of Gwinnett County," he said.