The Cop Column
Sgt. Rick Hord, Public Information Officer
Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office
What Keeps Deputies Busy
A look at final year-end statistics for 2004 may set to rest two popular misconceptions about law enforcement officers:
1- Cops spend most of their time making traffic stops; and
2- When they’re not writing somebody a speeding ticket, the police are usually sitting in a doughnut shop.
The numbers for 2004 show Okaloosa Deputies spent almost 84-percent of their time on calls other than traffic stops.
Like anyone else, Deputies do take occasional breaks, but for them, leisure time is a rare commodity… and one that’s always subject to interruption. During the 366 days of 2004, Deputies handled an incident of one sort or another every three minutes. That’s a total of 170,290 incidents, an increase of 8.7-percent over the previous year.
Daily activity during the year ranged from a low of 237 calls for service on Christmas Day to a high of 903 the day after Hurricane Ivan in September. In 2004, we experienced twelve extremely busy days of more than 600 calls, compared to just two such days in 2003. While five of the busiest days were during the week of Ivan, ten of the 15 most active days were in March, July, April, and May.
A composite of one “typical” day for the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in 2004 would look something like this:
· 76 traffic stops, 42 traffic citations
· 19 traffic crashes (or reports of crashes)
· 30 occasions of assisting citizens (usually with non-criminal matters)
· 25 arrests
· 22 attempts to serve criminal warrants
· 22 responses to false alarms (Legitimate alarms? One every three weeks)
· 11 complaints of theft
· 8 gasoline drive-offs reported by gas stations
· 18 fights or disturbances, non-domestic
· 2 incidents that legally qualify as “domestic violence”
· 15 responses to the location of unverified 911 calls
· 14 attempts to identify reported suspicious persons or vehicles
· 11 security checks of homes or businesses
· 9 occasions of rendering assistance to other agencies
· 7 complaints of loud music or noise
· 7 requests for a K-9 unit
· 7 occasions to transport a prisoner
· 6 requests to check the well-being of an individual
· 5 complaints of trespassing
· 5 reports of vandalism
· 4 burglaries (47% residential; 37% vehicle; 16% business)
· 4 calls of threats/harassment/stalking, or similar complaints
· 3 animal-related incidents
· 3 reports of intoxicated or disorderly individuals
· 3 reports of drug activity or drug overdoses
All of that in one day… but we’re not through. There’s another 130 calls to go before we complete our “typical” day in 2004. Chances are, those 130 incidents will include two or three cases of child abuse; two or three runaway teenagers; a couple of littering or other environmental complaints; a couple of non-violent civil disputes; a found bicycle, purse, or wallet; a “man down” or other medical assistance call; an unattended death; an underage drinker… and more.
There’s a lot to this business you don’t see on TV.