Local police agencies report 2017 numbers - Republic-Times | News

Local police agencies report 2017 numbers

By on January 24, 2018 at 2:49 pm

WPD Chief Mike Douglas

Police agencies in Monroe County saw a continued increase in activity for 2017. 

The increase in law enforcement activity is understandable, considering the county’s population has increased from 22,422 residents in 1990 to 33,879 in 2015.

The Waterloo Police Department received less calls for service in 2017 but made more overall traffic stops.

The department received 11,713 calls for service last year, which is down from 12,151 calls in 2016.

However, WPD officers conducted more traffic stops in 2017 compared to the year prior: 3,952 to 3,813.

“I chalk these numbers up to just being a normal fluctuation,” Waterloo Police Chief Mike Douglas said. 

The number of retail thefts decreased dramatically to just 16 in 2017 compared to 61 in 2016. There were 90 retail theft arrests in 2015.

“We’re reactive to whoever calls us,” Douglas said in regard to retail thefts, adding that Walmart is where the bulk of the city’s retail theft complaints originate.

CPD Chief Jerry Paul

The number of meth arrests climbed in Waterloo to 10 in 2017 from just three in 2016 and two in 2015.

“It’s the drug of choice right now,” Douglas said, adding that the cheaper price of meth has added to its allure.

The number of arrests for possession of a controlled substance declined in Waterloo to eight in 2017 from 13 in 2016.

The WPD made 11 domestic battery arrests last year, which is down significantly from 22 such arrests in 2016.

Weapons arrests held relatively steady, with seven made in 2017 compared to six arrests in 2016.

The number of vehicle crashes in Waterloo decreased to 233 in 2017 from 320 crashes in 2016. 

Douglas said his department is getting back to full speed following some vacancies over the past year due to retirements, disability and relocations.

MCSD Neal Rohlfing

The Columbia Police Department again received the most calls for service in the county, with high traffic counts on I-255 and Route 3 resulting in more activity.

The department received 13,970 calls for service in 2017, which is a 2 percent increase from 13,744 calls in 2016.

CPD officers made 3,191 traffic stops last year compared to 3,401 in 2016. The overall number of arrests in Columbia dropped slightly as well, to 386 in 2017 from 402 in 2016.

Of the arrests, 55 were for driving under the influence of alcohol. That number is down from 59 DUI arrests in 2016.

The number of crashes in Columbia also decreased. There were 266 crashes in 2017 compared to 276 in 2016.

Similar to Waterloo, the number of meth arrests increased significantly in Columbia. There were 11 such arrests in 2017 compared to four in 2016.

The number of arrests for possession of a controlled substance declined to 15 in 2017 from 18 in 2016.

CPD officers made 20 domestic battery arrests in 2017, up from 10 such arrests in 2016.

Columbia Police Chief Jerry Paul attributed this uptick to the increased awareness of domestic violence in the city and county. Columbia hosted the Violence Prevention Center’s annual Peace Walk in 2017, and other interaction by the city council, Boy Scouts and other organizations helped educate the community on the issue.

“This all shows that, ‘hey, we’re here to help,’ and so more people are comfortable talking about it and reporting it to us,” Paul said.

Another key statistic from 2017 in Columbia was an increase in weapons arrests. There were nine such arrests last year compared to just two in 2016.

Paul credits his officers for “looking beyond the traffic infractions” that led to these types of arrests, adding that drugs and weapons typically go hand-in-hand. Only one of the weapons arrests involved a local resident, he added.

“We really appreciate our officers for being tenacious in their duties,” he said.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department received a record 13,247 calls for service in 2017, up from 10,919 calls in 2016.

Sheriff’s deputies made 128 total arrests last year, which is up from 107 arrests in 2016.

Of the 2017 arrests, 23 were for driving under the influence of alcohol and another five were for driving under the influence of drugs.

There were 13 arrests for possession of a controlled substance in 2017, up from nine such arrests in 2016. There were six arrests for possession of meth, up from just one such arrest in 2016.

The number of MCSD arrests for domestic battery held steady at 10 in both 2017 and 2016.

Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing attributed some of the increase in felony drug arrests to his department’s implementation last year of an Aggressive Criminal Enforcement unit. 

The ACE unit focuses on crimes by drug dealers, burglars or sex offenders and targets the major highways through the county: I-255, Route 3, Route 156, Route 159 and Bluff Road.

Deputies assigned to the ACE unit are not drawn from ongoing patrols, nor are they called on to conduct patrols while engaged in an ACE action.

Information sending ACE into action comes from several sources, including the MCSD’s anonymous tip line, 939-TIPS.

“The ability to go out and look for criminal activity without being pulled away for calls of service is key,” Rohlfing said.

Rohlfing has even made some key drug arrests on his own over the past year.

“I like to lead by example,” he said. “When the sheriff is out making drug arrests, it can push for activity.”

The MCSD also created a “Deputy of the Month” award in 2017, which Rohlfing also attributes to his department’s proactive approach.

Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.