SIDNEY — The first class of the Sidney Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy is in the books.
More than 20 participants attended the first class Tuesday at the department. The class is scheduled for 10 weeks, with graduation on Dec. 13. The purpose of the class is to enhance the communication between the residents of Sidney and the police department. The program will give an overview of how the department operates and an in-depth view of the policies the officers follow.
Tuesday’s class included discussion on the structure of the police department, chain of command and a tour of the facility.
The police department, said Chief Will Balling, is divided into four sections. The patrol portion of the department has one operations captain, six sergeants and 20 sworn officers.
“I want the officers to be visible in the city,” said Balling.
The special assignment section has one special assignment captain, one sergeant, four detectives and one community resource officer. The communications department has an administrative captain, eight full-time dispatchers and three part-time dispatchers.
The support staff includes an office supervisor, full-time clerk and part-time facility manager.
The department, said Balling, responded to 28,451 calls for service in 2015. they investigated 638 accidents and handled 3,220 incident reports.
There were 970 adults arrested and 132 juveniles were referred to court. The officers made 9,616 traffic stops and issued 1,661 traffic citations.
Balling compared the 2015 statistics to those in 2012, before he became chief. Calls for service are up 35 percent. Traffic stops are up 438 percent; citations are up 83 percent. Drug charges are up 52 percent. Incident reports are down 9 percent due to increased proactive law enforcement, said Balling.
“Heroin was the main drug in 2015,” said Balling.
The drug unit presented 168 felony cases to the grand jury and served 14 drug-related search warrants. there were 78 heroin-related overdoses in 2015. There have been more than 130 heroin-related overdoses so far in 2016.
The department, said Balling, has an in-house detective who is a certified forensic investigator. He was trained by the FBI.
The city’s largest pornographic case to date was handled with a successful resolution, said Balling. Over 25,000 images and 500 videos of child pornography were recovered.
Officers, said Balling, received more than 3,500 hours on on-going training in 2015. Sidney hosted more than 50 different agencies for training at the department.
Community programs sponsored by the department include Coffee with a Cop, RAD self-defense classes for females, Safety Town, Cyber safety programs, active shooter safety programs, heroin awareness and drug education programs and Alice training.
The department has received the Ohio Collaborate Certificate and McRill was named Officer of the Year.
Topics for upcoming classes include narcotics, drug enforcement, drug investigations, K-9 operations, Cyber crime, law enforcement technology, real life vs. television, domestic violence and protection orders, search and seizure, traffic stops, contemporary policing topics, use of force and deescalation, active shooter, officer mental health, use of force simulator, investigations and crime scene investigation.
Sam Reed is the coordinator for the academy.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.