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Crime decreases slightly in Dickinson in 2016

The number of arrests made from 2015 to 2016 decreased in Dickinson, according to a presentation by the Dickinson Police Department at Monday's city commission meeting.

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Close up crime scene investigation police boundary tape

The number of arrests made from 2015 to 2016 decreased in Dickinson, according to a presentation by the Dickinson Police Department at Monday's city commission meeting.

According to the presentation, there were 1,403 arrests compared to 1,548 in 2015 and 1,631 arrests in 2014. Of those arrests, 65 were for disorderly conduct, 51 were for liquor law violations, such as minor in possession or consumption, 87 were for possession of drugs, 71 were for possession of drug paraphernalia, 130 people were arrested for driving under the influence and 70 were arrested for shoplifting.

"One hundred and forty-five arrests, that's not a big difference over an entire year," DPD Capt. David Wilkie said. "That's one arrest every three days."

He said their new system allows them to look at numbers in a different way, so the number of arrests can vary based on the type of call or how someone is viewing the amount of charges versus just the number of arrests.

In 2016, DPD received 25,988 calls for service compared with 29,613 in 2015 and 27,294 in 2014. However, the way that calls are numbered has changed for the police department since 2015. So, Wilkie noted that 2016 and 2017's yearly numbers will be more comparable than the past couple of years. For example, previously parking tickets were being included as a call for service number, but now that is not the case. The calls for service numbers could have decreased because of instances like that.

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"With the two systems we're kind of looking at apples and oranges," Wilkie said. "Next year it'll be oranges and oranges, and we'll be able to compare the numbers the same way against this year's numbers. I think it'll be a lot more comparable."

Another factor to take into consideration is the change in population, Wilkie said.

"Our traffic accidents are down, which probably means less traffic," he said. "Then our traffic stops are down by just a little bit, but they're still down. Our arrests are down, our criminal investigations are down, so basically what it kind of tells you is that, with people leaving the area like they did last year, our numbers dropped as far as calls responded to, crime stuff like that, that we did see a decrease in crime."

Dickinson city administrator Shawn Kessel said while it is encouraging to see the crime rate decrease slightly in the city, it is still important for people to understand the types of crimes that are happening in Dickinson.

"Even though the crime rate is lower, there's still some very concerning crime out there that the community needs to focus on," Kessel said. "... Drug use in Dickinson is unfortunately higher than we would be comfortable with, and the types of drugs that are coming are really scary and are more likely to result in death than the drugs that have been in our community in the past."

Southwest Narcotics Task Force

The Southwest Narcotics Task Force participated in 126 cases in 2016: 70 of those cases were initiated by agents, 40 cases were agency assists and 16 cases were search warrants. The task force helped arrest 44 people last year.

SWNTF seized five vehicles and 31 firearms, as well as nearly $90,000 in cash in 2016.

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They also seized several thousand grams of drugs in 2016, including:

• 10,316 grams of Marijuana

• 279 marijuana plants

• 2,880 grams of methamphetamine

• 70.65 grams of heroin

• 288.59 grams of fentanyl

• 3.82 grams of cocaine

• 152 dosage units of varying prescription drugs

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Wilkie said the most troubling of those numbers was the amount of fentanyl that was seized. He said the substance is approximately 100 times more powerful than heroin.

"That's a lot of fentanyl," he said. "The stuff has no purpose except for it's going to kill people. When something's dangerous if you even touch it, you know you're messing with something you shouldn't be messing with."

Wilkie added that those numbers are around the same as the past two years' drug seizures and that does not mean that drug activity has increased or decreased in the past couple of years.

Kessel said drugs like fentanyl have killed many young people in North Dakota with regularity. He commended the police department for their work to help make people aware of the drug.

"Our police department, as soon as that fentanyl showed up, really took a proactive approach," Kessel said. "They called the school system when they saw it. They've made a video that they've distributed to Richardton and other places in Stark County. I have to give them credit for their aggressiveness and their concern about preventing deaths in the future."

Criminal investigation division

Dickinson's criminal investigation division generated 524 case numbers in 2016. This is a decrease of 111 from 2015 when there were 635 cases. In 2014, the division took on 769 cases.

The CID also had 41 call-outs in 2016, compared with 41 in 2015. A call-out occurs when a detective gets called after hours.

They are currently doing compliance checks on 68 sex offenders in Dickinson. CID has also had an increase in web-based investigations. They completed 90 digital forensic downloads in 2016, which is 22 more than 2015.

Traffic

There were also 1,002 traffic accidents last year, which is down from 1,204 in 2015 and 1,477 in 2014. Of those accidents, there were zero fatalities, 48 resulted in injury, 249 were hit and runs, six accidents involved pedestrians and 28 were accidents that involved drinking and driving. A majority of the accidents, 671, were property accidents.

Traffic stops decreased by four stops from 2015 to 2016. In 2016 there were 6,034 traffic stops compared with 6,038 in 2015.

Animals

The animal control officers responded to 229 animal calls in 2016. Beyond their work taking calls, they are also responsible for working with volunteer groups to rehome unclaimed animals, clean and maintain the shelter, impound and release animals, investigate animal cruelty cases and occasionally give tours of the shelter.

The shelter had a total of 661 animals impounded in 2016, including 267 cats, 387 dogs and seven other animals such as rabbits, birds and lizards.

Officer work

Now that Officer Tim Jokerst is the full-time truck regulatory officer, truck regulatory stops have seen a significant increase. In 2015 there were 77 truck regulatory stops and last year there were 143 of these stops. Jokerst has generated slightly more than $84,000 in overweight fines and more than $245,500 in overweight permit sales.

Cpl. Brandon Stockie is the 2016-17 school resource officer. He has addressed 43 incidents since the beginning of the school year and has spent more than 150 hours at Dickinson High School, 136 hours at Hagen Junior High School and 15 hours at the elementary schools.

K-9 program

In 2016, the department was able to purchase a new K-9, a black lab named Norman. Norman is a single-purpose narcotics dog and works alongside his handler is Officer Hunter Easterling.

Last year the department's three dogs were used in 469 traffic stops, 199 searches, helped make 43 arrests and participated in 81 public relations-related activities. Public relations activities can include going to the area schools and performing dog demonstrations at the West River Community Center.

K-9 Gambit, Sgt. Corey Lee's dog, is a dual-purpose dog, which means he has the ability to do narcotics work as well as apprehension of criminals. He was a part of 18 cases in 2016. The dog can also do building searches and other tasks. The other K-9s, Niko and Norman, can only do narcotics work.

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