The Barry County Sheriff's Department recently released its 2008 end-of-the-year report that revealed a drop in crime but a rise in overall call volume.
"I'd say crime is down about 15 percent," said Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly. "But if you look at the 911 call logs, our call volume is actually increasing. Those calls reflect everything that comes through our office. That means walk-ins, phone calls, a crime report or booking a prisoner."
According to the 2008 Barry County E-911 report, the Sheriff's Department responded to a total of 9,479 calls for service. Because Barry County's E-911 system did not go on-line until November of 2007, there are no call volume statistics for that year.
Based on this volume, the county's 20 road officers responded to an average of 473 calls each during 2008.
"Our officers are definitely busy," said Sheriff Epperly. "In addition to responding to calls, they are also investigating crimes, writing reports, transporting prisoners, providing bailiff services to the court and teaching DARE classes."
When asked during the annual county budget hearing if his department needed additional deputies, Sheriff Epperly said he could probably use five to 10 more deputies to serve a growing population.
"This is a large county, and I think the public would like us to have more road deputies," said Epperly. "But we have to work within a budget and adding more deputies is just not possible right now."
The offense report totals issued by the sheriff's department showed a sharp decline in cases this year, but Epperly said this large drop was due to a change in the way the department tracks its cases. The numbers show that the sheriff's department responded to 2,106 cases that required a report, which is less than half of the 4,668 cases reported in 2007.
"We have seen less crime this year, but our crime rate did not fall as much as those numbers show," said Epperly. "We've just changed the way we track our cases and enter them in the computer and that is why the numbers have dropped so much."
Epperly also pointed out that not all the cases his deputies work are sent to the Barry County Prosecutor's office for prosecution.
A breakdown of the cases handled by the sheriff's department in 2008 is as follows: 12-hour self protect, 6; 30-day safe keep, 2; 96-hour mental evaluation, 7; abandoning a motor vehicle, 1; abuse of a child, 13; accidental shooting, 1; aggravated stalking in the first degree, 2; alter or remove item numbered, 1; animal abuse, 19; animal neglect, 11;
Animal theft, 5; arson in the second degree, 6; assault in the first degree, 9; assault in the first degree - domestic violence, 17; assault in the second degree, 18; assault in the third degree - domestic violence, 122; assault in the third degree with injury, 19; assault in the third degree, 75; assault on a law enforcement officer in the first degree, 1; assault of a law enforcement officer in the third degree, 1.
Attempted suicide, 14; burglary in the first degree, 18; burglary in the second degree, 148; careless and imprudent driving (no accident), 7; careless driving, 4; cat bite, 1; child abuse with serious emotional injury, 5; child molestation in the second degree, 1; child molestation in the first degree, 7; child/sex performance, 1; conspiracy, 1.
Contempt of court, 4; counterfeiting, 5; custody dispute, 10; death investigation, 14; distribution of a controlled substance near school, 1; dog bite, 19; drinking while driving, 1; drug violation manufacturing, 1; dumping in unlicensed area, 1; driving while intoxicated - alcohol, 24; driving while intoxicated - drugs, 1; driving while revoked, 1; elder abuse in the third degree, 1.
Embezzlement of funds, 1; endangering the welfare of a child, 6; endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree, 7; endangering the welfare of child in the second degree, 3; enticement of a child, 1; failure to register as sex offender, 2; failure to provide adequate care, 1; failure to yield to emergency vehicle, 2; failure to drive on right half of roadway, 1; failure to register motor vehicle, 1.
False imprisonment, 1; felonious restraint, 2; file false report, 2; financial exploitation, 1; forcible rape with weapon or injury, 1; forcible sodomy with weapon or injury, 1; forcible rape, 1; forcible sodomy, 1; forgery, 12; fraud - pyramid sales, 1; fraud - unlawful practice, 2; fraudulent procurement with credit device, 15; harassment, 58; identity theft, 23; incorrigible juvenile, 7.
Information report, 108; interfere with custody, 7; knowingly burn or explode, 5; left scene of accident, 3; littering, 4; lost-stolen property, 24; mail fraud, 1; mail tampering, 4; minor in possession, 3; minor visibly intoxicated (blood alcohol content .02 or above, 2; missing juvenile, 5; missing person, 15; murder in the first degree, 1; murder in the second degree, 1; operating a vehicle without a license, 1; other agencies assist, 3.
Parental kidnapping, 1; peace disturbance in the first offense, 2; peace disturbance, 7; possession of child pornography, 2; possession of a controlled substance, 7; possession of marijuana under 35 grams, 3; possession of a controlled substance with intent to create, 3; possession of drug paraphernalia, 2; possession of an open title, 1; prohibited item in correctional facility, 2; promoting child porn in the first degree, 1; property damage in the first degree, 32.
Property damage in the second degree, 149; public drunkenness, 1; rape, 4; receiving stolen property, 5; recovered stolen property, 12; resisting or interfering with arrest, 2; runaway juvenile, 12; sale or possession of unnumbered vehicle, 1; search warrants, 2; sex with child, 1; sexual abuse, 1; sexual exploitation of a minor, 1; sexual misconduct in the first degree, 3; shoot at or from a vehicle, 2; sodomy, 1; stalking first offense, 2.
Statutory rape, 3; statutory rape in the second degree, 3; statutory sodomy in the first degree, 24; stealing a firearm, 7; felony stealing, 128; misdemeanor stealing, 137; stealing a credit or debit card, 4; stealing animals, 13; stealing a motor vehicle, 19; stealing of motor vehicle fuel, 3; suicide, 6; tampering in the first degree with motor vehicle, 33; tampering in the second degree with motor vehicle, 14; tampering with witness in misdemeanor prosecution, 1; tampering in the second degree, 1.
Tampering with a utility connection, 2; terroristic threatening, 4; theft from United States mail, 7; tow vehicle without safety device, 1; trespassing in the first degree, 12; trespassing in the second degree, 23; unattended death, 18; unclassified, 32; unlawful use of a weapon, 10; vandalism, 12; violation of adult abuse act, 9; violation of full order of protection, 32; violation of ex parte order, 13; violation of order of protection, 1; and well being check, 3.