by Mitchell Kirk
The Logansport Police Department saw a drop in total calls for service in 2012 from 2011, with arrests and driving while intoxicated charges declining while traffic citations rose significantly.
The increase in citations, warnings and drug arrests came even as the department spent most of the last 18 months short staffed.
According to a report compiled by the LPD, there were a total of 17,582 calls for service in 2012, down 762 from the 18,347 in 2011.
Of these calls for service, 672 of them were for adult arrests, down 88 from the previous year’s 760. Charges for operating while intoxicated decreased as well, down 23 from last year for a total of 140.
While Logansport Police Chief Mike Clark said he couldn’t say exactly what led to these decreases, he said it was possible they could be attributed to increasing awareness of police presence throughout the city.
“Educating the people and constant view of the officers maybe would be a deterrent,” Clark said. “I hope a combination of all those would’ve contributed to the decline.”
Clark said educating the public on operating while intoxicated comes not only from the local level, but the state level as well, like the state-sponsored anti drunk driving advertisements that play on television and the radio.
Clark presented the report at a recent Logansport Board of Public Works and Safety meeting, where Mayor Ted Franklin also noted raising awareness could have led to the decline in driving while intoxicated charges.
“Pretty telling numbers,” Franklin said. “It’s interesting that driving while intoxicating is down by 23. Maybe the word’s getting out. I hope that’s the reason.”
Despite total adult arrests decreasing, drug arrests rose by 22 in 2012 for a total of 211. While Clark said this number fluctuates, he added the drug sting that took place last summer could have affected this increase.
Last July, 29 suspects were arrested throughout counties in Indiana and Illinois on federal and state felony drug charges by a strike team made up of state and local agencies. After the team seized 13 pounds of marijuana, amounts of LSD and cocaine, firearms and $34,000 in cash, cars and jet skis, it was considered to be one of the largest drug stings in recent Cass County history.
“I know enforcement has been stepped up,” Clark said. “We have a drug task force, in addition to our officers that work the road, that make drug arrests.”
Two significant increases can be found in traffic citations, which rose by 232 in 2012 for a total of 741, and traffic warnings, which rose by 290 for a total of 1,111.
“Our department writes a lot of citations and warnings,” Clark said. “It’s just from our guys out there running traffic and doing the best possible job they can.”
These increases came despite the LPD being short staffed for what Clark estimated to be the past 18 months.
“Any time you’re short I think it has an effect,” Clark said. “The numbers could always be better, but I’m proud of the job the guys do and I think they represent the police department and the citizens very well.”
Clark added the number of officers has never dropped below 35 during this time, with 40 being the amount the department needs to be fully staffed.
“We’re in the process of trying to get those numbers filled and hopefully we’ll have that done by the end of the year,” Clark said.
The department recently hired an officer and Clark said there are currently two applicants going through medical screening. Should the two be hired, it would put the department at 39 officers.
Calls for animal control was also an element in Clark’s report, which dropped by 45 in 2012 for a total of 1,130.
Brian Hyder, animal control officer for the city and county, said he didn’t have any definitive reasons for the decline but speculated it could have something to do with fluctuating population numbers.
“I can’t verify as far as why, but there are a lot of people moving out of town,” Hyder said. “The more I look around, the more I notice more houses going up for sale.”
While the U.S. Census Bureau has yet to release numbers for 2012, it does have information revealing a population decrease of 66 for Logansport between 2010 and 2011.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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