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A Note From The Chief 1999

Since 1993, the Winooski Police Department saw an increase in criminal arrest of over 250%. While preparing this report, I looked at our activity during the past five years and hoped to use this information to plan for our future needs. For calendar year 1993 the Winooski Police Department submitted 352 criminal cases to court for prosecution. During 1998, the department submitted a grand total of 882 criminal cases to court. This included 126 criminal cases prosecuted by the Winooski City Grand Juror.

Although overall calls for service only increased by 6%, the demand placed upon our officers has increased at a far greater rate. This increase can be attributed to a zero tolerance approach to alcohol-related incidents, particularly possession of alcohol by a minor, and an increase in domestic related incidents.

Legislative changes by the Vermont State Legislature, and a change in attitude by the community at large, has led to a large increase in the number of criminal arrests for violating abuse prevention orders and conditions of pre-trial release.

The number of arrests for Driving While Under the Influence has more than doubled. The department received a $9,000 grant from the State of Vermont to increase the number of hours dedicated to DUI and traffic enforcement.

Winooski was the first community to prosecute cases through the City Grand Juror, allowing complete control over prosecution by the City. During my first year as Chief, the Winooski City Council adopted amendments to our City Code to allow for prosecution by the Grand Juror of incidents that effect the quality of life of the residents. We have found this to be a very effective tool to providing for a safer community.

To put this into perspective, a single arrest for a violation of an abuse prevention order will take an officer over four hours to complete. A DUI arrest can take up to four hours, but can take longer if the subject requests a blood test. This request will require that an officer transport a person to the hospital, then wait with them until a blood test is taken.

The Department continued to receive funding thought the Department of Justice. With this funding, the department will be assigning a second full-time officer at the Winooski Educational Center. The School Resource officer has been well received by the community and we plan to increase the SRO’s presence within the school.

This year a new program was developed and will be offered to Middle School age children during the 1999-2000 school year. "10"63", police code for ‘prepare to copy information’ is a civics-based legal education class. Officer Jim Fuller was part of the curriculum development committee that wrote the workbook and teaching standards. The "10-63" program has been approved by the Vermont Department of Education as an essential part of social studies program guidelines. We are proud to say that our department was in on the development of what will be a statewide course of study.

Kilo, our police patrol dog, finished his basic K-9 school this year and has "hit the streets" with his handler Sgt. David Dewey. The departments K-9 program is possible only through the generous support of the community. Many businesses contributed supplies and financial support to the program. All the members of the department wish to express their thanks to the community for making this program a reality.

During FY1998-1999 the Police Department responded to a total of 11,066 calls for service. The officers of the department issued 1,811 Traffic Tickets and 1796 parking tickets, and responded to 358 motor vehicle accidents.

(Steve McQueen, Chief of Police)

 

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