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Calls for service to the Minot Police Department are trending slightly ahead of 2018, according to Minot Police Chief Jason Olson.
Olson updated members of the City Council on crime-related statistics during the July 15 meeting. Currently, calls for service are up less than one percent compared to 2018’s total. The number of calls for service skyrocketed during the oil boom, from roughly 29,000 calls a year to more than 41,000 calls.
“We’re not going backwards in calls but we are not seeing the growth that we did,” Olson said.
Crime rates have leveled off, too, since the height of the oil boom.
Group A crimes, which include burglary, simple assault, robbery, aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, and sex offenses, were at 5,550 in 2018, down from a 2015 peak of 6,942.
Olson also presented the current state of the Police Department, including staffing levels.
The department’s turnover rate had been more than 16 percent in both 2015 and 2017, but that number improved to 9.6 percent in 2018 and is currently trending at 7.2 percent for 2019.
“That is probably the biggest kind of crisis that we’re facing right now in terms of staffing. We just are not getting applicants. Realistically, we are hiring every qualified applicant that makes it through our process,” Olson said.
Olson said more young people are not choosing law enforcement as a profession. “It’s getting to the point where it’s really getting to be a concern,” said.
The officers who do leave the Minot Police Department generally do so to advance their careers, Olson said. Departing officers typically enjoy working in the Minot PD, but want to further their career elsewhere.
The chief discussed the department’s body camera program. All officers were body cameras when on duty. Each camera costs $1,220 per year. More than 42,000 videos, or 10,000 hours of video, was uploaded and archived from body cameras in 2018. The department uses body camera footage for a variety of purposes, including to review complaints, conducting internal investigations, for training, and as evidence.
Olson also introduced the department’s latest K9 unit. Caspian, a two-year-old Belgian Tervuren shepherd, is partners with Senior Officer Taylor Jensen. Caspian is trained to locate explosives, including spent gun casings, and track people, search buildings, locate objects, and protect officers.