Lower Pottsgrove Police Activity Increased During April

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – With COVID-related face mask requirements lifted, and 6-foot social distancing being abandoned to allow closer quarters within interior spaces, more people are out and about. That includes more drivers on the roads, more patrons in stores and restaurants, and even more alleged offenders returning to local courts to face judges and plead their cases.

Those circumstances and others, Lower Pottsgrove Police Chief Rick Bell told the township Board of Commissioners last week, made April 2022 a very busy month for his department and its officers.

They responded to a total of 945 reported incidents during the month, according to the monthly report filed with commissioners, compared to 827 during the same period in 2021, and 720 in April 2020. In fact, reported incident levels haven’t been that high since April 2019, when 1,068 were logged.

Not included in the most recent figures are “directed” and “extra” patrols Bell asks police officers to conduct on almost every shift. They began shortly after his arrival in late 2021, and were part of announced plans to step up safety patrols in township areas that could benefit from additional oversight. Directed and extra patrols accounted for an additional 450 service calls in April, the most recent report shows.

Several of the department’s monthly measured statistics for April hewed to the growth in incident reports. The department last month:

  • Issued 150 traffic violations, compared to 41 in April 2021, 13 in April 2020, and 72 in April 2019;
  • Made 6 arrests for driving under the influence, compared to 2 in April 2021, 1 in 2020, and 2 in 2019;
  • Handled 71 criminal violations, up from 55 during the month in 2021, 15 in 2020, and 67 in 2019;
  • Made 25 adult arrests, up from 11 in 2021, 10 in 2020, and 20 in 2019; and
  • Handled 5 juveniles, up from none in 2021, 1 in 2020, and unchanged from 5 in 2019.

Overtime costs are likely to accompany heightened activity, commissioners acknowledged during Bell’s report at their May 2 (Monday) meeting. They learned the department spent $10,332 last month, or an average of about $52 hourly, to cover 199.25 hours overtime hours. The department dealt in part during the month with a fatal motorcycle crash at the Armand Hammer Boulevard interchange on westbound U.S. Route 422, as well as a shots fired call, and nine calls to Pottsgrove High School.

More than half that amount – $5,827 or about 56 percent – paid for officers’ completion of state-required annual training, Bell explained. All have now finished mandated firearms training, as well as certifications demonstrating compliance with standards set by Pennsylvania’s Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission.

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