Sheriff: Drug cases down; jail population up
Friday, January 11, 2013 10:00 AM
Total runs and drug-related cases handled by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department were down in 2012, but jail inmate population numbers continued to climb.
Sheriff John Wallace made his annual report on the activity numbers this week to the County Council. Madison released its numbers last week and reported fewer calls but more arrests.
Deputies had a decrease in both calls and arrests. Last year, deputies responded to 5,385 calls and made 337 arrests compared with 8,752 calls and 344 arrests in 2011. Also in 2012, total citations dipped from 349 to 151, while warnings decreased from 467 to 142.
Most dramatically, theft reports decreased by 357 and drug cases were more than cut in half, dropping from 70 to 32.
Wallace said signs of an improving economy may explain the decrease in calls and number of total arrests, but he also credits strict law enforcement and the county's court system.
"It's hard to put your finger on why that happens," Wallace said of this year's numbers. "I'd like to think a lot of it is aggressive law enforcement and prosecution."
The few increases in calls for the year included fatal collisions - which jumped from 6 to 11 - and burglary - which went from 89 to 103.
In 2012, the jail had an average inmate population of 117, up by 15 compared with 2011.
Wallace said most inmates in the jail are facing Class A or B felony drug charges, which typically bring higher bonds that some do not have the means to pay.
He added that drug-related offenses are often inter-connected to other crimes.
"As drug arrests were made, other crimes went down," he said. "And if they're in here, they're not out there repeating other crimes."