Chief Lou Dekmar of the LaGrange Police Department gave the 2012 LPD’s annual departments of public safety report to council Tuesday evening.
Though most areas have improved from the previous year, Dekmar said that there could be are some areas that could be improved.
The response time for automatic aid was at 5:23:31 minutes down from 6:10:00 in 2011, but Dekmar would like to see it lower.
“We ideally want a response time of under five minutes,” said Dekmar.
He said response times can be affected by the time that the incident was initiated and 911 received the call for service, 911 operators reaction time and units are dispatched, fire personnel reaction time, fire apparatus response and the first unit on the scene is acknowledged by 911.
Dekmar also noted that officers’ use of force when making arrests reports were down by 16 from 2011.
“We’re seeing a downward trend in use of force,” said Dekmar. “This not only reduces injuries to officers, but also the livelyhood of citizens.”
The report says that the department responded to 61,196 calls for service in 2012, an increase of 7,314 calls from 2011. There were 5,715 arrests which required some degree of force, equating to one case of use of force per every 84 arrests. Dekmar said this decrease is likely due to the 40 hours of force training that officers now have to go through.
The reports of fatalities from crashes are down drastically by 75 percent, though the amount of crashes are up from 2,097 to 2,117. Most of the crashes, Dekmar reported, have been historically significant, in that they typically occur from people following to closely and failure to yield the right of way.
Dekmar noted to council that his criminal investigation section exceeded 2012’s national clearance rate average overall in part 1 crimes, including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto thefts.
The LPD’s clearance rate for murders at 66.67 percent compared to 64.8 percent nationally, rape at 50 percent compared 41.4 percent nationally; robbery’s clearance rate is up by 3.07 percent from national average, larceny up 10.93 percent in clearance rates and auto thefts’ clearances are up by 13.78 percent from national average.
The department is down, however, by 6.9 percent from national clearance average in aggravated assault and down 1.28 percent in burglaries. Burglary clearance rates are affected by what Dekmar said is that fact that one burglar may be responsible for up to 30 burglaries, but the department is only able to put one burglary on them criminally.
Violent crimes are down from 137 in 2011 to 126 in 2012, though property crimes rates are not nearly as good, said Dekmar.
He blamed the economy for the increase of property crimes from 1,723 in 2011 to 1,774 in 2012. He said the reason could be because of the shrinkage in the resources of the criminal justice system.
“They’re cutting prison spaces, giving them early releases and using parole as a safety vow,” said Dekmar. “Clearly we’re catching them, clearly the state isn’t holding them.”