January police log provides a look into types of calls received

By 
Liz Kearney
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January’s police log was typical for this time of year, Livingston Police Chief Dale Johnson said Wednesday.

January’s call log statistics were compiled for a recent Livingston City Commission agenda packet. 

The information provided included the number and type of calls received at the 911 Dispatch Center, and how those numbers compared to January of last year. Calls for service in January 2015 numbered 510 and for January 2016, there were 521, according to the LPD Monthly Report. 

The report states that even with the department currently short five officers, all shifts have been covered. Two officers are currently in training at the Police Academy, two positions are open, and the fifth involves litigation with former officer Matthew Tubaugh. Johnson said interviews for the two vacancies have been held, and he hopes to fill the positions soon. 

The report also includes the top five categories investigated by the LPD in January, which, in descending order of call numbers, are police assists, animal issues, welfare checks, disturbances and 911 hang-up calls. 

Calls are documented according to a set list of categories, and “Police Assist” is a general category that covers situations where someone might need to speak to an officer but typically are not criminal matters, Johnson said Wednesday. 

One recent example came from a school seeking assistance when a student didn’t return to school after lunch, Johnson said. Another example involved a caller who wanted information about installing security cameras and obtaining a gun permit. 

“Animals” includes calls like barking dog complaints, animal cruelty, dog bites, and animals hit by vehicles. 

“Welfare check” includes calls from people asking an officer to check on another person.

“These are calls where people are concerned they haven’t heard from someone in a couple of days,” Johnson said. 

“Disturbance” often involves some sort of physical altercation, Johnson said, but can include any sort of complaint where something is going on that disturbs people nearby, including loud music or a verbal altercation. 

And “911 hang-ups” are often just accidental misdials, but officers respond to the calls in case there’s an actual emergency. The dispatcher will first try to call the number back. If there’s an address associated with the number, an officer will visit to make sure no one’s in trouble. Even if the caller responds that everything is OK, an officer will go check it out in case the caller is being coerced to respond positively, Johnson said. 

Some are truly accidental, like in a motel or office where dialing “”9” for an outside line and then “1” for long distance and tapping the “1” twice can trigger a 911 call, Johnson said. 

And if it’s kids just playing around with a phone, an officer will go and talk to them.

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Liz Kearney may be reached at lkearney@livent.net.