Gaston County Police Department Joins Nextdoor to Connect to Community
The Gaston County Police Department has joined Nextdoor as a public safety partner in an effort to open up lines of communication with the community and share information that impacts its residents. Nextdoor allows neighbors to connect and communicate with each other and their public safety partners such as fire, police and EMS. The department believes working together and sharing information will make Gaston County a safer place to live and work. All residents are encouraged to sign up for Nextdoor and download the mobile app. Please visit www.nextdoor.com to sign up.
If you have an emergency, please call 911. Nextdoor does not replace 911.
The Gaston County Police Department was created by Legislative Act on July 1, 1957 and began operation with a chief, a secretary and 23 sworn officers. At that time the Department was primarily responsible for providing police service to the unincorporated areas of the county. Since that time, however, additional duties and responsibilities have been given to the Gaston County Police. Today, the Department employs 136 sworn officers who provide police services to a community of approximately 90,000 residents and spanning an area of over 270 square miles that along with the unincorporated areas of Gaston County also includes providing police services to the incorporated towns of High Shoals and Spencer Mountain. In addition, the Department employs 94 civilians who provide 911 Communications and Animal Control throughout Gaston County.
Since its inception in 1957, the Department has continually grown stronger and more proficient. By 1991, the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) awarded accreditation status to the Department, making it the 190th internationally accredited police agency.
Chief Joseph Ramey is responsible for the overall operation of the entire department, which is broken down into three major divisions: Community Policing Division, Investigations Division and Communications and Animal Care and Enforcement Division.
Community Policing Division
The Community Policing Division is overseen by Assistant Chief George Osborne and is comprised primarily of uniformed officers assigned to one of four squads. Each squad is commanded by a captain. Officers work rotating, twelve-hour shifts and are supervised by a sergeant. The Community Policing Division is responsible for controlling and preventing crime through regular patrols, answering calls for service, apprehending offenders, enforcing criminal and traffic laws, conducting investigations and working with the community to solve neighborhood problems.
Also included in this Division are the K-9 Unit, community service officers, a seasonal Marine Enforcement Unit, reserve officers and two specialized response units: the Emergency Response Team and the Hazardous Devices Unit.
The Investigations Division is overseen by Assistant Chief Suzanne Mauney-Smith. The division is comprised of the Criminal Investigations Unit, Special Investigations Unit, Support Services Unit and the Professional Standards Unit.
The Criminal Investigations Unit, which includes the Crime Scene Search Unit, is responsible for investigating violent crimes, missing persons, unattended deaths, offenses involving juveniles and the processing of evidence. This unit also includes the GIS Crime Analyst.
The Special Investigations Unit is primarily responsible for narcotics investigations, but is also charged with investigating gambling and prostitution offenses.
The Support Services Unit includes the Educational Services Unit, Employee Development and Training Unit and Recruitment and Selection Unit.
The Professional Standards Unit includes the Records Unit, Accreditation Unit, Victim/Witness Coordinator Unit, Property and Evidence Unit and the Crime Analyst/Planner.
The Communications Unit provides 24-hour coverage of emergency 911 calls and radio transmissions. Captain Myron Shelor serves as the Communications Division commander and is charged with maintaining and operating the computer aided dispatch system for police, fire and medical calls within Gaston County.
The Animal Care and Enforcement Unit is divided into two supporting programs: Animal Care program and Animal Enforcement program. Captain Reid Rollins commands the Animal Enforcement program, which is responsible for responding to animal-related calls for service, enforcing animal-related laws and ordinances, investigating animal cruelty and neglect cases and reporting animal bites.
Dr. Kristine Blankenship, a licensed veterinarian serves as administrator for the Animal Care program, which is responsible for receiving, housing and caring for animals brought in by the Animal Enforcement program and those surrendered by Gaston County citizens.