Police were busy in 2006
The Cassville Police Department reported a 10 percent increase in calls for service in 2006 and a 32 percent rise in tickets issued.
This past year, local police officers responded to 2,748 calls for service as compared to 2,479 in 2005. The 2006 total is the highest number of calls handled by the police department since the year 2000 when officers answered 2,813 calls for service.
"We were extremely busy last year," said Cassville Police Chief Lonnie McCullough. "But with statistics, you have to look long range. I look for trends over several years."
The number of summons issued by Cassville police officers also increased in 2006. A total of 1,070 tickets were handed out last year as compared to 809 in 2005.
The number of cases filed with the Barry County Prosecutor's Office skyrocketed this past year, increasing by 91 percent from 61 in 2005 to 117 in 2006.
McCullough attributes this increase to the number of drug cases and domestic assault cases turned over to the prosecutor by his officers this year.
Almost every major category of crime showed significant increases in 2006.
Drug cases rose by 71 percent with Cassville officers handling 91 drug-related cases in 2006 as compared to 53 in 2005.
Burglaries jumped by 117 percent. There were 50 burglary cases reported in 2006 as compared by 23 in 2005. Trespassing cases also showed a sharp increase, rising from three in 2005 to 10 to 2006.
Alcohol-related incidents were also on the rise. Driving while intoxicated cases rose by 15 percent. There were 22 DWI charges filed in 2006 as compared to 19 in 2005. Minor in possession cases rose by 140 percent with 12 filed in 2005 and 29 in 2006.
Cassville police officers also handled one open house party case and issued three citations for supplying alcohol to minors.
Thefts were the only crime category to decrease in 2006. Officers responded to 123 cases of theft in 2005 and only 73 in 2006, a drop of 40 percent.
Motor vehicle accidents also declined this past year. Officers responded to 172 accidents in 2006, which was 13 fewer than in 2005.
"The officers are doing legitimate enforcement," said McCullough. "If you have a tail light out, they'll stop you. If your car is not licensed, they'll stop you. A lot of the criminal charges begin with a traffic stop."
The Cassville Police Department currently employs nine full-time officers. They include: McCullough, Larry Roller, Jim Stepp, Donnie Bennett, Steve Vollmer, Michael Moore, Donnie Privett, Bill Watkins and Donny Sheets.
McCullough has served as Cassville's chief of police for the past four years. He has been a city officer for 25 years and served as acting chief for around eight years.