Police Chief Joseph Sinagra delivered a summary of the activities of the Saugerties Police Department during 2012.
Speaking at the Town Board meeting on Wednesday, February 6, the chief offered figures for police calls, arrests, summonses and other statistics for the past year, 2012.
Calls for service totaled 8,014. These include “any time we dispatch a car to a residence or place of business, or someplace here in public,” Sinagra said.
Detectives opened 447 new cases.
There were 661 arrests, including 82 felony charges, 341 misdemeanors and 238 violations. For alcohol-related motor vehicle violations, including driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence of alcohol, police arrested 81 individuals. The department made 44 narcotics arrests, and 65 arrests for possession of marijuana.
The courts issued 88 warrants, of which 62 were executed. Sinagra said 2,256 traffic tickets were issued, but he added, “keep in mind when I give you the parking ticket numbers, we took over responsibility for issuing parking summonses in the village in September. So between September and December there were a total of 1,169 parking tickets issued.”
There were a total of 578 accidents, including 443 reportable to the Department of Motor Vehicles. “That means there was either a personal injury or damage between the combined vehicles of over $1,000,” Sinagra said. “The unfortunate thing is that nine of those 443 accidents involved a vehicle striking a pedestrian. We have to be a little bit more cognizant when we’re driving. Pay attention to who’s coming off the sidewalk, pay attention to who is walking on the side of the roads, particularly at night on unlit roads.”
In addition to the statistics, Sinagra gave a rundown of what the police department has been doing during this year. “One of the things that I said would be my goal is to get the police department accredited through the Department of Criminal Justice Services. It’s a lengthy process.”
Police departments are given five years to complete the requirements for accreditation, Sinagra said. If they fail to achieve it by the deadline, they have to start the process over from the beginning. One of the major tasks is to revamp the policy and procedures manual, a job he and Lieutenant Steve Filak completed working long hours and on weekends over a nine-month period.
The process also includes improving the storage and securing of evidence. An audit in January indicated no issues of maintaining integrity of the evidence.
The town police have applied to be assessed in early September. Sometime during the first two weeks the Department of Criminal Justice Services will be sending assessors. “I hope I can stand before you and tell you we are accredited. I am confident that we will receive recognition as an accredited police department.”
Accreditation can bring lower insurance premiums and a much more professional police agency, Sinagra said. He has already made strides in professionalizing the department, “and I hope you have seen that,” he said.
Finally, Sinagra appealed to people to report their knowledge or suspicion that a crime has been committed. “I can’t fix it if I don’t know it’s broke,” he said. And, while everyone prefers good news, Sinagra also wants to know where his department has fallen short so he can improve it.