Archive for Thursday, February 2, 2006

Police chief: Calls up 77 percent in 2005

More visibility could help, Horner says

February 2, 2006

Basehor police officers fielded nearly double the number of calls for service in 2005 as they did in 2004, according to a year-end report.

And, a three-year analysis indicates that calls for services have tripled since 2003.

Basehor police Chief Terry Horner, who has analyzed the call sheets, said priorities for the police department would adjust, based on the city's increased demand for service.

"It means we need to be moving, we need to be more visible," said Horner, emphasizing that an increased police presence would help deter both traffic accidents and criminal activity.

According to Horner, about 2,000 calls were made to the police department last year. In 2004, that number was about 1,130. The number of calls increased by 77 percent.

In nearly every category -- animal calls, calls for assistance, accidents, juvenile cases and criminal activity -- police saw an across-the-board increase in 2005.

One category -- arrests -- bucked the trend. Police made 88 arrests in 2005, compared with 96 in 2004. It may see odd at first that crime appears to be increasing, but arrests are on the decline. But Horner explained that police have placed an emphasis on issuing more citations to offenders, rather than making full-blown arrests.

Citations keep the cases in Basehor Municipal Court and save officers from transporting suspects to the Leavenworth County Jail, which takes them away from patrolling the city.

The chief pointed to the rise in criminal activity as most distressing for police. Criminal activity, which includes crimes such as battery, criminal damage, theft and drug related offenses, increased from 131 cases in 2004 to 241 last year.

Horner said he is reviewing patrol practices and is considering changes that would keep officers mobile throughout the city. Ideally, an increased visibility by the department would help deter criminals, the police chief said.

"We're currently taking a look at the time spent running stationary radar," he said. "I feel there could be too much time running stationary radar. To me, this is something we have to discuss."

The police department is budgeted for nine full-time officers, but through juggling vacations, leave and officers' training, the active roster has been reduced to five full-timers in recent weeks.

The police department will gain another full-timer when an officer returns from academy training. The department plans to hire an additional full-time officer this year.

Two Basehor officers are currently on leave and thus inactive.

"If we ever get to what our budget allows us ... we would be able to increase police presence," Horner said.

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