Jeffrey Melvin Bishop, 48, was arrested by Dalton Police on Wednesday evening on charges that included kidnapping after parents and children at Al Rollins Park reported that Bishop was harassing children on the playground. Witnesses say Bishop touched at least two children, grabbing one boy by the arms from behind and holding him against his will until the boy’s father intervened.
The incident happened shortly after 6 p.m. at Al Rollins Park on Threadmill Road. Witnesses reported that a white male, later identified as Bishop, started approaching kids in the playground area. One family told police that Bishop was chasing their three-year old daughter around near a swing set, telling the girl she was pretty and to come to him. The girl’s mother told him to leave. The girl’s mother also reported that she saw Bishop touch another boy before he approached her daughter, but that boy and his family left the park before officers arrived. A short time later, Bishop approached a group of boys and tried to talk to them, but the boys ignored him. A 10-year old boy told officers that Bishop grabbed him by the wrist and tried to get him to go into the woods with him. The boy refused. Bishop then grabbed a nine-year old boy by his arms as he was tying his shoes. The boy struggled but could not get away until his father confronted Bishop, telling him that police were being called. Bishop then turned and ran away towards Thornton Avenue, officials said.
Responding Dalton officers were able to get a description of Bishop and located him a short distance away walking on Thornton Avenue near Cedar Street. Officers determined that he was intoxicated. After interviewing witnesses further, officers arrested Bishop and charged him with battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, cruelty to children in the first degree, and pedestrian under the influence. At the jail, Bishop was also served with a Whitfield County warrant for failure to appear.
Dalton Police are asking anyone who may have had contact with Bishop to please contact either Officer Katia Gonzalez at 706-278-9085 (dial 9 and enter extension 545) or Detective Brian Shirley at 706-278-9085 (dial 9 and enter extension 189).