Proactive policing, Chief Jeffrey Sterner said, is contributing to decreases in incidents reported to Mount Jackson police.
According to data released by the Virginia State Police, police in Mount Jackson responded to 94 incidents in 2018 compared to 106 in 2017. Six months into 2019, Sterner said, incidents are down 75 percent from last year, but that number will normalize, he said.
There is a slight difference in incidents and offenses in the state police report which shows 100 offenses compared to 94 incidents. Sterner said incidents were actual responses to calls which may involve more than one offense.
Despite the decrease in incidents this year, Sterner said he is keeping an eye on the growing problem of drugs in the area.
“Drugs seems to be an issue with all the agencies around here,” Sterner said. “We’re trying to be proactive.”
Being proactive means “actively” going after drug dealers, Sterner said.
“We don’t just deal with it when we get called there,” Sterner said. “We are actively going after these dealers … every time we have an opportunity to charge them or get intel against them, we charge them.”
While addressing the problem means dealing with the dealers, Sterner said most of the incidents police respond to are related to possession of drugs.
When drugs creep into communities, Sterner said, it causes problems all the way down the line for people. Sterner said he is concerned about the breaking and entering crimes that follow on the heels of drug addiction.
Another way the department is heading off the drug problem is by paying attention to tips that come in from neighbors and watching social media posts. Sterner said the department watches Facebook to work on leads.
Last year, the department had six sworn officers, including one female officer. Sterner said the department still has six officers but the ratio has changed as another female officer was added to the department.