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Township 2017 Traffic Violations Up, Crime Down

SANATOGA PA – The number of traffic violations encountered by Lower Pottsgrove police during 2017 rose 58 percent over the earlier year – from 897 in 2016, to 1,426 last year – but the rate of criminal violations occurring in the township dropped by about 4 percent for the same period, according to a year-end report recently delivered to the township Board of Commissioners by Chief Michael Foltz.

The 11-page report, submitted to board members Jan. 2 (2018), contains a variety of charts, graphs and narrative that provides an overview of police activities during the past 12 months. Commissioners have regularly praised the department and Foltz’s leadership, saying their work represented a positive impact on the township’s quality of life.

The department was an active participant last year in state and national programs that targeted traffic problems, the report notes. They included the Click-It Or Ticket effort to promote seat belt safety, Pennsylvania’s enforcement campaign against aggressive driving, and driving while intoxicated checkpoints during holiday periods, it added.

The report recognized efforts of township patrol officers in “conducting self-initiated traffic enforcement during their regular shifts.” Driving while intoxicated arrests rose slightly, it added, reflecting a growth trend over the past four years. They may be attributable to both patrol vigilance and checkpoint activity, it added.

“The nature of police incidents in the township over the past year have been less violent,” and involved “less major criminal activity,” Foltz observed in the report.

Criminal violations during the past five years reached their peak in 2013, with 1,385 incidents. Statistics trended down until 2016; rose somewhat, and then turned down again in 2017, the report shows.

Police arrests increased slightly year-over-year, according to the report. A total of 286 adults were arrested for offenses during 2016, compared to 290 in 2017. The number of juvenile cases handled, 88 in 2016, rose to 94 in 2017. Arrest numbers were “less than they were in 2013-2015,” it added. However, calls for police services increased by 2 percent in 2017, up from 12,344 in 2016 to 12,599.

The number of civilian and internal affairs complaints lodged against department officers during 2017 dropped to seven, from 12 incidents recorded in 2016 and a five-year high of 13 in 2015. Of those, four were substantiated and resulted in disciplinary action or counseling; three were determined to be exonerated, unfounded, or not substantiated.

Foltz said he believes the department has adopted “a proactive approach in policing our own members, and internally generating inquiries and investigations when we feel something may have been done that was outside our acceptable standards.” Department accreditation, an accompanying “customer service approach to our citizens,” and increased supervision by patrol sergeants also were mentioned by the chief in helping to decrease complaint filings.

Photo by The Post Publications

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