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Police say crime is down 5% overall

By Katherine Wartell

RCPD officials told the Riley County Law Board Tuesday that overall crime in Riley County in 2011 went down 5 percent from 2010, with general decreases in aggravated assault and theft. But there were significant increases in some of the most serious crime categories, including five murders, four more than had been committed the previous year.

There was also a 41.2 percent increase in robbery and a 15.6 percent increase in automobile thefts. The number of reported rapes, 35, stayed the same from 2010 to 2011.

In the rural areas of Riley County, excluding Manhattan and Ogden, overall crime fell 35.5 percent. It declined 14.9 percent in Ogden and 2.3 percent in Manhattan.

In 2011, there were 1,681 reported offenses county-wide compared to 1,769 offenses in 2010.

RCPD officials also released figures for traffic accidents and enforcement, use of force by police officers and citizen and internal complaints against officers in 2011.

Capt. Tim Hegarty said there were 1,574 reported accidents in 2011, down 9.2 percent from 2010. Injury accidents were also down 295 from 359 in 2010, a 17.8 percent decrease.

Hegarty said public roadway accidents not related to weather or animals were down 4.6 percent, suggesting that “hot spot policing,” like the Impact Zone, initiated by the RCPD in 2010 might have had positive consequences for traffic accidents.

Hegarty said that the highest accident locations are: Fort Riley Boulevard and Wildcat Creek Road, Bluemont and 4th streets, the 1700 to 1900 and 3000 blocks of Anderson Avenue and Leavenworth and 3rd streets.

Hegarty said construction on Fort Riley Boulevard is the cause of many accidents on that road, and he said accidents will be expected in that area until construction ends in 2013. He also said accidents on Bluemont Avenue appear to be roundabout-related. He added, however, that the location has fewer injury and major damage accidents than before the roundabout was installed.

In 2011, police officers issued 4,515 non-accident citations, nearly 42 percent more than the 3,184 they issued in 2010. There was also an increase in traffic warnings with 14,815 issued, up from 12,902. Hegarty said 183 tickets were issued for texting and 983 for cell phone use. He said there were 2,450 tickets or warnings issued overall for cell phone use, up from 740 in 2010.

Lt. Stephen Boyda, who prepared the report on use of force by police officers, said there were 68 total instances in 2011, down from 95 in 2010. Boyda said the use of force has shown a steady decrease in the last two years, including a 40 percent reduction from 2009 to 2011.

He said most instances occurred on Saturday or Sunday and generally in Aggieville, with next highest rate of instances occurring at the jail.

Boyda said officers used physical force the most, with 63 instances, followed by defensive tactics at 21 instances. According to the report, there were also 15 instances of a taser used, 8 cases of chemicals used and 5 instances of police drawing firearms. No officer discharged their firearm.

Boyda said the use of force was highest against white males between 21 and 30 years of age, with 41 instances. Black males followed with 17 instances.

Boyda said 6,229 people were processed in the Riley County Jail in 2011, a decrease of 425 bookings from 2010.

Boyda also reported that in 2011, Internal Affairs officials at the RCPD received 32 allegations of misconduct by citizens and 108 allegations by RCPD supervisors.

Boyda said that among the citizen complaints, six cases were found to be improper conduct, one allegation was unfounded, 13 were exonerated, 10 were unsubstantiated and two are pending disposition.

Among the in-house complaints, he said 61 cases were found to involve improper conduct, resulting in three officers being dismissed, 28 suspended without pay, 23 given a written reprimand and seven resigned.

Boyda said the majority of citizen complainants were white and between 20 and 29 years old.

The allegations included disobedience to policy, failure to take appropriate action, misfeasance, lack of courtesy and unprofessional conduct.

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