Funnies Extra!

Crime on climb in county

5/31/12 (Thu)

Crime on climb in county
By STU MERRY

It’s going up and up, and where it will stop, nobody knows.
The McLean County Sheriff’s Department is seeing a big increase in its volume of calls for service. The magnitude is keeping dispatchers and authorities hopping. Where there were only 5,380 calls in 2006, the number has more than doubled. In 2011, 12,266 calls were fielded. So far, calls are on pace to reach 16,000 by the end of 2012. The most recent information from the sheriff’s department shows 4,393 calls have been received this year.
Broken down, most calls are from the county’s two largest cities, Garrison (746) and Washburn (1,155). But calls from the rural sector are right up there at 977. That reflects the growth being seen around the lake and oil country in the western part of the county. In 2011, calls for service from the rural areas  accounted for about ¼ of all calls for service. Nearly 3,100 calls for service came from rural McLean County last year.
Calls for other communities in the county for 2012 include: Max (193), Benedict (40), Butte (27), Mercer (21), Coleharbor (56), Corps area (1), Turtle Lake (146), Riverdale (47), Wilton (335), Bureau of Reclamation land (17), Ruso (17), Underwood (473), White Shield (39), other county (116), special duty (17).
McLean County Sheriff Don Charging and Chief Deputy JR Kerzmann said in order to adapt to the bump in reports additional deputies will be added. With three open spots, and two dozen applicants, a full contingent of deputies is in the works. At their May 15 meeting, the commission authorized Charging to fill the vacancies.
Charging told county commissioners he’s looking forward to having a fully-staffed department. While only three spots will be filled at this time, he hinted there could be another vacancy as one officer is considering retirement in the near future.
The hope is to have enough deputies to eventually blanket traffic in western McLean County where traffic is increasing because of the oil activity. Charging said the hardest part is keeping deputies. Some have left law enforcement to work in the oil fields.