SMARR, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - More than 75 law enforcement officers met in Monroe County, to talk about reducing the number of metal thefts across the state.
Police from around the state filled the room, Tuesday, at the Georgia Electrical Cooperatives Training Center. One of the organizers of the event, Chip Koplin, of Schnitzer Steel Industries says the purpose of the metal theft training is keep officers informed about recycling laws.
"Right now we're pleased to report that the incidences of metal theft are down substantially," said Koplin." There's been a lot of out reach with law enforcement work with the recycling community in Macon. There's also been the passage of some laws with the Georgia General Assembly that have helped with that."
Members of the Georgia Recyclers Association Outreach Program want to maintain the low number of metal thefts in the state, according to Koplin.
A Macon police detective was among the officers at the training center. He said Macon metal recyclers are cooperating with the city's police department.
"The local recyclers in Macon have really taken steps to improve their record keeping and in keeping up with the law," said Detective John Horne. "They have always been really instrumental in helping us to apprehend the criminals that are responsible for the thefts in the area."
Horne works in the Macon Police Department Property Unit.
He said thieves tend to steal copper wiring of air conditioning units from homes and businesses. They also steal catalytic converters from cars, according to Horne.
Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Shawn Jones addressed the crowd of law enforcement officers about how metal theft affected his city.
According to Jones, Atlanta there was a rise in metal theft during the economic downturn which left the city with vacant foreclosed homes.
"We saw a large number of air conditioning coil theft, because, they would take those to the recyclers for money," said the Deputy Chief.
Essentially after the bill was past in July of 2012, and was signed into law by the governor. Basically, what we saw was a 32 percent drop in precious metal theft in the city of Atlanta."
Representatives from several electric companies also attended the metal theft training to teach the officers how the companies could fall victim to metal thefts. Law enforcers also learned safety measures in the event of an electrical issue following a theft.