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"Quality of Life" task force strikes trailer parks

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Clayton County Police led a task force on a sweep through three mobile home parks in Jonesboro, seizing drugs, cars and cash, and handing out code citations.

In four and a half hours Saturday, 128 code enforcement citations and 12 traffic tickets were handed out on Museum Circle, west of Tara Boulevard, during the "Safe Community Initiative."

County police, the Code Enforcement Department, Animal Control, Clayton County Community Development, the Public Health Department, the Clayton County Fire Department and the Clayton County Correctional Institute joined forces to sweep the neighborhood from 3:30 to 8 p.m., as part of the police-led, "quality of life" initiative.

"We're trying to take a more proactive stance on these neighborhoods that aren't safe for children, and that are a detriment to the citizens who live in Clayton County," said Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner.

At 8 p.m., Saturday, the police swept the three trailer parks with special operations and narcotic units. The second phase of the operation ended at about midnight, Turner said. Officers arrested 12 people, seizing more than six pounds of marijuana and five ounces of cocaine, valued at more than $31,000. They also seized two vehicles and $2,400 in cash.

Five trailers were condemned and a number of residents were given orders to stop building additions to mobile homes, Turner said. Some of the residents were building room additions to their trailers, without permits, Turner said.

"The parks are deplorable down there," Turner said. "They're living in conditions that they shouldn't be allowed to live in."

The citations were given to the residents. If the residents don't fix the problems, citations will be forwarded to the parks' owners. If the owners don't respond to the problem, Turner said, the county will take out liens on the properties.

The three parks are occupied predominantly by Hispanic residents, and are known for severe flooding. The fire department used boats to evacuate the neighborhood during heavy rains at least twice in 2006.