WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s no secret that police officers in Warren have been busy this summer.
As the sun set on a Friday in August, Warren Patrolman Lance Adkins wondered what the day would bring.
“It could be quiet and that could be the calm before the storm,” he said.
It turned out that Adkins’ day would be filled with landlord-tenant issues, an assault, and later on that evening, a traffic stop.
There’s no “typical day” for police officers in Warren, and that mixed bag is typical for Adkins.
“You can come in here and have five, six, seven calls, or there are days you can run 25, 30, 35 calls,” he said.
It has been a busy season for these officers, running more than 9,400 calls just from June through August. That’s up by more than 600 during the same time frame from the year before.as officers are responding to more overdoses and gun-related calls.
Officers are now responding to more overdoses and gun-related calls. In 2017, officers handled 155 overdoses — up from 86 in 2016.
“It’s hard work,” said the city’s director of Safety Services, Enzo Cantalamessa. “It’s very emotional work, at times, and you really have to have your heart and soul into wanting to be a police officer.”
Currently, the department’s force sits at 60. That’s since voters passed the half percent income tax increase last November.
The city now has the means to hire more.
Cantalamessa said the income tax increase allows the department to keep its force at adequate staffing levels and add additional officers, as money permits.
Adkins said that is beneficial for many reasons.
“More on the road is definitely safer,” he said. “We’d be able to get more proactive, go out there and do more traffic stops. Focus on the high crime, high drug rates and try to get some of the guns off the streets.”
Police Chief Eric Merkel said they’re looking to hire 10 new patrol officers, and 37 people have signed up to take the department’s test on Saturday.
Tune into WKBN 27 First News at 6 p.m. for a first-hand look at what these officers go through, from the passenger seat of a police cruiser.
Warren City Police Department calls from June 2017 – August 2017:
Incident reports: 1,542
Calls for service: 9,442
Warren City Police Department calls from June 2016 – August 2016:
Incident reports: 1,368
Calls for service: 8,766