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Covington Police Department arrests two suspects in rash of entering auto incidents
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COVINGTON — The Covington Police Department has made two arrests in connection with more than 70 entering auto incidents that occurred earlier this month inside the city and in unincorporated Newton County.

According to the CPD, Officer Wesley Couch was patrolling in the area of Floyd and Mill streets on Sept. 19 at about 3 a.m. when he spotted two individuals wearing all black clothing. Officer Couch conducted field interviews of the men, which resulted in one being placed under arrest for giving a false name.

The CPD determined that the two men matched the descriptions of suspects who entered approximately 35 vehicles in the city limits since the Labor Day weekend and another 22 vehicles outside the city limits.

Those arrested and charged are Tremayne Dushawn Hill, 18, of Nixon Circle, Covington, and Mekhi Izaah Nickols, 18, also of Nixon Circle. According to the CPD, the pair faces a combined 30 counts of entering auto in the city.

Nickols also faces a charge of theft by taking — auto, and Hill faces a charge of giving a false name. Both are being held at the Newton County Detention Center, and additional charges are anticipated.

Detectives Sgt. Slade McCullough and Julie English and Detective Mark Joyner conducted the investigation for the city.

Editor's note: This article was updated Sept. 24, 2021, to correct the number of entering autos reported in unincorporated Newton County in September.

Hydrants in downtown Covington getting a new look
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COVINGTON — Fire hydrants in downtown Covington are shedding their utilitarian appearance and taking on a look with a lot more personality.

As part of Covington’s Public Art Initiative for Neighborhood Transformation (PAINT) project, area artists are volunteering their time to paint the hydrants with a wide variety of themes and colors.

DJ Waller, tourism coordinator for the city, said the project is part of an overall effort to beautify Covington, starting with the hydrants in the downtown entertainment district, which includes many of the more highly-trafficked areas. Next, Waller said, volunteers will move on to paint the utility boxes in the area.

“We are just trying to beautify the area and make people feel happy and proud of Covington,” he said.

Waller said in there are more than 60 hydrants identified for the project, and 33 have been claimed so far, which means there is still time for other volunteers to get in on the project. The city provides the paint and other supplies. Anyone who is interested should call Waller at 678-212-6458.

Rockdale County purchasing two new ambulances to back up National EMS
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CONYERS — The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the purchase of two 2022 Ford E-350 XLT Type 3 ambulances for use by the Rockdale County Fire Department at a cost of $261,192. The ambulances will be used to back up National EMS, which contracts with the county to provide ambulance service.

At the BOC work session on Sept. 21, Post 2 Commissioner Dr. Doreen Williams asked to be brought up to speed on the purchase, stating that the county does not own ambulances and has contracted the ambulance service out to National EMS.

BOC Chair Oz Nesbitt Sr. replied that one of the things Marian McDaniel implemented when she became Rockdale County fire chief in December was to try to find a way to help support National EMS.

“Because National services Rockdale, Walton and Newton, a lot of times when dispatchers are putting out a call for service, a lot of those ambulances are tied up,” Nesbitt said. “If you have an accident in the middle of the road, instead of us having to wait such a delayed time to give service and care to a patient in the middle of the road, we can send one of our vehicles to simply transport the person. A good number of our firefighters are paramedics. So it is really about saving lives.

“These (county ambulances) will not be the primary,” he continued. “National EMS will still be the primary ambulance provider here in Rockdale County, but I think it is smart on our part, particularly with what we’ve experienced throughout COVID, to have that back up.”

McDaniel agreed that this is something new for Rockdale County, but she added that it is a way for the Fire Department to enhance its service delivery.

“We do contract with National EMS, and we’re not trying to replace National,” she said. “The whole goal is to enhance our service delivery. Often times nationwide when you dial 911, the Fire Department arrives first. We have increased our service delivery to include IV’s, administering medicines for asthma, cardiac arrest, and stroke. So now, having these medical first responder units with transport capabilities, in the event we are on call with a heart attack and National has an extended time or they’re busy, and mutual aid is not available, then we will have the ability to transport.”

Post 1 Commissioner Sherri Washington recalled at least two occasions last year when an extra ambulance was needed.

“One, I was at the gym when a lady had a heart attack, and there was an incident where someone had a heart attack in my subdivision. The Fire Department got there first in both instances. The lady that had the heart attack at the gym had to wait to get to the hospital because they didn’t have an ambulance available, but the Fire Department was there.

“The gentleman who had the heart attack in my neighborhood, there were fire trucks lined up and down my street. Once again, that person had to wait. The firefighters did what they could, but they couldn’t transport. So I definitely see the need for these.”

McDaniel added that 68-70% of emergency calls nationwide are medical.

“All fire departments’ primary role right now is providing EMS care,” she said, “So why wouldn’t we try to do it the best way that we can.”

If approved at the BOC meeting on Sept. 28, the two ambulances are scheduled to be delivered April 2022.