Blackwell Police 2020 statistics: crime down in pandemic year

by Charles Gerian

The Blackwell Police Department gave its 2020 annual report to the Blackwell City Council during Thursday’s City Council meeting. Chief of Police Dewayne Wood detailed crime statistics and information from the year.

In his opening statement, Wood addressed the pandemic, national unrest between police officers and the public, and more.

“I am proud to present the City of Blackwell Police Department's annual report for 2020,” Wood said. “First, I would like to thank City Manager Janet Smith along with Mayor [Steve] Marquardt and the rest of the City Council for their support.

“The purpose of this report is to provide you and the community a snapshot of the police department's operations, and present a summary of calls for service, report data, citation data, along with other information. My hope is to give you a glimpse of the hard work and the selfless dedication from the men and women of our organization.

“Law enforcement has always been a challenging profession, but 2020 made it even more so. I want to thank our staff, who were forced at times to change some operational procedures to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic. I appreciate our staff having each others’ backs. We were always able to provide law enforcement service to our citizens, even with various officers, 911 dispatchers, or animal control officers out with the virus or in quarantine.

“To the men and women of the Blackwell Police Department, it is an honor to represent you. Even with the national attention on strained relationships between the police and the public, I see you working hard to keep the trust and continue to build connections during this pandemic and unrest in our country,” Wood said.

2020’s department highlights included the arrival of K-9 Officer Senna. Police officers helped Blackwell Public Schools hand out meals during the opening days of the pandemic. They helped a mother of five purchase air conditioning units during the sweltering summer, and they assisted in recovery efforts after the October ice storm. They also gave out Chamber of Commerce bucks during the Chamber’s annual Christmas giveaway, among other projects.

Assaults continued to go down in 2020 from 2018, as did DUIs, which plummeted from 28 in 2018 to 17 in 2020. Public intoxications dropped from 43 in 2018 and 31 in 2019, to 18 in 2020.

Drug and narcotics arrests sat at 185 in 2018 and dropped to 116 in 2019 before decreasing to 66 in 2020. Wood attributed this to officers’ work in steering drugs away from Blackwell after several high-profile drug busts.

Wood said emergency orders of detention rose in 2020 over 2019 because of the stressed mental state of individuals during the pandemic.

Runaway children were down to six in 2020, continuing the downward trend from 17 in 2018 and nine in 2019. Stolen vehicles were up, however, with 23 in 2020 compared to the seven in 2019.

Arrests were down from 380 in 2018 and 315 in 2019 to 243 in 2020. Traffic stops decreased from 3,500 in 2018 to 2,935 in 2019. In 2020, they fell to 2,694.

The number of animals adopted out to non-profit organizations was up in 2020 compared to the last two years.