The Barry County Sheriff's Department responded to 180 fewer cases in 2006 than in 2005, according to an end-of-the-year report released by the local law enforcement agency. This past year, sheriff's deputies handled 4,166 cases as compared to 4,346 in 2005, which is a 4 percent decrease.
Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly said he credits the slight drop in caseload to a sharp decline in meth lab cases.
"The meth labs have just gone to nothing," said Epperly. "We still have arrests due to possession of meth, but the new law regulating the sale of ephedrine, and the public's assistance, have really caused meth labs to drop."
The majority of arrests made by sheriff's deputies in 2006 were for drug-related crimes. A total of 288 drug arrests were made in 2006.
Traffic arrests totalled 311 in 2006. This category included driving while intoxicated, driving while revoked and driving while suspended cases.
Stealing, burglary, robbery, receiving stolen property and theft cases resulted in 174 total arrests last year, and sex offenses, endangering the welfare of a child and abuse of a child accounted for 44 arrests in 2006.
Assault was another major arrest category. In 2006, 112 arrests were made for domestic assault, first, second and third degree assault and assault on a law enforcement officer.
Other arrests made in 2006 were as follows: failure to appear for passing bad checks, 133; probation violation, 212; tampering, 18; forgery, 21; miscellaneous misdemeanors, 38; trespassing in the first degree, 3; six-hour holds, 117; 12-hour holds, 118; nonsupport, 35; property damage, 19; arson, 5; aggravated stalking, 1; resisting arrest, 21; miscel-laneous failure to appear, 140; aiding an escape, 1; armed criminal action, 3; unlawful use of a weapon, 31; fraud, 2; violation of ex parte, 7; bomb threat, 1; and kidnapping, 1.
Although case numbers dropped slightly in 2006, the number of inmates booked into the Barry County Jail rose by almost 10 percent.
A total of 1,844 individuals were incarcerated in the Barry County Jail during 2006 as compared to 1,687 in 2005. Based on those numbers, the average occupancy at the Barry County Jail last year was 44.
The lowest occupancy during 2006 was 30 and the highest was 59. The Barry County Jail was built to house 32 prisoners. According to the 2006 report, there were only two weeks during 2006 when the inmate count was below the maximum.
Epperly said jail over-crowding is an issue that will be addressed in the coming year. The Barry County Commission is expected to seek bids on a jail expansion project within the next few months.
The proposed project will double the jail's maximum capacity to 64 prisoners.
In addition to reporting arrest totals, the sheriff's office has issued a breakdown of incidents reported in 2006. They are as follows: 12-hour hold self protection, 6; 30-day safe keep, 5; 96-hour mental evaluation, 8; abandoned motor vehicle, 6; abandonment of a child, 1; abuse of a child, 11; accidental shooting, 4; aggravated stalking, 1; animal abuse, 14; animal neglect, 17; animal theft, 2; armed criminal action, 1; arson in the first degree, 3; arson in the second degree, 11; assault in the first degree, 1.
Assault in the second degree vehicular injury, 2; assault in the first degree domestic violence, 3; assault in the second degree domestic violence, 19; assault in the second degree, 22; assault in the third degree domestic violence, 47; assault in the third degree, 70; assault on a law enforcement officer, 3; assault on school property, 1; attempt to escape custody, 1; attempt suicide, 9; burglary in the first degree, 17; burglary in the second degree, 164; burglary in the second degree forced entry, 10; careless and imprudent driving, 1; carjacking, 1.
Child abduction, 1; child abuse serious emotional injury, 3; child molestation in the second degree, 1; child molestation in the first degree, 7; conspiracy, 1; counterfeiting, 5; custody dispute, 4; death investigation, 17; distribution of a controlled substance, 2; dog bite, 14; cultivate marijuana, 2; manufacture of a controlled substance, 2; drug possession, 15; drugs illegally in jail, 2.
Driving while intoxicated-alcohol, 26; driving while intoxicated-drugs, 2; elder abuse in the first degree, 2; failure to register as a sex offender, 4; failure to return to confinement, 4; forcible sodomy, 1; forcible rape, 11; forgery, 25; fraudulent use of credit, 10; fraudulent use of credit device, 1; gambling, 1; harassment, 44.
Hindering prosecution, 1; identity theft, 19; interfere with custody, 2; kidnapping, 4; knowingly burn or exploded, 1; littering, 8; lost/stolen property, 72; mail tampering, 5; making a false report, 1; making a false bomb report, 2; minor in possession, 3; missing juvenile, 3; missing person, 14; murder in the first degree, 1; murder in the second degree, 1.
Negligent burning, 3; peace disturbance, 3; possession of child pornography, 2; possession of a controlled substance, 29; possession of marijuana under 35 grams, 16; possession with intent to create, 6; possession of drug paraphernalia, 5; possession of illegal weapon, 1; possess drugs, 2; possession of illegal substance, 1; property damage in the first degree, 46; property damage in the second degree, 46; property damage in the second degree, 160; rape, 3; receiving stolen property, 6.
Recovered stolen property, 7; resisting arrest, 6; robbery in the second degree, 1; runaway juvenile, 6; safe school act, 2; sex abuse in the third degree, 1; sex with child, 1; sexual misconduct with third degree; stalking in the first degree; statutory rape, 15; statutory rape in the second degree, 8; statutory sodomy in the first degree, 14; statutory sodomy in the second degree, 1; stealing firearms, 10; stealing, 268.
Stealing animals, 14; stealing grain, 1; stealing motor vehicle, 25; suicide, 4; tampering in the first degree with motor vehicle, 41; tampering in the second degree with utility, 3; tampering in the second degree with motor vehicle, 1; tampering in the second degree, 4; terroristic threat, 3; trespassing in the first degree, 11; trespassing in the second degree, 13; unlawful use of a weapon, 18; unlawful possession of a firearm, 2; vandalism, 15; violation of adult abuse act, 4; violation of ex parte order of protection, 25; violation of ex parte order, 10; and well being check, 3.