Calls for service double in ’11Calls for service received by the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office more than doubled from 2010 to 2011, according to statistics from the department.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Calls for service received by the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office more than doubled from 2010 to 2011, according to statistics from the department.
Calls for service grew to 6,739 in 2011 from 2,681 in 2010.
Those calls cover just about everything the department does, said Chad Kaiser, Stutsman County sheriff. But the number grew to the extent it did because of the way crimes were reported, he said.
“We have been busy,” he said. “The way we do things now is cause for the increase and the other part is now we are doing things different from the past.”
One major factor is Stutsman County Sheriff’s Department vehicles are now equipped with mobile data terminals, Kaiser said.
“Some of those jumps you see (in calls for service) are from better and more accurate reporting,” he said, due to the mobile data terminals, which were fully operational starting in 2011.
Officers now have the capability to directly connect with the Law Enforcement Center and fill out reports from their vehicles for the LEC. This allows officers to handle incoming calls themselves without using dispatchers, who could be busy. Calls can be directly answered and responded to by officers in their vehicles.
An influx of grants from the North Dakota Department of Transportation also led to more visibility for the department in 2011. This has resulted in an increase in DUI arrests, up to 20 in 2011 from five in 2010.
Because of the NDDOT grants, the sheriff’s office was able to have more officers on the road during saturation patrols, which has led to increased arrests.
While the number of DUI arrests is still too high for Kaiser, it’s what he expected in the statewide effort to curb drunken driving.
“We should have those numbers because we’re out there more with their help,” he said of the NDDOT grants.
NDDOT has been airing radio ads and has rented billboards in major North Dakota cities to increase awareness of DUI patrol. It also has launched similar campaigns for seat belts.
As part of those campaigns, NDDOT gives funds to law enforcement across the state to increase officers on the road for quarterly Click it or Ticket campaigns and saturation patrols.
“We’re trying to get the awareness out there for people not to drink and drive,” Kaiser said. “Plus we go out in extra force.”
However, the majority of the sheriff’s office time is spent serving civil papers or transporting prisoners. Kaiser estimates it’s anywhere from 60 to 70 percent.
In 2011, there were 106 calls for service for prisoner transports and 257 calls for subpoena service attempts.
No statistics were available in those categories for 2010, due to changes in the way statistics have been reported, Kaiser said.
The NDDOT grants and the civil process calls have kept the officers out in the public more, he said. But increased paperwork at the office does make for a heavier workload.
A truck regulatory officer who serves Stutsman, Dickey and LaMoure has been helping deal with heavy loads. More specifically, he detects overweight vehicles for the purpose of preventing damage to roadways in the three counties. Deputy Tim Gillespie serves as the truck regulatory officer.
In his first year of service he issued seven overweight limitations and 12 warnings.
“I think he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing,” Kaiser said. “I have not had a single complaint about him and so for I think he’s doing what the county wanted him to do.”
But more manpower would help things around the office and on the truck scales, he said.
“I would like to see us have a full-time guy at some point and that way we can use that guy for weight enforcement when needed and also extra help when we need it on the road or for serving papers,” Kaiser said.
Counting Gillespie, the sheriff’s office has 10 active officers.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com