Woodfin – In a detailed 14-page report, Woodfin Chief of Police Michael Dykes detailed the strength of his department, the challenges that it faces and the work that was done during 2018 at the town’s last monthly meeting of the aldermen in March. The Tribune obtained a copy of the report from Dykes and here a closer look.
The 23-person department “…is responsible for not only the approximately 7000 plus citizens who reside within the corporate limits, but also for the close to 90,000 travelers who pass through the ten square miles of the Town of Woodfin on an almost daily basis.” The breakdown of the personnel includes the chief, a lieutenant, two patrol sergeants, nine patrol officers, two investigators and eight reserve officers.
The report also pointed to the town continuing “…to rank among the Top 20 Safest Cities in North Carolina according to Safewise.com. In 2018, the Town moved down two spots to number 12, but still holds onto a top 20 ranking and eight places above any other municipality in Buncombe County.” This was reported earlier in the year by the Tribune. Woodfin also “…received the honor of 16th place on the homesnacks.net Safest Places in North Carolina list for 2018.”
The part of the report that jumped out at the aldermen meeting was the fact that during last year Woodfin Police Department answered 9632 calls for service. When comparing that to the 7019 calls for service in 2017 the department showed nearly a 40% increase. “This amounts to nearly an increase of over 37% from the previous year and a 38% increase over the five-year average,” said the report.
Also on the increase during 2018 were motor vehicle accidents. “The Woodfin Police Department investigated 310 motor vehicle crashes. This is a 7.3% increase from 2017 and 15.9% over the five-year average,” stated the report. “These crashes ranged from minor ‘fender-benders’ to a major fatality incident. Reports show that there were 54 known injuries and one death on the roadways in Woodfin for 2018.” Also revealed was an increase in the number of traffic stops. “In 2018, …officers…conducted 1,846 traffic stops…was a 46.16% increase over 2017 (1,263).”
When it comes to investigations the department actually saw a slight decrease of 2.6% and investigators cleared about 72.53% of the cases assigned, which was better than the 62.33% average of the last five years and much better than the less than 50% of 2017.
When it comes to arrests that also increased “In 2018, Woodfin Police officers effected 240 physical arrests. This is a 30.43% increase from 2017.” According to the report most of those arrested were male (182) and 90% of the males were white with nine percent being black and the other percent of various races. Fifty-eight females were arrested with 91% white and nine percent black.