Reducing traffic accidents — in large part by increasing traffic-related citations — is a priority for the Delta Police Department in 2014. The DPD responded to 249 traffic accidents in 2012.
One "hot spot" is Main Street between Pioneer Road and the Highway 92 intersection. Between 2009 and 2012, 258 accidents were reported on that stretch of road.
Overall, the police department has seen a decrease in calls and incidents, leading Chief Robert Thomas to conclude the department could eliminate one patrol officer.
His findings were presented to the Delta City Council during a recent budget work session.
City manager Justin Clifton has insisted on incorporating quantifiable data into the budget process, a process which Chief Thomas said revealed how staffing could be improved to ensure maximum coverage during the busiest call times.
The police department had 17 sworn officers from 2007-2010, but increased the number to 18 from 2010-2013. Those figures do not include the police chief or commander.
Chief Robert Thomas has been with the police department since spring 2008 and has seen an average of five terminations or resignations within the department every year. This year the number dropped to four.
A survey recently conducted by the city revealed about 63% of city residents are satisfied with the effectiveness of the Delta Police Department. Nearly 66% said they're satisfied with the police department's ability to maintain a safe community.
The chief also attempted to gather data on average response times and the types of calls officers are dispatched to, but found some inconsistencies in the computer-generated reports. He plans to go through those numbers line by line so he has more reliable baseline data.
The police department also handles animal control, and the chief reported on a community meeting concerning the future of the city-owned animal shelter. The hope was to find "stakeholders" who would take an active role in the operation of the animal shelter. Most of those attending, however, have their hands full with operating non-profit animal shelters in other areas of the county.
On Jan. 1, CAWS is turning operation of the animal shelter back over to the city. Animal control officer Ryla Pavlisick, who works four hours a day, will then need to spend time at the shelter caring for quarantined animals. There will be no one to handle adoptions or foster care.
"The plan at this point," Chief Thomas said, "is for officers to respond to dog bites, quarantines, animals that present a health risk to the community, aggressive animals. Stray animals, wildlife, we will no longer respond to."
"We will rely a lot on home quarantines, which Ryla will monitor," he said.
"There's a consequence [to that decision] no doubt," city manager Justin Clifton said. But given budgetary restrictions, animal control is a "relative" priority, given the total number of priorities facing the city, he said.blog comments powered by Disqus