08/29/13 — Suspects identified by GPAC

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Suspects identified by GPAC

By John Joyce
Published in News on August 29, 2013 1:46 PM

Many of the suspects arrested last week in a countywide drug roundup have been notified by Goldsboro Partners Against Crime that they will have a final chance to turn their lives around or face far more serious trouble with the law.

Many of those arrested in the drug raids posted bond the same day. Since then, the GPAC coordinator, Goldsboro Police Sgt. Theresa Chiero, has notified more than a dozen of the suspects of another GPAC call-in to be held at City Hall.

The GPAC program, which held similar call-ins in March and July, brings together various representatives of the law enforcement community, including federal agents, representatives of the Goldsboro Housing Authority and education leaders, with repeat offenders to warn the latter in no uncertain terms that unless they change their ways they will face stiffer sentences if convicted of drug dealing or any other crime.

Also attending the call-ins were people who have been victims of crime or former criminals who have managed to redirect their lives and want to warn others of the consequences of continuing to break the law.

The GPAC program already has held two call-ins at City Hall, with most of those in attendance currently on probation.

"They will face the same consequences," Ms. Chiero said, meaning the potential for stiffer sentences and perhaps even federal prosecution.

The consequences also include being added to a national database that will alert authorities anytime someone who has been through the program comes in contact with law enforcement, anywhere in the country, for any reason.

Likewise, the agency checking up on the offender will be alerted that the subject has been identified by GPAC as someone who has been warned that they are facing their last strike. Law enforcement will take a harsher stance and a prosecutor will ask for lengthier sentences if they know the suspect has been through the notification process.

The offenders at the call-ins were forced as a condition of their probation to fill out a needs resource sheet and turn it in to their probation officer. Those sheets were then forwarded to Francine Smith, program manager at Rebuilding Broken Places, who helps line people up with community services they can use to help turn their lives around.

"With these guys, the resource sheet is optional," Ms. Chiero said.

The programs include job training and job placement assistance, even for those convicted of a felony. Other programs include education, housing, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and counseling services.

The programs are available to the public and packets containing both the needs resource sheets and information about the programs can be requested at the police department, Ms. Chiero said. Authorities have said they plan to hold GPAC call-ins about every four months as part of an effort to reduce crime in the city and county.