Police detail 2023 totals

Following a substantial, multi-year impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, reports from local law enforcement officials seem to indicate growth in police activity akin to what was recorded prior to 2020.

Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing recently reported that the sheriff’s department fielded 15,835 calls for service in 2023, a substantial jump from the 11,888 calls in 2022. This figure even surpasses the pre-pandemic total of 13,284 calls for service in 2019.

Rohlfing explained there isn’t one particular figure that’s driving the increase in service calls. Instead, the larger number seems to indicate simply a greater amount of activity and need from the community.

“I think there’s just more and more demand being put on us,” Rohlfing said. “More and more calls for service. As our population continues to grow, there’s going to be more demand on what we do. I can’t say that there’s any one thing that made that happen. It’s just the totality of everything.”

Along with population growth, Rohlfing noted that the number of deputies in his department has grown, and they are generally doing much more work, including additional business checks.

Rohlfing also specifically brought up decreased drug arrests over the past year, with 56 methamphetamine arrests – down from 62 in 2022 – and 32 controlled substance arrests – down from 59.

The sheriff said he anticipates these figures to either stay level or increase going forward.

In discussing numbers for the past year and expectations for the future, Rohlfing spoke about the recently implemented SAFE-T Act and a potential increase in crime statistics – particularly theft.

“The big thing we have to watch, obviously, is everyone’s curious what’s going to transpire with the SAFE-T Act stuff,” Rohlfing said. “There’s a lot of anticipation and belief that there are going to be some stats that are going to go up crime-wise, which I believe is probably going to be happening for us. I don’t think we’re going to get overrun, but I think our stats will probably go up.”

With tax season on the horizon, Rohlfing encouraged Monroe County residents to file their taxes as early as they can in order to avoid potential identity theft.

In Waterloo, retiring police chief Jeff Prosise provided his department’s final annual overview, reporting 13,884 calls for service. That is up from 12,573 calls in 2022.

Prosise attributed this increase in service calls to a general uptick in activity. He pointed specifically to the increased number of traffic tickets and stops – 1,358 in 2023 and 1,179 in 2022.

Other Waterloo Police Department statistics showed similar increases, particularly traffic crash reports at 311 – up from 220.

“I would say that the officers are just more active,” Prosise said. “I would say this year was more normal as far as traffic stops. We didn’t tell anybody ‘Hey, you need to make more traffic stops.’ I just think it’s back to normal activity. You go back a couple years, we were telling them not to, ‘Don’t be as active because if you have COVID, we don’t want you giving it to somebody or we don’t want you catching it because we need you.’”

Prosise’s report also notes a number of criminal citation statistics, with 75 city ordinance violations, 30 DUI arrests, two arrests for resisting/obstructing an officer and one arrest for aggravated battery of a police officer.

Columbia Police Chief Jason Donjon noted 13,142 calls for service in 2023, which is a slight decrease from 13,196 in 2022.

Columbia also reported a decrease in drug offenses, with 51 arrests in 2023 and 56 arrests in 2022.

Numbers slightly increased for burglaries to motor vehicles – a particularly big problem for Columbia in 2021. That year, the number of reports sat at 39. It went down in 2022 to 14 and kept relatively low in 2023 with 17 reports.

As for traffic arrests pertaining to speed restrictions, Columbia recorded 282 such arrests in 2023 compared to 339 arrests in 2022.

Donjon spoke positively overall about the decreased criminal activity in his city and the strong response from his department.

“You can kinda see it across the nation that crime stats have gone down, but you’ll notice a lot of our arrests have gone up,” Donjon said. “I wanna just thank the elected officials for allowing us to have enough officers. We’re at more officers than we’ve ever had before, and we hope to continue that.”

He further expressed enthusiasm for the new surveillance system which has been installed at city intersections, adding that his department plans to budget for additional cameras throughout the city.

Valmeyer Police Chief Mary Seitz reported 1,405 calls for service in 2023, which is up from 1,106 calls in 2022. He acknowledged the substantial difference in call volume compared to Waterloo and Columbia given Valmeyer’s size.

Regarding traffic stops, Valmeyer police called in 64 total stops compared to 100 in 2022.

He also reported 72 ambulance calls in 2023, down from 96 medical calls the previous year.

Seitz didn’t recall any especially major incidents in the past year – save for a notable car theft which was solved with assistance from a few other agencies.

Like Rohlfing, Seitz also spoke about a substantial number of fraud and identity theft incidents.

Seitz additionally highlighted some police staffing activity in Valmeyer. While his department recently lost an officer as he joined the sheriff’s department, Seitz reported the addition of several employees.

“We’ve got six part-timers right now,” Seitz said. “I’m looking to add an additional two part-timers, so that’ll bring us up to eight part-time sometime this year. And then our new full-time employee we’re really excited about is Terry Marquardt.”

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Andrew Unverferth

HTC web