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Wadley Mayor Orders Police To ‘Wing’ Burglary Suspects

April 2, 1986

WADLEY, Ga. (AP) _ The mayor who created a stir with his shoot-to-kill plan for solving Wadley’s stray dog problem now is seeking to halt a rash of burglaries with a shoot-to-wound order aimed at people.

″We told them (police) to kind of wing them a little bit from the waist down if the suspects are fleeing the scene,″ Mayor B.A. Johnson said Tuesday.

In addition to giving that order to his five-man police force, Johnson has imposed a curfew in the east Georgia town of 2,700. The curfew, from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m., went into effect last week.

Police Chief Randy Hagans said the efforts may be working. ″The last break-in we had was the day the order came out, and since then it’s been sort of quiet,″ he said.

Hagans said he and his four officers have been ″stretched pretty thin″ by an increase in crime over the past two months.

Johnson’s shoot-to-kill order for stray dogs, issued in March 1985, was never implemented. Animal rights groups intervened, helping the town set up an program that uses traps and painless injections to catch and destroy stray dogs.

Johnson said at the time that up to 200 strays were roaming the city in packs, damaging property, snapping at children and howling during the night.

A new Georgia law says officers may fire at a fleeing suspect only when the suspect is believed to possess a weapon, poses an immediate threat of physical violence or is suspected of a crime involving serious physical harm.

But Wadley City Manager E.L. Garner said Johnson ″feels that his order is still proper, even where the new law is concerned, because a suspect fleeing a policeman in the dark can surely be presumed to be carrying a weapon.″

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