Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says there were no big swings in call volume from 2017 to 2018, but did point out the increases and decreases in some areas. The number of thefts, car/deer accidents, property damage incidents, and fire calls all dropped over the last year. In contrast, Kewaunee County saw an increase in drunk driving incidents and rescue calls while the number of domestic violence cases and mental health crisis reports stayed the same. Joski says the proper messaging can still be improved in some areas.
Incidents involving kids rose in 2018, something Joski says they need to do a better job addressing in 2019 to see what needs to change.
FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI
I always like to take a moment to thank all of those who serve our communities and keep them safe. Throughout the year I receive numerous calls from those who have had direct contact with law enforcement, and who feel the need to express their appreciation for the acts of a given officer or officers. We are truly blessed to have these public servants living among us, those who have put the needs of their community above their own needs. This also holds true for those in our communities who give of themselves in the fire service as well as rescue personnel and first responders.
To see on a daily basis how these professionals come together at a time of crisis and apply their given talent to those in need is truly humbling. Even more amazing is that after a call is complete they re-group and prepare for the next response. This goes on 24 hours a day 7 days a week. While most are sleeping they are responding. While most are at holiday events, they are responding.
Law enforcement has an additional component which is unique to our calling which requires us to stand between those we protect and those who would harm them. This position in society is not an easy one as we must determine friend from foe, and how we will respond to threats to both our communities as well as to ourselves in split seconds. While we rely on an ongoing regiment of training and policy updates which reinforces a consistent and appropriate response to all possible scenarios, the reality is that every situation has its own dynamics.
We realize the faith that our communities have put in us, and confidence which is placed on our abilities to navigate through the myriad of calls and complaints as we go about the duties of preserving the peace. I would hope that all can appreciate the burden that we place on law enforcement officers, and take every opportunity to let them know that they have not only our appreciation, but our support throughout the year. To all who put on the badge and stand guard over our communities; thank you, it is an honor to serve along of you.
To start the year off, I thought I would review some statistics from 2018 in regards to some of the more prevalent calls which we receive here at the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department Communications Center. As I was retrieving the various numbers, I was struck by how consistent our county is from year to year in some areas, but in others how we have experienced both increases as well as decreases in the number of incidents. I think this is valuable information as we can then use this data to determine if we as a department or more importantly we as a community have issues we need to address.
Let’s start with car- deer accidents as this has been an issue people ask about frequently. For 2018 we had 454 reported which is down from 477 in 2017. Great job everyone on staying alert and avoiding these types of accidents. In regards to property damage accidents we had 221 in 2018. This again is down from 2017 where we had 258 property damage accidents. For personal injury accidents we actually ended 2018 where we ended 2017 which was 51. The great news for 2018 vehicle accidents is that we did not have any resulting in death in 2018. That is comparison to 3 fatal accidents in 2017. Let’s hope 2019 is just as safe!
We again saw an increase in the number of rescue calls in 2018 with 1,165 calls for service. This up from 1,081 calls for service in 2017. We owe a great deal of thanks to those personnel who respond to medical calls for service as these calls are not only frequent, but also demanding in the time each call takes to respond to, transport from and complete from the medical facility.
In comparison, fire calls decreased to 70 calls for service in 2018 from 89 calls for service in 2017. This is no doubt due to the great fire safety messages that our local fire departments provide throughout the year as well as improved building code adherence.
We continue to live in a safe community where thefts were down from 147 in 2017 to 111 in 2018. Unfortunately, we continue to struggle in the awareness of the dangers of impaired driving with 63 arrests in 2018 as compared to 57 in 2017. The same can be said for our need of increased awareness of domestic violence where we experienced neither an increase nor a decrease with both 2017 and 2018 resulting in 74 incidents. This definitely is an area where continued education will assist us as a community in not just reducing these numbers but hopefully someday eliminating these sad statistics all together.
The final category of incidents which draws a significant amount of resources both from law enforcement as well as human services are mental health crisis calls. Although our numbers are consistent with 27 incidents in both 2017 as well as 2018, there are a great number of incidents which are prevented due to the diligent work that both agencies do in supporting those in mental health crisis before it results in an actual call for a detention.
As I stated in the beginning of the article, we don’t have large swings in our call volumes, but what we do see are incidents and crimes that are predictable which also means they are preventable. Let’s all work together in 2019 to make differences where we can in keeping both ourselves safe as well as those around us.