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The number of calls asking the Decorah Police Department for help continues to rise

Posted: Thu, May 21, 2020 3:24 PM

It's a trend which started in 2017 and has continued into this year.

Decorah Police Chief David Smutzler says more and more people continue to call the Law Enforcement Dispatch Center asking for help from the police.

The Decorah Police Department received 3,699 such calls in 2016.  That number increased to 4,119 calls in 2017, reached 4,816 calls in 2018 and went over the 5,000 mark in 2019, with 5,312 calls.

Smutzler says there's not just one reason for the increase in calls, but several.  Traffic accidents were up by 108 accidents in 2019, although the police chief says most of the accidents were "fender-benders."  Shoplifting calls were up--the result of a "more aggressive" stance by Walmart loss prevention officers.  Decorah Police did 27 narcotics investigations in 2019--most of them involving prescription drugs instead of marijuana or other drugs.

For 2020, Smutzler says the goals of his department include more foot patrols in downtown Decorah and having officers attend more local sporting events, including those at Luther College.