Arrest activity tallied in the Rockingham Police Department 2012 Annual Report shows the number of robberies dropped last year when compared with 2011, along with drug violations. However, the number of assaults increased.
The details are included in the report compiled by Police Chief Billy Kelly and his staff, and presented to the Rockingham City Council at its last meeting.
The report shows the number of arrests for robbery were 9 in 2012, a sharp decline from the 29 in 2011. The report shows arrests in drug violation cases at 228 last year, a drop from the 260 arrests in those type of cases in 2011.
Arrests made for assaults in 2012 totaled 413, a significant jump from the 349 assault arrests the year before.
Total felony arrests for 2012 reached 423, a decline from the 536 total felony arrests in 2011.
The Rockingham Police Department answered 13,958 calls in 2012, compared to 13,951 in 2011 and 13,604 in 2010, Kelly reported.
“This is an average of over 872 calls per patrol officer per year as compared to the 850 calls per officer in 2010 and 701 calls per officer in 2009. While call volume has held steady as compared to last year, it should still be noted that in a four year period every patrol officer is answering approximately 170 more calls per year,” said Kelly.
Of the 13,958 calls answered by the department in 2012, 4,461 were of a non-criminal or public assistance role for the police, the report said. Those calls included such things as bank escorts, assisting residents with public utility problems, dealing with mental subjects and unlocking vehicles.
“These types of calls make up approximately one-third of our call volume,” the chief said.
The department continues to optimize service to the public by implementing new assignments and creating new roles in the department, Kelly said, including new goals for 2013 that include adding foot patrols to some neighborhoods and commercial districts.
Under the Traffic Enforcement section of the annual report it notes a total of 2,075 citations were issued inside the city limits in 2012. Also last year, Rockingham police officers investigated 675 accidents in the city limits. This is an increase from 2011. Of these, 77 were personal injury accidents, which is also an increase from 2011.
Kelly said the Rockingham Police Department now has two officers trained as traffic accident re-constructionists. He said it’s rare for a department of this size to have two such skilled investigators.
“I’m glad we have two,” Kelly said.
Under special projects, the Junior Police Academy remains a popular program, said Kelly, where youngsters “are able to see all aspects of the police department.”
In 2012, the academy had 28 youths complete the five-day program, with graduation ceremonies held during National Night Out.
“One of the largest benefits that the students leave with is knowing that we as officers are people just like them and that we are on their side,” Kelly said in the report.
In summary, Kelly said 2012 was a challenging year for the department.
“We have found ways to address these challenges by streamlining the department’s resources and creating new positions and new strategies,” Kelly said.
Kelly also mentioned the benefit of partnering with other law enforcement agencies in Richmond County.
“By encouraging teamwork with multiple agencies, the City of Rockingham is better served as a whole,” he said.
Councilman Travis Billngsley praised Kelly and the department for the educational opportunities made available for officers. Continuing education costs are reimbursed.
“That’s tremendous,” said Billingsley. “Good job, chief … your reports are always first class.”
The city council’s newest member, Denise Sullivan, also praised the police department. She especially commended the police officers involved in the February grand opening of Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham.
“They were so professional and friendly,” Sullivan said.
Mayor Steve Morris also praised Kelly after he concluded the annual report presentation.
“Thank you for your good work and your professionalism,” the mayor said.
— Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at email@example.com.