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Officer Down

Friday, March 22, 2013

NEWS: Arrests up, serious crime down in Franklin Park in 2012

--Numbers are great. To bad there is no way to quantify the number of crimes prevented when the number of officer on the street is increased.
This is the unseen work that is done by police officers and often overlooked when people decide to hate on the police.
Keep up the good guys.--

Story at Pioneer Press

March 18, 2013 11:48PM

FRANKLIN PARK — The number of crimes in Franklin Park stayed more or less flat in 2012 though arrests were up from 2011.

That’s according to the 2012 annual report issued by the Franklin Park Police Department.

Total police calls went from 19,389 to 20,541. Index crimes, which are the most serious crimes, declined slightly, from 411 to 399.

Index crimes are murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault/battery, burglary, theft, vehicle theft and arson.

Police Chief Mike Witz said arrests increased in 2012 partially due to more witnesses and partially due to hiring two new officers.

“They’re excited and tend to increase your numbers,” Witz said. “Veterans get excited and want to show them how to make arrests.”

Police also caught more drunk drivers in 2012 — that tally was up to 70, from 40 arrests in 2011.

“One of our officers became a certified drug detention officer,” Witz said. “He goes through advanced classes. (Also) there are two new offices on the street.”

The number of people caught speeding, however, dropped almost in half over the last few years, from 977 in 2009 to 515 in 2012. Witz said that’s due to a decrease in officers in 2010.

“The priority went from traffic to patrol operations,” Witz said.

The number of overweight trucks caught by Franklin Park Police dropped from 89 in 2008 to 33 in 2012.

In 2012 police also brought back the village’s boot program. Drivers who owe on 10 or more citations may have their vehicle immobilized with a metal “boot” clamped around one of their wheels.

The clamp stays on until the fines are paid or a payment schedule is worked out.

While police booted only five vehicles in 2012, they brought in $7,725 and reached agreements for another $16,880. That’s partially due to reallocating officers but mostly due to the trucking firms.

“Trucking companies have begun to install meters on their trucks,” Witz said. “When the driver got into the vehicle in the past, he had no idea how much weight was in the vehicle.”

Perhaps the biggest news for Franklin Park Police in 2012 was breaking ground on a new police station. The 36,500-square-foot station is expected to be complete in August.

“It’s a safer work environment for our officers,” Witz said. “The firing range means we’re no longer at the mercy of other firing range facilities. There will be a meeting room and adjudication courtroom. There will be more work space for officers.”

The new station has drawn criticism from some residents — and two then-village trustees — who argue a new police station shouldn’t be a priority during a poor economy.

Village officials, in turn, argue that the poor economy reduced the cost of the site and that the current police building is in poor condition.

Franklin Park Police also obtained $985,000 in grants from the state last year toward the new police station site and another $133,000 for a mobile surveillance trailer.

The department also gained about $30,000 in forfeited money from drug cases, which it used to help buy two squad cars.

The total police budget for 2012 was $5.3 million. About 53 percent came from property taxes with the rest coming from tickets, or the village’s share of state tickets, as well as grants and smaller sources.

About three-fourths of that $5.3 million budget was spent on salaries.