The mayor of the city of Guyton and a staunch defender of the city’s police department called 911 Wednesday morning to report a ‘Burglary in Progress,’ but the Guyton Police Department was closed.
According to public records obtained from the Effingham County Sheriff’s 911 center, on the morning of June 7 a call was made by a person who claimed to be the owner of both Guyton Mini Storage and Guyton Pet Lodge to report a burglary in progress. Russ Deen, who was elected in November 2019, owns both businesses, the former with Councilman Marshall Reiser. The call Wednesday was to report that Deen was witnessing an individual on camera attempt to break open a lock at the mini storage facility.
There was no Guyton police office on duty at the time of the call for service, so Effingham County dispatch had to call the police chief via the phone to request the agency respond. In the meantime, however, three Effingham County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the call, as they have done on numerous occasions during the tenure of Police Chief James Breletic.
Ultimately, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office apprehended the individual suspected of burglary. According to the CAD report, Guyton Police Officer Williams showed up after the apprehension to serve the individual with Criminal Trespass. It was ECSO, however, who transported the individual to the jail while GPD reported their status back to dispatch as ‘available.’
According to the CAD report:
9:07 a.m., a call came into 911 to report a burglary in progress.
9:08 a.m., Because no GPD officers were on duty, ECSO deputies were immediately dispatched and began searching the area for vehicles and individuals matching the description.
9:12 a.m., ECSO deputies tell dispatch they’re ‘in the area’
9:14 a.m., Chief James Breletic told dispatch he would “be en route shortly.”
9:22 a.m., another ECSO deputy makes a traffic stop on the individual matching the vehicle description of the car seen at the mini storage facility. This takes place at the intersection of Old Louisville Road and Gracen Road. Two additional ECSO deputies arrived on scene before a GPD officer made it to the scene of the traffic stop.
9:28 a.m., GPD Officer Don Williams tells dispatch he will be en route.
9:29 a.m., Chief Breletic arrives on scene and tells dispatch he will have the male individual served with Criminal Trespass. Dispatch attempted to follow-up with the Chief for a status check approximately an hour later, but there was ‘no answer.’
Both Deen and Reiser have been police department loyalists during their elected terms and have repeatedly dismissed concerns brought forth by the public both privately and public about the agency over the last three years.
Most recently, the Guyton Police Department asked for a budget increase despite the fact that their call volumes have plummeted and they’re conducting considerably less proactive policing efforts. The budget has ballooned more than 200% since Breletic took over in 2020.
This Burglary call came four days after the one year anniversary of a murder which took place in the city of Guyton and GPD was the last agency to respond to the call. Similarly, the agency took 37 minutes to respond to a home invasion call on Christmas Eve, at which time a woman was found deceased in her home.