The Cop Column
August, 2004
Sgt. Rick Hord

Is the Cop Business Seasonal?

I'm frequently asked if the Sheriff's business slows down after Labor Day. The traditional answer is, "Yes, but not as much as many people would think... and certainly not as much as it used to."

A review of some activity statistics confirms that answer.

Four years ago (the year 2000), Okaloosa County Sheriff's Deputies responded

to 133, 217 calls. That's an average of 364 per day. Last year (2003), the total was 156,630, or 429 per day. For the first seven months of 2004, the daily average was 466 calls.

January and February are the slowest months of the year for the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office. July and August are the busiest.

The annual activity increase is significant, but not nearly as eye-opening as this fact: the slowest months are now busier than the busiest months were just four years ago. During July and August, the two busiest months of 2000, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office handled an average of 403 calls per day. During January and February, the two slowest months of 2004, the average was 407 calls per day.

Does our business slow down? Yes, but not very much. The "slow" season is now busier than the "busy" season of just four years ago.

Overall, 2004 is shaping up almost nine-percent busier than 2003. The two months with the biggest increase? January (11-percent), and February (17-percent). The July increase for 2004 was less than eight-percent.

In 1987, the total call volume for the entire year was 26,124. Fifteen years later, in 2002, the months of July and August saw 26,595 calls. Next year, don't be surprised if January and February see 26,000+ calls (they had 24,441 this year).

How about Holidays? Are they always busy?

Of the ten busiest days of 2003, only one, the Fourth of July, was a holiday. All ten busiest days were Fridays or Saturdays in April, May, July, August, or September... but not June.

Three of the five slowest days were holidays: Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Martin Luther King Day. The remaining seven of the ten slowest days were Sundays, Mondays, and one Tuesday... all in January and February.

Does the full moon mean more business for law enforcement?

That's a legend that dates back a few centuries. If you're looking for facts to support the legend, however, you should look somewhere other than Okaloosa County.

None of the 12 full moons during 2003 fell on the busiest day of its calendar month. Only three times during the year was the busiest day of the month within three days of the full moon. One of the full moon days was among the ten slowest days of the year. None were even close to the ten most active; the top two ranked 25th and 51st for the year. The busiest full-moon day of 2003 would be only an average summer day in 2004.

At the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, we no longer have a "slow season."