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Insight from the West Fargo PD: Review of 2013 annual report

At the West Fargo City Commission meeting on Feb. 3, 2014 commission members received the 2013 Annual Report of the West Fargo Police Department. Like the community of West Fargo, the Annual Report reflects change in a number of areas over the past year. A copy of the report can be found on the Police Department website at:

The reported call for service is an area that has seen significant increase since 2010. The number of call for service in calendar year 2010 was 11,711. By the end of calendar year 2013 the number had grown to 20,707, an increase of 8,996. A call for service is an incident that results in an interaction between a member of the public and a police officer. The incidents include a wide variety of activities from emergency 911 calls and medical emergencies to animal impound and vehicle unlocks. The Department experienced an average of slightly more than 56 call for service incidents per day during 2013.

Certain call for service incidents require a written report to be prepared. Those incidents include reported crimes, physical arrests of individuals and matters relating to an individual’s or the public’s welfare. The number of written reports for calendar year 2013 was 2383, down eight reports from 2012, but up 23 reports from the previous five-year average.

The department made 1834 arrests during calendar year 2013. Of those arrests, 259 were juvenile offenders and 1,584 were adult offenders. 2013 juvenile offender arrest numbers were down 87 when compared to arrests made in 2012 and down 56 arrests from the previous three year average. 2013 adult arrest numbers were down six adult arrests when compared to 2012 but were up 197 adult arrests when compared to the previous three-year average. The average number of arrests for 2013 was slightly more than five arrests per day.

The number of drug arrests which have occurred over the past three years has grown from 136 arrests in 2010 to 296 in 2013. The 2013 drug arrests were down 36 arrests when compared to 2012; however, 2013’s drug arrests were up 57arrests over the previous three year average. In 2013, 142 arrests were made on charges relating to drug paraphernalia, 110 for marijuana-related offenses and 44 arrests for more serious narcotic-related charges.

Officers issued 2,817 traffic citations in 2013. That number represents 478 fewer citations written in 2013 when compared against those citations written in 2012. The 2013 numbers were also 448 citations less than the previous five-year average. Officers wrote on average just under eight traffic citations per day in 2013.

Traffic crashes in West Fargo saw a 15 percent increase during 2013 over the number of crashes reported during 2012. Officers investigated 653 reportable traffic crashes during 2013. A reportable traffic crash includes crashes resulting in a property damage amount greater than $1000 or a crash resulting in an injury to a person involved in the incident. Traffic crashes between a vehicle and an animal where no injury occurs to a person are no longer counted following the 2013 North Dakota legislative session.

The numbers reflected in the Annual Report are important to the department for the purposes of planning our operations. Increases in certain areas or activities cause us to examine the root cause for the change and direct our resources and response to address the issue. Periodic reviews of statistics throughout the year are also done for this same reason. With a limited number of resources, it is important for the department to focus on improved efficiencies and operations that best serve the public.

Michael Reitan is the assistant police chief in West Fargo