Tecumseh Police Chief reviews annual report with council members
By DEB WUETHRICH
The Tecumseh Police Department responded to 4,220 complaints during 2011, according to Chief Troy Stern, who discussed the department’s annual report before City Council on Monday, March 5. The year encompassed his first as chief, and Stern said the department had a pretty stable year staff-wise after a few years of turnover. Previously, 14 officers were working the road, and this year the numbers are down to 11 officers.
“One officer was on medical leave all year and one deployed to the military in Afghanistan for half the year, so that took us down to nine officers, and we were still obtaining these numbers,” said Stern. “I am so proud of everyone on staff and their efforts.”
The report showed 208 felony complaints, 894 misdemeanors, and 2,633 non-criminal complaints. Accident numbers were down, with the biggest reduction occurring in private property crashes. The department also made 610 arrests this year, a 10-year high.
“I don’t know if it’s just a sign of the times, but I do know we’ve put more emphasis on traffic enforcement in the city,” Stern said. “Felony arrests have really spiked this year, and I think this has to do with the fact we’ve put more emphasis on property investigation and proper follow up on complaints where in the past some may have been slipping through the cracks.”
There were 54 drunk driving arrests in 2011, which has been constant for the past couple of years, but reduced over a five-year span. Stern said some of that could be attributed to enhanced penalties and changes in the blood alcohol limits. Issuance of traffic tickets were up, he said.
“I want our officers to be visible in traffic, and I want them to be firm, but fair,” Stern said.
The chief also pointed out to council members that TPD’s personnel are primarily in the mid- to older-range in age, and that most have several years of experience in law enforcement.
“What you have is a pretty seasoned, veteran police department on your hands here,” he said. “I think you are seeing that with the level of enforcement we are having out there.”
Stern listed some challenges for 2012 which include:
• Maintaining the service currently provided
• Maintaining productivity of the department
• Replacing end of life equipment
• Competing for grants
He said since staff numbers are down, the key is to keep staff motivated and productive. There are also some changes coming in terms of equipment such as radio consoles on patrol cars soon needing replacement as new models come into the fleet.
“We’re going to continue to seek grants to help fund our needs for equipment,” Stern said.