The Palestine Police Department was alive and well last year, according to a yearly report Chief Robert Herbert presented to members of the Palestine City Council Monday.
Forty slides of facts broke down activities of the department in 2013, which consists of 23 sworn officers, four cadets, seven dispatchers, one records clerk, an evidence technician, two administrative assistants, one community liaison and two animal control officers.
According to the presentation, the year 2013 yielded: 23 robberies and four aggravated robberies, 140 burglaries of buildings, 278 burglaries of private residences, 476 burglaries of vehicles, 812 thefts, 475 assaults and 70 driving while intoxicated offenses (DWI). Traffic enforcement handed out 1,830 citations, gave 5,236 warnings and made 42 arrests, including 98 arrests from citations.
While Herbert did not reveal statistics from 2012, he reported to the council, “I can tell you the numbers went down.”
As for traffic conditions, the department responded to 434 reported accidents in 2013, involving 785 vehicles, 180 injuries and five fatalities. The intersection at Crockett Road and Loop 256 saw 24 of those accidents, which Herbert reported is the most dangerous intersection, according to the data.
Herbert also drew attention to the fact that 95 firearms were stolen in 2013, which he attributed largely to people leaving their doors unlocked.
“I think we've got the better handle on that,” Herbert said, “but there's still a lot of guns out in our community right now that have not been recovered.”
Councilman Steve Presley asked Herbert if there was additional administrative work that could be done to benefit the department, and Herbert referenced the Citizens on Patrol program, which educates and authorizes citizens in the community to carry out police duties on a voluntary basis.
“If we can do it on a volunteer side first, I want to try to do that,” Herbert said.
Councilman Vernon Denmon gave the program his stamp of approval, which he said is something “new for Palestine” – and beneficial.