WASHINGTON — Police Chief Mike McCoy is pleased with the numbers in his department's year-end report, which he presented Monday to the City Council.
Speaking at a council meeting, McCoy praised substantial increases from 2017 to 2018 in written traffic warnings and what the department classifies as positive community contacts.
Washington police issued 1,292 traffic tickets in 2018, a 5.2 percent increase from the 1,227 issued in 2017, but written warnings jumped from 2,506 to 3,171.
"Had we written traffic tickets in 2018 at the same rate per traffic stop we did in 2017, there would have been 190 more tickets written," said McCoy, who has been police chief for 1 1/2 years.
Property damage traffic accidents went down 6.1 percent from 292 to 274 in 2018 and personal injury traffic accidents went up 57.1 percent, but only from 21 to 33.
"So the number of accidents was pretty much the same in 2017 and 2018," McCoy said. "We do whatever we can to make sure people drive safely."
McCoy said 15 of the personal injury accidents in 2018 were on U.S. Route 24, Business U.S. Route 24 and McCluggage Road..
He attributed the decline to increased patrols on those roads.
McCoy said he was most proud to see positive community contacts rise in 2018 from 974 to 1,192, and officer-initiated activities that don't generate a report rise from 12,935 to 13,380.
Combined, those two line items rose 4.7 percent from 13,909 to 14,572.
Positive community contacts include lock-outs, motorist assists, escorts, car seat inspections, fingerprinting, found property and house checks.
Investigating suspicious persons and vehicles and walk-ins are among the officer-initiated activities that aren't reported.
"We made a lot of contacts with the public last year, which is exactly what we're supposed to do," McCoy said. "We provide service."
Washington police were busier fighting crime in 2018 than they were in 2017.
Driving under the influence arrests jumped in 2018 from 47 to 66 and drug offenses remained virtually the same, from 84 to 88.
Part I offenses — serious crimes like criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and vehicle theft — went up from 392 to 431. Part II offenses, which include vehicle burglary, property damage, theft less than $500 and disorderly conduct, jumped from 1,352 to 1,802.
"We had three rashes of vehicle burglaries," McCoy said, explaining the substantial increase in Part II offenses.
The Washington Police Department has 22 full-time and nine part-time officers.
"That's good for a city our size," McCoy said. "We're content. A few of our officers have undergone specialized training, so that's a benefit for the community."
McCoy has been Washington's police chief since June 29, 2017. He came to the city after retiring as Peoria County sheriff. He was the sheriff for 15 years.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.