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2/21/2013 9:30:00 PM
Goodhue County Sheriff's Office calls down in 2012

by Ken Haggerty

The Goodhue County Sheriff's Office reports 13,991 calls for service/incident reports in 2012, down about 11 percent from the 15,668 in 2011 and 15,547 in 2010.

Most of the drop comes from reduced traffic stops, which went from 8,157 in 2011 to 6,116 in 2012. Roughly, three warnings are given for every citation issued.

Vehicle accidents were down to 264 in 2012, from 431 in 2011. That was the lowest number in a six year summary from the Sheriff's Office.

Driving complaints were up from 371 to 450 in 2012. Goodhue County Sheriff Scott McNurlin said the growth in calls is probably tied to the growth in cell phones; drivers call in complaints right from the road more and more often.

DWI arrests by the Sheriff's Office were down from 135 to 81. Other alcohol related calls were down from 46 to 40.

Drug related calls were up from 53 to 58. McNurlin, who worked on multi-agency drug task forces in the past, says he's shocked to see heroin come back as a drug in use. "It's so lethal, so unstable, even the users had backed away from it." He thinks the rise in the use of prescription pain killers is linked to the rise in the use of heroin.

McNurlin was disappointed to see motor vehicle fatalities in Goodhue County at eight, up from five in 2010 and 2011. Three were of unbelted occupants; a number he's also disappointed to see after all the efforts on seatbelt safety.

The Sheriff's Office handled 297 boating or ATV related calls in 2012, up from 286 in 2011. The County uses available state funding to help pay for a designated officer to help with lake and river issues. He says the County has discussed stationing a boat near Cannon Falls to more quickly handle Byllesby calls.

Burglary calls were up from 48 to 56. McNurlin says rural daytime residential break-ins remain a problem and that theft of copper and recyclable metals is also a growing concern. Thefts were up from 172 in 2011 to 233 in 2012. Most thefts are tied to drug activity, McNurlin said.

Auto theft calls for 2012 were at 20, up from 18.

Suspicious person or activity calls were up from 565 to 631. McNurlin says with so many miles of isolated rural areas to cover, calls from citizens about suspicious activity are a great assistance. "Don't be apprehensive of getting involved," said McNurlin.

Animal bites were down from 23 to 21. Animal complaints were down from 363 to 359.

Civil complaints were up from 222 to 249 in 2012.

Calls to assist other authorities were up from 1,178 to 1,252.

Assault calls were up from 29 to 38. Sexual assault calls were down from 9 to 7.

Criminal damage to property calls were up from 96 to 108. Domestic and disturbance calls were up from 136 to 141.

Suicide and threat calls were the same as 2011, at 40.

The Sheriff's Office handled 3698 medical assist calls, about the same as 365 in 2011.

Alarm calls were down from 168 to 154 in 2012.

McNurlin says on most days, five Deputies are on patrol, including a car stationed in Pine Island and a car stationed in Wanamingo. Both cities contract for coverage with the County. The other patrol cars are designated as east, west and floater.

McNurlin says they cover 764 square miles and would like to be able to increase the budget and add another patrol officer. He thinks a northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast coverage pattern would be beneficial.

The Sheriff's Office has been adding new style patrol cars this past year, and McNurlin says the SUV style units are much better in the snow and ice and for getting in and out of for the employees.

The Sheriff's Office also administers the jail. The population has been high this past year with the addition of some boarding of inmates from Rice County adding to the Goodhue jail bottom line. Rice is in a remodel, so those numbers may fall off.

McNurlin would very much like to see every school with an officer on duty during the school day.

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