SPD sees drop in calls for second straight year

stillwaterStillwater Police officers answered just under 12,000 calls in 2012, continuing a decrease for the second straight year.

Police Chief John Gannaway presented the department’s annual report Tuesday to the City Council.

Mayor Ken Harycki noted that overall crime rates have gone down in Stillwater. The exception was 2010, when crimes jumped a bit, he added.

“It’s an ebb-and-flow process, but we’ve seen a decrease in part-one offenses — those are the serious crimes: murder, sexual assaults and things like. Those are down 3.5 percent.” Gannaway said. “While we’ve seen a decrease in part-two offenses. (Assaults, forgeries, and DWIs by 2.6 percent), they increased dramatically last year but they are down from last year.”

Gannaway said on average, the SPD receives 32 calls a day and thefts from motor vehicles and garages were the most recurring calls in 2012. Investigators are handling an average of 20 to 30 open cases, he added.

Gannaway said the purchase of the Celebrite electronic forensic examination system has expanded the department’s capabilities.

“I balked at the cost at first but it’s worth it’s weight in gold,” the chief said about the system. “Everyone keeps everything on their mobile devices now. We use it for about six searches a month. And maybe 80 in a year.”

Despite eliminating two positions, the department had consolidated those positions into one.

“This position includes crime-mapping, and code enforcement. We’re making them a 100-day employee to see how it works out but it’s been fantastic so far,” he said.
Community-wise, Gannaway highlighted the success of “Night to Unite” and community programs that help seniors protect themselves from scams. DARE is still taught in New Heights School, but Gannaway said he wasn’t sure if that would continue.

“It’s kind of an end of an era. We’ve had DARE in this community for well-over 20 years.” he said.

“What reason have the schools given to not use the DARE program,” asked Councilman Doug Menikheim.

“Time, mainly,” Gannaway said. “The teachers have so much on their plates that they don’t have the time that they need to go into the program.”

But Gannaway said the district is interested in expanding SPD Officer Andrea Olson’s role as Stillwater Junior High School resource officer at to a full-time position. He added the department is looking into how that can work out.

In addition to that initiative other goals of the department for this year include:

  • Creating a new “Tiburon” records management system.“I think it’s going to happen this year,” Gannaway said. “What we’re using right now is the equivalent of using the old PacMan or Pong games. There’s millions of bits of data that need to be transferred.”
  • Create up-to-date crime mapping with a main focus on burglaries and theft from motor vehicles, problem properties, and downtown bar activity. “We’re trying to figure out how to supply you with a crime map on a regular basis. But we need to figure out a way to not show specific addresses, we’ve been told to hold off on that until we can figure out how to do that without violating privacy laws.” Gannaway said.
  • Planning of the new law enforcement facility.
  • Expanding, professionalizing, and adding new funding to the police reserve program.