By Leslie Moriarty
MONROE — In the year 2000, the Monroe Police Department grew by three officers. But so did the need for them.
The department just released its year 2000 report, which outlines the activities of the department and the rate of crime in the city.
Police chief Colleen Wilson said that while the department grew by three officers, each of the 28 officers actually responded to 16 more calls per officer than the average number of calls in 1999.
In 2000, officers averaged 840 calls each, while in 1999 that number was 824.
Much of the reason was an increase in population from 11,450 to 13,795 residents. That increase also dropped the ratio of officers per 1,000 residents from an average of 2.2 to 2, O’Neil said. But the department doesn’t plan to add any officers soon.
In all, Monroe had 22,929 calls for service in 2000, up from 20,604 in 1999.
Those calls included the top 10 incident categories: traffic accidents, 295; warrant arrests, 139; DUI calls, 111; domestic violence calls, 65; CPS referrals, 61; thefts, 51; suspicious circumstances, 50; runaway reports, 48; simple assaults, 44; and car prowls, 42.
In the categories of major crimes, Monroe had no homicides, down from one the previous year. There were nine rapes reported, down from 10 in 1999.
Robberies remained steady at six. Assaults were up at 20 from nine in 1999. Burglaries increased from 81 to 111. Thefts were up at 368 from 320. Vehicle thefts remained at 46 each year.
Police commander Jan O’Neil said one of the highlights was that the department was successful in its programs to integrate more into the community.
"We were a part of some different activities than in past years, and that helps us to get to know more of our residents," she said.
"If people are more familiar with the police and are comfortable with our officers, then they are more likely to seek us out when they need help. And they are more likely to help us so we can do our job."
Among the programs that the police took part in were the DARE drug education program in schools; Walk Our Children to School Day, where parents and police walk to schools with kids; a bike safety program; a Citizen’s Academy where residents spend time learning how the department works; a children’s egg hunt at Easter; the Special Olympics; and the Cinco De Mayo celebration.
Also, Monroe has a high percentage of Hispanic residents, and police work hard to reach out to that segment of the community, O’Neil said. The department has at least six officers who speak fluent Spanish.
In addition, the department also has two officers who work with dogs. The dogs, Chico and Bismark, were used in 111 calls in 2000. The dogs were taken on demonstrations to the public 84 times.
You can call Herald Writer Leslie Moriarty at 425-339-3436
or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.