Conney: DUIs happen 'every time of the day'

Cary Ashby • Mar 8, 2018 at 5:00 PM

Despite the message to the public not to drive under the influence, interim Norwalk Police Chief Mike Conney told city council that DUIs have increased.

Officers received 114 reports and made 113 arrests in 2017, compared to 87 reports and 86 arrests the previous year. 

“It happens at every time of the day,” Conney told council Tuesday when briefly reviewing the annual report. 

On the positive side, the interim chief said motorists going through Norwalk aren’t afraid to call police about suspicious driving or possible DUIs.

“We do get a lot of people that way,” Conney added.

Calls for service also increased from 2016 to 2017 — 16,539 up to 17,664.

By far the largest amount of 2017 arrests was warrant arrests or summonses at 559. The rest of the top five were: DUI (113), possession of drugs (85), disorderly conduct (81) and domestic violence (60). 

Patrol officers responded to 64 drug overdoses in the city in 2017. Police said several of those incidents remain under investigation.

Detectives obtained 46 felony indictments through Huron County Common Pleas Court in 2017 while patrol officers had 86. Many of those were multi-count indictments.

Also in 2017, detectives were involved in joint investigations with the following agencies: The sheriff’s offices in Huron and Erie counties; Bellevue, Willard and Sandusky police departments, METRICH (a 10-county, decentralized drug task force) and the Lorain County Drug Task Force.

Conney said there were 614 more traffic stops last year compared to 2016, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there were more citations.

“Our officers have stopped more cars, but apparently have issued more warnings, which is not a bad thing,” he added.

When it comes to traffic crashes, there were 326 street accidents in 2017, down from 388 the previous year. Private-property crash numbers remained about the same: 37 in 2017 and 33 in 2016. 

There were more than twice as many pedestrian-related traffic crashes in 2017 (10) than in 2016, when there were four.

Conney said he was pleased to see there have been no fatal crashes in the last two years.

The total number of injury crashes in Norwalk decreased significantly compared to 2016. There were 46 such accidents last year in which 56 people were injured and 82 crashes in 2016 with the same amount of injuries. 

In personnel action, the new 2017 hires include: Clerk Brittney Lesch, reserve officers Justin Fulton and Andrew Hemenway and dispatchers Kate Barker and Jonathon Shaw. In status changes, Fulton and Seth Kramer were hired as full-time officers, Hayden Service is the new canine officer and dispatcher Kaylin (Hedrick) Pickering is now a clerk.

The D.A.R.E. program graduated 259 fifth-graders from Norwalk public and parochial schools in 2017 and 150 pre-kindergartent students graduated from Safety Town.

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