Perry Township police chief issues annual report

SALEM — Perry Township police officers handled less calls last year and logged less miles on the cruisers, which Police Chief Mike Emigh attributed to a shortage of manpower.

But according to the year-end report, officers increased the number of citations for speeding, expired registrations and seat belt violations, an effort he attributed to cracking down on traffic enforcement.

Emigh also said the public apparently listened to his plea to say something if they see something, noting an increase in reckless driver complaints, criminal investigations, well-being checks, and suspicious vehicle calls.

“Call it in,” he said, asking the residents to continue contacting police if they see something that doesn’t look right.

Emigh reported on the department’s 2019 statistics during a recent trustee meeting and a phone interview. The number of calls for service decreased from 1,435 in 2018 to 1,292 calls last year, a drop of 143 calls. Miles patrolled were 74,940. He said the number of miles when he has a full staff is 120,000. The amount of gasoline used was 6,294 gallons.

The department currently has 4 full-time officers, which includes Emigh, and four part-time officers. He told trustees late last year that he needed another full-time officer after going nearly a year or more without replacing a full-time officer who left. Trustees said they would have to hold off, but now there’s a new trustee in place and a new fiscal officer.

“I’m sure with the new administration in place, things will get a lot better,” Emigh said.

Traffic citations issued rose to 368 from 277 the previous year. Injury accidents dropped to 16 from 32 and property damage reports decreased to seven from 26. Non-injury accidents stayed about the same, rising to 40 from 38. Private property accidents took a jump to 53 from 15.

Increases last year (with the previous year in parentheses) included: speeding/assured clear distance, 182 (55); expired registrations 78 (30); driving under suspension 12 (nine); child support suspension 16 (15); no license 11 (10); non-compliance suspensions 28 (20); and seat belt violations 35 (seven). Failure to control crashes decreased from 27 to 16, operating under the influence arrests dropped to nine from 15 and fictitious plates decreased from seven to one.

Under criminal complaints, decreases were recorded for domestic violence 44 (51), trespassing six (11), burglary six (15), animal complaints 76 (66), suspicious persons 61 (67), speak with officer 15 (22), thefts 21 (42), noise 19 (36), and threats harassment 28 (29).

Increases included well-being checks 55 (30), identity theft/fraud 55 (44), breaking and entering five (three), juvenile complaints 44 (32), suspicious vehicles 44 (40), sex offenses four (two), alarms 56 (52), vandalism 22 (16), neighbor complaint 24 (23), unwanted subject 18 (11), reckless driver 37 (20) and criminal investigations 82 (63).

Civil complaints were down to 24 from 39. Also down was road block/traffic 44 (54), assist motorist 68 (81), and assist Salem Police 37 (52). Medical assists increased to 54 (39).

Under criminal arrests, there were no changes in adult arrests (166), juvenile arrests (one) or misdemeanor warrant arrests (15). There were decreases in felony warrant arrests seven (13), illegal possession of marijuana 17 (24), illegal possession of drug paraphernalia 10 (18) and open container three (nine).