Roswell Police and Fire departments recently have increased proactive actions lately in dealing with arrests and responding to emergencies, officers reported to city councilors Thursday.
Arrests for the month of September were 309 and self-initiated activities totaled 2,076. Proactive activities totaled 24 percent of all actions taken by officers, according to Deputy Chief Phil Smith.
Arrests have increased 18 percent in 2013.
“Our guys and women are out there doing what they’re supposed to do,” Smith said.
The department has also hired three officers and are waiting for them to graduate from training in December. Two more candidates are awaiting background checks and four additional possible hires are awaiting clearance to be assigned to patrol with field training officers.
RPD is down 10 officers, Smith said.
The department will be able to cut its officer shortage in half once its new officers—one woman and three men—are on patrol.
Vehicle thefts and property crime continue to be a problem within the city, but it mirrors a national trend, Smith told councilors.
“It’s not just Roswell, it’s a nationwide issue we’re dealing with,” Smith said. “We’re addressing it, but it does take time.”
Burglaries have increased 30 percent, larceny is up 17 percent and motor-vehicle theft is on the rise by 55 percent.
“A lot of these crimes are from the economy,” Smith said.
Motor vehicle enforcement and citations have decreased, with a drop in driving while intoxicated arrests of 44 percent and a dip in citations of 16 percent. The increase in property and financial crimes occupies officer time, allowing less time to address enforcement activities, Smith said.
The police department has launched a new web site, at www.roswellpolice.com.
Jessica Palmer, a news reporter who spoke as a citizen, voiced her concern about the police department’s new P2C portal on the website. The new site lists daily reports of arrests and incidents, some of which mention names of crime victims.
“I am here as a private citizen about what I consider a grave concern,” Palmer said.
Palmer said she felt the naming of victims of crimes under the events page could lead to an escalation of crimes against the victim.
“This is a town where I, myself, have been a victim of at least 24 crimes since I’ve moved here: burglary, larceny, criminal damage, to name a few of the low points,” Palmer said. “Maybe they could find a means for retracting names. All I’m trying to do is speak up for the victims of Roswell, that a petty crime doesn’t turn into a serious one.”
Roswell Fire Department also reported that a new response system has improved efficiency and effectiveness in emergency response. Instead of sending a full crew of fire engines and other vehicles to each 9-1-1 call, fire stations can determine which pieces of equipment or ambulances to send.
The new system, that depends on certain criteria, has resulted in a decrease of 688 calls in a month.
In other action, councilors approved declaring a disaster to allow the city to become eligible for Federal Emergency Management Funding.
City Council members also debated the issuance of allowing a permanent waiver to allow the sale of alcohol at the Royal Crown Restaurant and Event Center, located at 1714 W. 2nd St.
Councilors opted to postpone the decision on a tie-breaking vote by Mayor Del Jurney, after several members decided to allow the owners extra time to negotiate with a church nearby that disagrees with the permit.
Owners Faustino and Naomi Robles intend to remodel an existing building to operate a family restaurant and special event facility, according to plans submitted to the city.
The property is located within 300 feet of the Trinidad Community Baptist Church, which makes it necessary for the owners to ask the city for a waiver of state requirements.
Trinidad Community Baptist Church voted twice to deny the liquor license, according to Pastor Michael Bush.