Archive for Thursday, January 17, 2008

Calls spike for police department

January 17, 2008

Call volumes are on a steady rise for the Eudora Police Department, who released its year-end crime report Tuesday. The department took 9,664 calls last year, up from 5,111 in 2006. They took 4,559 calls in 2005 and 3,576 calls in 2004.

Police Chief Greg Dahlem said the spike in call volumes was because previous reports did not include building check, which accounted for 2,613 calls, or requests to speak with an officer, which accounted for 661 calls. Neither of the categories dealt with criminal activity, as is the case with the 104 fire calls, 291 medical calls or the 196 motorist assist calls.

Dahlem said the department added the nearly 3,300 calls as a result of the department's desire to be completely transparent with the community. "Let's face it, if something goes wrong, police are going to be held accountable," Dahlem said. "Citizens want to know where their tax money is going."

Dahlem said that burglary and theft numbers have dropped as a result of officers doing late-night patrols and alerting citizens to open garage doors and car windows.

"What they've been doing is stuff like that, making people aware that this is how easy it is for someone to break into your house or go into your garage and take something. When the guys first started doing that, we saw a big drop off the next month in thefts and burglaries."

Dahlem, who has been with the Eudora Police Department for 20 years, said the biggest difference he'd seen in crime was the types of fights that occur.

"When I was on the street when I first started, you saw more of the carwash parking lot fights, and it was all fists," he said. "You're seeing more stuff like that now involving weapons. We've been fortunate - we haven't had a lot of stuff that has become that physical. But you do hear 'I'm going to go get my gun' or 'I'm going to go get my boys."

He attributes such incidences to people passing through Eudora on Kansas Highway 10.

"That just comes with some of the growth of gang activity, not in Eudora, but in Topeka, which has a pretty serious gang problem, and Kansas City," Dahlem said. "It all flows through here - K-10 Highway - and they're either coming or going."

There were 2,117 car stops, 213 burglary/theft calls, 209 parking violation calls, 92 domestic dispute calls, 69 driving under the influence calls, 60 narcotics calls and 11 sex crime calls.

Dahlem aid the economy, namely gas prices, was one of the main contributing factors to the thefts, as approximately 26 incidences dealt with people filling up their gas tank and leaving without paying.

Staffing is Dahlem's main concern, though.

"What's it going to take to make things slow down and improve? Well, it's going to take tax dollars from the citizens to put more cops out on the street," he said.

He said an effort on the part of his officers to make the community more aware of their presence has been one of the more positive things the department has done.

"For a department our size, all of the officers have done a good job in letting the public know that we do have a police department, letting the public know don't drive through Eudora if you've been drinking because you're going to get arrested, don't drive through Eudora if you're speeding because you're going to get stopped," Dahlem said. "I think that of the major crimes that we don't have here, the officers are doing a good job of keeping that under control by simply being seen.

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