Blackwell Police Department releases 2018 statistics

by Charles Gerian

The Blackwell Police Department had 3,542 traffic stops and 380 arrests in 2018, according to the year-end figures presented to the Blackwell City Council by Chief of Police Dewayne Wood.

Wood read the police department's annual report to council members during their regularly-scheduled meeting on Thursday. The report compiles statistics and records from the current year and compares them to years prior as a way to “mark progress,” according to Wood.

Wood began the report by thanking city leaders for their support of the department during 2018.

“I want to say thank you to Mayor T.J. Greenfield and the rest of the City Council, along with retired City Manager Chip Outhier. Your support of good wages and benefits, along with great equipment and training, make Blackwell a great place to work and an easy place [for officer recruitment],” he said. “I look forward to working with new City Manager Janet Smith who, in her short time here, has already displayed her support for law enforcement and has shown she truly cares about her staff.”

In 2018, the department was manned by 15 sworn officers, one reserve officer, one full-time animal control officer, one part-time animal control officer, five full-time dispatchers, two part-time dispatchers, and a part-time custodian.

Wood stated that several longtime staffers retired in 2018, leaving the department “younger.”

“We had a lot of experience walk out the door in 2018,” leaving the department with “some tremendous shoes to fill,” he said.

In 2018, Sergeant Jason Lunn left with 10 years of service; dispatchers Gary Cox and Debbie Ball left with 18 and six years, respectively; officers Aaron Crompton, Nick Moreno, and Richard Tyler left with six, four, and two years, respectively; animal control officer John Gerian left with 13 years, and animal control officer Kristen Knepper left with two.

Wood said the department had several notable events in 2018, including:

The department's involvement with the Chamber of Commerce's career fair

The department's recognition by the Kaw Nation for its efforts in combating domestic violence

Mock DUI accidents being held before prom and graduation at Blackwell High School

Lieutenant Gary Preuss and Corporal Nick Grove's renovation of the department's lobby

Officer Aaron Crompton becoming a trooper with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol

Rapid response training being held at BHS

The Fraternal Order of Police sponsoring a family night-swim at the public pool

Officer Nick Moreno joining the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs

The murder at Best Way Inn, which was worked in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Kay County Sheriff's Office, and the Kay County District Attorney's Office

The creation of a new school zone on Main Street between Adam and Carson streets

The First Assembly of God donating customized Bibles to the city's police officers and firemen

The addition of Luis Frias to the U.S. Marshal's Top 15 Most Wanted list, and his subsequent capture last week.

Getting into the year-end statistics, the department reported 66 traffic accidents in 2018, which was down from 80 in 2017. It also reported 93 assaults last year, an increase from 87 in 2017. Burglary and DUI reports were both down from 31 in 2017, with the department only reporting 28 DUIs in 2018.

Public intoxication charges went from 39 in 2017 to 42 in 2018, which was down from the 53 reported in 2016. Drug and narcotics arrests were up from 98 in 2016 and 142 in 2017 to 185 in 2018.

Larceny charges were up to 70 in 2018 from 57 in 2017, and runaway reports were up from 16 in 2017 to 17 in 2018. Reported sex crimes were at 12 in 2018, up only one from 2017. Vandalism and stolen-vehicle charges were up in 2018, and warrant arrests were up from 176 in 2017 to 248 in 2018.

Total arrests climbed from 368 in 2017 to 380 in 2018.

Blackwell drivers seemed to be on good behavior, with 3,542 traffic stops in 2018. That number was down significantly from the 4,716 in 2017. Traffic citations were down from 815 in 2017 to 747 in 2018, and warnings were down from 4,571 in 2017 to 3,464 in 2018.

The department received 3,196 calls to 9-1-1 last year, as well as 10,496 calls for service.

Statistics in the animal control division were down across the board in 2018, with 384 dogs impounded. That number was down from 397 in 2017. The number of cats impounded was down to 190 from 241 in 2017. Incidents with other kinds of animals, such as opossums and skunks, were down from 214 in 2017.

Reports of dog bites were up from 11 in 2017 to 17 in 2018.

In 2018, 252 animals were adopted out, a decrease from nearly 300 in 2017. In addition, 149 animals were sent to non-profit organizations, down from 172 in 2017.