2005-11-24 / News

Police busier than ever, according to annual report

By Dotti Farrington

Police emphasized traffic safety during the calendar year 2004, conducting 894 traffic stops and issuing 903 citations, according to the annual police report issued earlier this month by Acting Police Chief William Donovan.

The totals reflected 500 more stops and 599 more citations than the previous year, he pointed out.

Among the vehicular offenses were 34 charges for driving under the influence of alcohol, compared to 12 the previous year, and even fewer in prior years, according to Donovan’s report.

He said the number of motor vehicle accidents decreased slightly last year, “something that may in part be attributed to the department’s participating in Operation Blue Riptide, a program aimed at reducing the number of accident-related fatalities resulting from speeding.”

911 calls

The department logged 13,809 calls for service, topping the previous year’s record number of 12,901 service calls, when activities involving homeland security was reflected by 3,643 special reporting area security checks, which last year numbered 3,713.

The town is divided into 21 zones, with Narragansett Avenue treated as two zones, and accounting for 5,079 of the service calls. The zone with the next highest number of calls is the island’s north end, with 1,288 calls.

In addition to anti-terrorism checks, the calls last year included:

• 858 house and business checks.

• 2,488 traffic related items.

• 105 parking violations as compared to 611 parking tickets issued in 2003.

• 149 accidents including 17 hit and runs. In 2003, there were 172 accidents with 20 hit and runs.

• 488 alarm investigations.

• 38 domestics, no arrests. There were 26 cases and no arrests in 2003.

• Two runaways.

• Six child seat inspections and installations.

• 302 ambulance calls compared to 279 calls in 2003.

• 22 missing person reports.

• 240 marine related calls, including 12 rescues. In 2003, there were 258 calls and eight rescues.

• 107 noise complaints, plus 130 noise measurements.

• 515 reports of suspicious persons, autos or circumstances.

• 109 vandalism incidents.

There also were 536 animalrelated calls, including two bites, 56 road kills, 65 barking dogs and 232 lost and found animals. In 2003, the police received 540 animal related calls: 19 for bites, 37 for road kills, 37 for barking dogs, and 137 lost and founds.

Major crimes listed last year were one rape, two aggravated assaults, 27 burglaries, and 86 thefts, involving losses totalling $47,178.

Police recorded three arsons last year, compared to two each the previous two years, and one in 2001.

Police arrested 105 adults and 25 juveniles on various offenses during 2004.

Homeland security

“The department’s homeland security effort remains focused on enhancing the physical security of Jamestown’s infrastructure and building an interoperable communications capability for the various departments within the town,” Donovan wrote. “To that end we received approximately $49,000 in grant money through the RI Emergency Management Agency,” he reported. This compares to $42,000 the previous year.

Donovan continued, “We anticipate the national homeland security effort to continue with additional grant funding being made available annually. Our focus will be to continue obtaining grant money to fund our efforts whenever possible.”

The surplus vessel obtained through the National Guard was being outfitted with communication, navigation, and security equipment purchased with the EMA money, he reported.

Donovan is filling in for Police Chief Thomas Tighe, who is serving as interim town administrator until a new town manager is named, probably before the end of this year.

“Our supervisory staff remains active in the Newport County Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council. Its efforts involve sharing intelligence information, training opportunities, and addressing issues relevant to local public safety departments. All patrol officers have received anti-terrorism awareness training. They conduct regular checks of the town’s critical infrastructure throughout the year, remaining vigilant in their effort to prevent any disruption of operations or damage to property,” the acting police chief wrote.

Civilian corps

Donovan also emphasized, “Our community-based approach to policing continues to work well. . . . The many special events that took place in Jamestown were handled without any significant problems. Much of the credit for making these events safe and enjoyable belongs to the members of our Civilian Auxiliary Unit. Without the Community Service Officers’ assistance in managing traffic at some of these events, the town would certainly not be able to host these events successfully.”

Town officials are studying the costs of hosting the events, including swimming, biking, and running events. They are considering adding fees that reflect actual costs to staff the events with any paid workers, especially with police personnel.

According to Donovan, “The Civilian Auxiliary also has assisted with numerous traffic details, relieving officers of some of the duties that do not require the presence of a sworn police officer. Utilizing community service officers has proven to be an invaluable asset to the department and the town.”

The department has trained more than 75 people in community policing since 1999, using them as a core for Neighborhood Watch projects as well as the uniformed civilian unit of about two dozen members.

Sworn servers

Donovan told the Town Council, to whom the police report was addressed, “I can assure you that the citizens of the town of Jamestown can be proud of its police department. I commend the members for their professionalism, dedication and devotion as they protect and serve the community. It is a privilege and an honor to serve as their commanding officer.”

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