Craig Police Department releases results of community survey

Service ratings

Quality of service ratings of the Craig Police Department by percentage of survey respondents

Year — Excellent — Good — Fair — Poor — Don’t know

2011 — 18% — 49% — 14% — 1% — 18%

2006 — 23% — 53% — 10% — 2% — 12%

2001 — 20% — 63% — 4% — 3% — 10%

Walt Vanatta said public perception of the Craig Police Department is less favorable than in years past, but only marginally.

On Tuesday, during the regular meeting of Craig City Council, Vanatta shared an overview of the 2011 Craig Police Department Community Survey. The multiple-choice survey – which asked Craig residents to rate police performance, satisfaction with the community and more – was randomly distributed earlier this year to 604 residents; 152 surveys were returned.

Similar surveys have been distributed in Craig twice before – in 2006 and 2001.

Vanata said the majority of respondents this year were older than 45, female, and had lived in Craig more than 10 years.

When asked to rate the level of service the Craig Police Department provides, 79 respondents said the level was “about right,” which constitutes a slight drop from the 2006 survey. The level of service was judged to be “about right” by 99 respondents in 2006, and 95 in 2001.

Regarding quality of service, roughly 70 respondents rated the police department “good.” This is a decrease from roughly 80 respondents in 2006, and more than 90 in 2001.

Regarding the same question, roughly 25 respondents rated the department’s service “excellent,” which was down from about 33 in 2006 and 28 in 2001.

In percentages, 49 percent said the quality of service was “good,” and 18 percent said quality was “excellent,” according to 2011 survey data. In 2006, 53 percent rated quality of service “good,” and 23 percent rated quality of service “excellent.” In 2001, the survey showed 63 percent and 20 percent, respectively for the ame questions.

“My concern was that our numbers – from ‘excellent’ and ‘good’ – have gone down slightly over time. ‘Fair’ has gone up,” Vanatta said. “While the numbers aren’t very big, there appears to be a general perception that our quality of service is kind of diminishing.”

Vanatta said the new survey results run contrary to the department’s mission.

“I don’t think that’s what we’re about,” he said. “Our goal is to provide excellent service, so that’s one area we need to work on.”

However, Vanatta said the department’s workload has increased significantly since the first survey was completed 10 years ago.

“From 2001 to 2010, our calls for service increased 50 percent…as did the number of calls officers are handling. Accidents went up 74 percent.”

The number of police officers at the department has remained the same during that time period.

“So, our officers are handling a lot more calls,” he said.

Vanatta said he wasn’t sure if a direct correlation exists between increased workload and a drop in perceived quality.

After the meeting, city council member Jennifer Riley said the police department is adequately staffed.

“(Vanatta) has been able to meet the public safety needs with the current staffing levels,” she said. “Certainly, if Walt felt that public safety was in jeopardy because we were understaffed, I know he would be coming to us with those requests and data to back that up.

“I don’t feel like we have a public safety issue because we’re short on manpower.”

According to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data, the sharp increase in the police department’s workload is out of step with meager population growth over the past decade.

Since Census data was last collected in 2000, the population of Craig has grown by 275, or 2.99 percent.

Riley said the 50 percent increase in service calls to the police department is a sign of the times.

“It’s not just Craig, it’s happening everywhere,” she said. “Crime always tends to be on the rise during a down economy.”

Riley said thefts and drug use are growing nationwide.

“Even though our population hasn’t grown, we have not been immune to the rise in these types of crimes throughout the country.”

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Comments

rodeo1 2 years, 8 months ago

of course it will seem that service is down when the workload goes up, why would any clear thinking person think anything else?

we ask a lot of our police officers. they are asked to leave their families for 8 to 10 hrs. a day, just like you. but unlike most jobs, they may not be coming home tonight. i once made 37 trips to the emergency room in one year while on the colo. spgs. police dept. every time they called my wife. my marriage ended in divorce, thats a lot for a young wife to endure. and yes, it is somewhat easier in a small town, but never think they are safe. people like ted bundy used side roads and traveled through small towns in the belief that small towns had fewer police officers and would be easier to get through, but when stopped for running a red light are just as dangerous as they would be in downtown los angeles.

sometimes they don't smile just right, or say yes ma'm just the way you would like, but try to put yourself in their shoes and understand what they do.

as a viet nam vet, i have people stop me and "thank me" for my service. that is appreciated. but when i come in contact with one of our finest, our police officers, i "thank them" for their service. you should do the same.

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xrsareus 2 years, 8 months ago

I think the police do a very good job. I do wish though there was a more work done by code enforcement in regards to yard sale signs. I see cardboard boxes on the corners for weeks after the sale. I know the code enforcement officers drive by those corners while on duty. How much easier can it get. The sign say's I littered, this is where I live. Come and give me a ticket. Code enforcement takes a picture of the sign, most have the date and address since they want people to come a buy stuff. The picture has the date taken. Go to the address, give them a ticket and tell them to go pick up their sign. If there are multiple signs left behind on other corners for the same address, they get multiple tickets. If peoples yard sale profits had to go to paying for not picking up their signs, maybe before long there would not be a problem with yard sale sign littler. Nothing like advertising you are a litterer.

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foxy1 2 years, 8 months ago

I am thankful to live in a county that has such a low crime rate -- that officers can respond to freedom of speech and noise complaints within 15 minutes... yet I have to wonder how my tax dollars could be better spent. We have an overabundance of cocky, overpaid law enforcement here.

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