State police calls increased last year, commander says

Number of investigations the same despite rise

March 07, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Calls of all kinds to Maryland State Police at Westminster increased last year by more than 15 percent, while the number of criminal investigations ranging from minor vandalism to attempted murder remained the same, the barracks commander told the Carroll County commissioners yesterday.

"It's just an indication that we're busy," said Lt. Terry L. Katz, at the quarterly law-enforcement briefing that included Carroll Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning and State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes. The state police resident-trooper program provides primary police coverage for the county's 158,000 residents.

The number of computer-dispatched calls totaled 41,110 last year, compared with 34,714 for 2000, Katz said. But not all were from civilians because the figure includes calls from troopers conducting crime-prevention patrols in specific areas.

"So crime hasn't gone up," he said. The number of criminal investigations totaled 4,790 reports last year - "identical to the previous year."

Burglary remains the top crime in Carroll, with a slight increase in commercial break-ins accompanied by a slight decrease in those at residences, Katz said.

The number of arrests for driving while intoxicated rose - 502 arrests last year, a 15 percent increase, he said.

"A concern that we have from preliminary examination" of these arrests, Katz said, "is we're getting younger drivers that are intoxicated, in their 20s."

Domestic violence remains the dominant violent crime in the county, according to the annual figures. Barnes has made it a priority in his office to handle such cases, which tend to be longer and more complicated, he said.

The sheriff and several of his top staff outlined a number of innovations in the past year, including a videotaped bail review system to begin soon and a satellite office at the Carroll County Detention Center for court commissioners. The office won more than $500,000 in grants this year for programs and equipment.

Katz also told the commissioners that since the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, troopers have received training in homeland defense against weapons of mass destruction, and the barracks has a unit trained to handle suspected hazardous materials.

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