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Police report an increase in arrests, cases

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Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 12:00 am

If the statistical data of the Olean Police Department from last year proves anything, it’s that officers had a busy year.

In 2009, the department received a total of 14,193 service calls, up 5 percent from 2008. The number of cases officers handled in 2009 were up to 6,318, or 16 percent, from 5,431 in 2008.

The increased calls to the department yielded 2,913 arrests, up from the 2,573 in the previous year.

Pleased with the work the department did in 2009, Police Chief Terry Schnell said the increase in reported activity is a direct result from the department’s manpower.

“I have more (officers) on the streets than I ever have,” Chief Schnell said. “Our numbers are adequate to meet the demands.”

In a letter submitted to the Times Herald, Chief Schnell reported the following criminal arrests made last year:

Felonies: 108

Violations: 283

Misdemeanors: 865

Juveniles: 45

DWI: 71

City Ordinances: 28

Additionally, Olean Police issued 2,554 traffic tickets and 1,313 parking tickets. In the previous year, Chief Schnell said police officers issued 1,802 traffic tickets and 909 parking tickets.

Chief Schnell also reported 621 motor vehicle accidents in 2009. Officers responded to 585 domestic violence calls last year, as well.

For the department’s Criminal Investigation Unit — it handles cases requiring special attention, like robberies, murders and rapes — Chief Schnell reported the following arrests in 2009:

Felonies: 76

Misdemeanors: 92

Violations: 23

Juveniles: 33

Although announcing an increase in criminal activity, Chief Schnell said the reported figures don’t necessarily mean the city had more crime occurring.

“There might be in increase (in reported criminal activity) but the major element of that is because we have more officers we can adequately do more follow-ups,” Chief Schnell said.

Currently, the department has 34 active police officers. In past years, Chief Schnell said the department had lower staffing levels.

“We now have seven patrolmen on each shift, and that’s something we haven’t had in about 10 years,” he explained. “Having the extra patrolmen makes all the difference.

 “We have enough patrolmen that we can designate someone to a specific duty — like traffic enforcement.”

By having a bigger staff, Chief Schnell said the department is able to pursue more leads and make more arrests.

In looking ahead at the current year, Chief Schnell said operations at the department will be “business as usual.”

However, with funding from grants coming from the state, Chief Schnell said in the upcoming months, the department will step up its efforts to address more traffic violations and have even more officers on patrol.

(Contact reporter Christopher Michel at Cmichel@oleantimesherald.com)

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