Archive for Thursday, February 5, 2009

Police calls increase

February 5, 2009

Eudora Police Chief Greg Dahlem said the feeble economy is one of the main culprits responsible for increased call volumes for the Eudora Police Department in 2008.

There were 12,006 calls in 2008, which is up more than 2,000 calls from the 9,664 calls made in 2007.

The department took 5,111 calls in 2006, 4,559 calls in 2005 and 3,576 in 2006.

“Just like we’re being told our budgets will be even worse next year, we probably haven’t seen the worst of it yet,” Dahlem said. “I don’t want to scare people, but we’re going to see an increase in thefts, domestic disturbances and DUIs.”

Dahlem, who has been with the police department for about 21 years, said those three crimes are closely associated with stress.

Burglary and theft accounted for a total of 241 calls, compared to 209 total burglary and theft calls in 2007. Driving under the influence and reckless driving accounted for 93 calls this year, compared to just 69 in 2007. Domestic disturbances accounted for 99 calls, which was just seven more calls than in 2007.

An increase in patrols will be difficult because city finances have caused the department to be one officer short since 2006. However, Dahlem said more police presence throughout the city would be the main way the department would try to deal with the problems.

“Preventing domestic disturbances is tough because you can’t patrol a living room,” Dahlem said. “But with DUIs and thefts, we can increase police presence with patrols.”

The department consists of nine full-time and five part-time officers, as well as one administrative assistant. Dahlem said he is proud of the work done by the officers and staff in the department.

He said the department did an especially good job in apprehending a man suspected of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old. The apprehension began with a car chase the night of Nov. 3.

An officer pursued the suspect northbound on Church Street. The suspect then crossed train tracks on Leavenworth County Road 1 and narrowly missed being hit by an oncoming train.

Officers were able to see the vehicle crash, and then the suspect abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot.

Police from Eudora, Douglas and Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Department searched for the man throughout the evening and into the next morning.

He was apprehended the morning of Nov. 5 while hiding behind some mattresses in a barn just north of Eudora.

“That night was total chaos and every officer we called to come out and help made no excuses and said, ‘Give me a couple of minutes and I’ll be there,’” Dahlem said. “I’m pretty blessed right now because we’ve got a good staff and a lot of guys who are committed.

“These are guys who enjoy being police officers.”

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