Last year was a “rebuilding year” in terms of staffing for the Washington Police Department, which resulted in the number of citations issued cut nearly in half.
There was a more than 49 percent drop in citations issued last year by Washington police, and fewer arrests compared to 2017.
According to a report provided by the Washington Police Department, there were 539 citations issued in 2018. That is down 49.27 percent from the 1,062 citations issued in 2017.
“There were new officers being field trained — 2018 was a rebuilding year,” said Chief Ed Menefee. “We put an emphasis on patrol.”
The number of driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests in 2018 also was down, he added.
There were 67 arrests last year compared to 87 in 2017.
“We haven’t seen it that low in over 12 years,” said Menefee, who attributes the reduction in DWI arrests, as well as tickets issued, to manpower.
Many newer officers were training over the year, he said, and learning the proper way to conduct traffic stops and sobriety tests.
In 2017, the department lost five officers to retirement or new jobs outside of Washington. The department is fully staffed and trained now.
“We are up to speed now and we will see what happens in 2019,” Menefee added.
Over the last decade, the year with the greatest number of DWI arrests was 2007 when there were 116. The numbers were steady between 2008 and 2017 with between 87 and 103 DWI arrests annually, other than a dip in 2010 when there were 71.
The report states that of the DWI arrests, four incidents involved a blood alcohol content (BAC) between 0 and .048. There were three that indicated a BAC between 0.1 and 0.129. Nine cases returned a BAC between 0.130 and 0.199, and three more returned BACs between 0.200 and 0.249.
There were two BACs between 0.3 and 0.349, and 17 with a BAC over .350.
Police had eight refusals to take the test, and there were seven cases when a warrant was issued for the driver’s blood.
The legal limit in the state of Missouri is 0.08. People who have a BAC under the illegal limit still can be charged with a DWI if police can prove they were too drunk to drive when stopped.
The city is poised to receive a $19,760 grant for DWI and minor in possession of alcohol grant, Menefee noted.
In the past 11 years, the most citations or tickets issued for traffic-related incidents were in 2007 when there were 3,488 issued. There has been a steady decrease over the past five years in citations issued. There were 2,084 in 2014, 1,688 in 2015, 1,309 in 2016, and 1,062 in 2017.
There were 1,865 traffic warnings issued by Washington officers last year. That is up from the 1,694 issued in 2017. In 2016 there were 4,712 warnings issued by officers.
The bulk of the citations last year were issued to drivers under the age of 30. Drivers between the ages of 16-20 made up 132 of all citations issued.
Drivers between the ages of 21-25 were issued 100 citations. Drivers between the ages of 26-30 received 75 of the citations issued.
Of the total 539 citations in 2018, there were 357 issued to males and 214 to females.
There were more citations issued on Saturdays, 126, than any other day of the week.
The day with the fewest citations were Mondays, 55. There were 62 on Tuesdays, 68 on Wednesdays, 99 on Thursdays, 84 on Fridays and 77 on Sundays.
The peak time of day when citations were issued was between midnight and 2 a.m. when 72 were given. The two-hour period when the fewest citations were issued was between 6-8 a.m.
There were 1,855 traffic warnings issued last year, up from the 1,694 in 2017. There were 4,712 issued in 2016 and 2,682 in 2015.