10/31/2017 12:55:00 PM Sheriff's office: jump in mental health calls
Captain Paul Garrison presented to Sisters City Council at last week's meeting a report of activity statistics for Sisters by the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, with the figures for all of 2016 and year-to-date for 2017. The report was made in response to a request from the City Council last month and will continue to be part of the monthly report.
The statistics reflect calls for service in Sisters that may or not have resulted in arrests or citations. Garrison's statistics showed a marked increase in two areas. Calls regarding situations involving mentally ill citizens have more than doubled in 2017, with several months left in the year. For all of 2016, there were 16 calls and YTD for 2017 is 40 calls.
Garrison reported there has been "a huge jump across all of Deschutes County." Because there is no sufficient infrastructure for mental-health services within the state, patients are "cut loose" with no place to go.
The other large increase is evident in the number of motor-vehicle accidents both with and without injury in Sisters. For 2016, there were five accidents with injury; 16 so far in 2017. There were 60 non-injury motor vehicle accidents in Sisters in 2016, 81 so far in 2017.
Significant decreases in the number of calls are evident in several areas: bar checks, 120 down to 39; follow-up calls, 629 down to 457; and drug offenses, from 35 down to 14. Prowler calls decreased from 184 to 109 so far this year. Traffic stops to date in 2017 are down by almost 200.
As Garrison reported last month, a bike patrol officer will be on Sisters' streets starting next summer. This will provide a greater police visibility in the community, with an officer who is able to quickly roll up on situations. Garrison envisions the officer will be on site to take a report before a phone call will even be made. The bike patrol will also allow for a more personable relationship between the officer and the citizens.
"Presence is the best deterrent," cited Garrison.
Officers in cars may soon be more noticeable as the department begins speed surveys around town in an attempt to curb speeding through the downtown streets and as traffic approaches and exits town.