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Weekend crackdown nets 233 arrests

NORCROSS - A group of 140 police officers was a formidable opponent for outlaws, drunkards and crooks during a weekend crackdown, police reported Monday.

Police netted 233 total arrests - 53 on felony charges - during a three-day detail coined "Operation Conscious Community." Officers worked on foot, bicycles and in police cruisers to total nearly 1,000 traffic stops and 10 road checks near Norcross.

The effort came about by community concern in general, not by a rise in specific crimes, police said.

Officers nabbed 22 drunken drivers, 42 wanted people and took two weapons off the streets, Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli said.

Their focus was the police department's West Precinct, a boot-shaped swath of southwest Gwinnett encompassing the Norcross area and bordering DeKalb and Fulton counties. It includes major thoroughfares and known drug channels such as Interstate 85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard.

"Business owners and citizens welcomed the increased presence and were thankful for the department's extra efforts," West Precinct commander Maj. John Strickland said of the detail, which ended Sunday.

Most of the department's specialized units, including the DUI and gang task forces, the crime prevention unit and highway interdiction team, were involved. The Sheriff's Department and the Department of Probation and Parole, along with interpreters from the District Attorney's Office, pitched in.

Gwinnett police Chief Charles Walters said similar initiatives will happen across the county, as the concerns of residents dictate.

"Utilizing all resources available and working together with other agencies proved to make a positive impact on the community," Walters said.