Mar-Mac Police Department shares 2019 annual report

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Mar-Mac Police Chief Robert Millin recently presented the law enforcement district’s 2019 annual report to both the Marquette and McGregor city councils, sharing the “behind the scenes” of the department, its personnel, daily activities, comparisons to previous years and more.

The latest U.S. Census records place McGregor’s and Marquette’s combined population at 1,295 people. However, said Millin, due to the police district’s geographic location, in close proximity to Prairie du Chien, local employers, tourist attractions and a state and federal highway, that population swells each day.

For example, U.S. Highway 18 in Marquette has a daily traffic count of 5,514 vehicles, according to 2017 Iowa DOT statistics. For State Highway 76, coming into Marquette, the count was 3,384. In McGregor, just over 2,500 vehicles enter the community each day from State Highway 76, while another 1,400 arrive via Walton Street.

In 2019, the Mar-Mac Police had 2,101 calls for service, which was a drop from 3,387 in 2018. Millin said the latest totals “more accurately portray what we actually do” than numbers provided in the past. That was due to the categorization of calls.

“I found a lot of duplicate calls and instances where there were multiple calls assigned to the same incident, or things that weren’t pertinent to our daily activity,” he explained, “so I went through every call from the past five years and re-categorized them.”

“It actually resulted in a decrease in total calls for service,” he added, “but this does not show a decrease in police activity.”

Of 2019’s calls, 1,606 were related to patrol and/or investigation, what Millin called the “operational duties” of the department.

Last year, Marquette had more calls for service, at 799, compared to 711 for McGregor.

“They’re pretty similar,” Millin said, “like a 52/48 split.”

The department also responded to 586 calls for service outside the 3.11-square-mile area officials normally patrol.

There was an increase in incident reports over the past year, with 69 generated in 2019, compared to 39 in 2018. An incident report is generated when a crime has occurred or when a call for service requires additional specific information.

The top five criminal offenses included theft, possession of drug paraphernalia, operating while intoxicated, driving under suspension and possession of a controlled substance.

“Over the last five years, it’s been pretty consistent,” said Millin. “The main thing is drug related, controlled substances and alcohol.”

In 2019, Mar-Mac Police made 54 arrests, resulting in 70 charges, and filed 67 complaints. That’s up from the previous year, when 21 arrests were made, resulting in 39 charges. Fifty-two complaints were filed in 2018.

“This is the first year we’ve been fully staffed in how many years,” Millin reminded the councils.

Mar-Mac officers initiate traffic stops for those who violate traffic laws or have vehicles with defective equipment. In 2019, those stops resulted in 506 warnings and 157 citations. That’s a change from 2018, when 301 warnings and 158 citations were issued.

“Our warnings went up, and that doesn’t include verbal warnings either,” Millin stated. “It depends on the infraction if I’m going to give you a verbal warning.”

The department had 30 total accident reports last year, down from 38 in 2018. He said the decrease is largely because the officers don’t handle private property accidents anymore, unless there’s significant damage or an injury or death.

In his report, Millin also referenced the department’s community relations. Over the past year, Mar-Mac Police held two drug take-back events, co-sponsored an Autism Safety Initiative training, brought the “What You Don’t See” trailer to the community and participated in Toys for Tots and “Cops on the Rooftop” at Dunkin’ Donuts in Prairie du Chien.

“When we lost the funding for D.A.R.E., I wanted to try to find something to substitute it,” the chief said. “I think, overall, it was a good outreach. It wasn’t targeted just to students, but more community oriented.”

The full report is available here.

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