Police chief provides annual report to City Council | CraigDailyPress.com

Police chief provides annual report to City Council

Police calls for service increased in 2009

Brian Smith

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta described 2009 as "successful" but still having its down moments. Still, the police chief told the Craig City Council during its Tuesday night meeting that his department is moving forward.

The police department received 16,753 calls for service last year. The calls for service w

ere up 6 percent from 2008, when there were 15,793 calls.

Vanatta attributed this slight increase to understaffing in 2008, which was down 2,170 calls from 2007. The average number of calls received per officer in 2009 increased by 74 calls to 1,289 per officer.

In his report, Vanatta said "patrol was understaffed for part of the year due to officers being in the field training program."

The department was five positions understaffed in 2008 and all of those positions have since been filled with the exception of one currently in the hiring process.

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Council member Jennifer Riley said she "appreciates when the council is informed about police activities."

"It has been a difficult year for the department both professionally and personally," she said. "But, despite those difficulties, the department is seeing results and having successes."

The top three calls for service were animal complaints, follow-up investigations and requests to assist other agencies.

Craig police also had 1,785 criminal calls, a 3 percent decrease from 2008.

The adult arrest rate increased about 13 percent from 2008. Juvenile arrests decreased from 133 in 2008 to 80 in 2009, the lowest it has been in the decade.

In 2009, burglary cases were up 27 percent to 65 offenses, shoplifting was up 77 percent to 46 offenses, and building thefts were up 18 percent to 80 offenses.

The biggest increase in offenses were domestic violence and family offensives. They rose 106 percent to 68 offenses in 2009 from 2008's 33 offenses.

There were 82 driving under the influence arrests in 2009, which was up 26 percent from 2008.

Vanatta said in his report that "while there was some increased enforcement efforts, it seems poor judgment is a leading cause."

Three code enforcement officers were assigned to the department for 2009 — a first for the department.

As a result, code enforcement activities were up 251 percent.

Officers responded to 340 abandoned vehicles, 225 junk violations, and 374 weed violations in 2009. In total, the police department responded to 1,096 code violations in 2009, up from 2008's 295 code violations.

Of the 1,096 violations, 70 citations were issued in 2009, up from the seven citations issued in 2008.

Vanatta also said maintaining evidence storage was a "massive chore" for the police department last year.

In 2009, more than 1,587 pieces of evidence or property were submitted and processed by the police department. Of the total evidence submitted, 229 pieces were returned to the owner, 603 were destroyed and 75 were sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's lab.

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