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Law & Order: Taxpayers foot the bill for crime

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crime Dickinson, 58602
The Dickinson Press
(701) 225-4205 customer support
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

Whether or not "crime doesn't pay," someone has to pay for crime. Unfortunately it often falls on the taxpayers to foot the bill.

In a look at domestic violence and DUI cases -- two calls where an arrest is made immediately if the officer has reasonable suspicion -- the average domestic violence arrests lasts 22 minutes, or .37 hours, with about an hour of paperwork to follow, according to data provided by Dickinson Police Department Capt. Dave Wilkie.

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"The domestic violence law says we have 12 hours from the incident to make that arrest," he said.

A DUI arrest lasts one hour, 29 minutes and is followed by two hours of paperwork.

The average hourly wage for a first- to third-year officer in Dickinson is $21.50. Assuming no overtime, the average DUI arrest costs the taxpayer in police labor alone $75.25, and the average domestic violence arrest costs $29.45, according to Wilkie. This does not include administrative costs or mileage.

The Stark County Sheriff's Office experiences a similar cost in labor, Capt. Dean Franchuk said. But SCSO deputies cover a much larger area than DPD officers -- 1,340 square miles versus less than 10 square miles (and growing) for the city of Dickinson.

The average arrest for DUI or domestic violence takes three to four hours and the average deputy makes $23 to $24 an hour, Franchuk said. Figuring the low end, the arrest costs tax payers $69 in labor. Allowing 55 cents per mile for a hypothetical arrest near Richardton, an additional $28.05 can be added for vehicle costs.

"(There are) hours of training that a deputy needs to go through," he said. "You have to be certified to run the intoxilizer. That's a three-day program just to get certified."

After the subject is arrested in either the county or the city, they are taken to the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center, where the population has grown year over year consistently since 2006, operations administrator Doris Songer said. In 2012, the average daily population was 60.33 detainees.

"I think our populations are going to start going up even more if they pass that new legislation," she said of a bill that would require jail time for a first offense DUI. "It's sounding like they're going to."

Owner entities pay $70 per day to detain someone at SWMCCC, Songer said.

The city budgeted more than $100,000 for housing prisoners in 2013, according to budget documents.

A DUI suspect can bond out, but someone detained for domestic violence must stay until they see the judge, Wilkie said. Both must see a judge within 48 hours if the DUI subject does not bond out. Stark County residents pay a $300 bond, non-residents $500.

From there, the case is transferred to the court system.

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Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
(701) 456-1206
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