Summit County Sheriff’s Office sees increase in service calls
June 2, 2015
When Sergeant Ron Bridge joined the Summit County Sheriff’s Office in 1998, the number of cases and calls dispatch received was half of what it is today.
As the population in Summit County has increased during the last 17 years, the number of calls and cases has, too, Bridge said.
the end of the 1990s, the population of Summit County was approximately 21,000. The current population is approximately 39,000 and is expected to continue growing.
As of Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office had logged approximately 11,863 cases so far this year.
"When I started 17 years ago, I don’t think we hit that in an entire year," Bridge said, adding that in his first year the Sheriff’s Office didn’t log 9,000 cases until Nov. 15.
Despite the noticeable increase in calls, Bridge said it is no indication that crime is also on the rise in Summit County.
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"It just indicates that our calls for service continually go up every year and an increase in population means an increase cases," he said. "But it’s not a high crime area. Summit County is a very safe community.
"Not only do more people live in this community, but more people are frequenting this community," he said. "You’ve got events that draw thousands of people into town. That’s why it goes back to the statement we live in a very safe community."
Sheriff Justin Martinez acknowledged more calls for service are coming in and said he has personally witnessed it during his 10 years with the department. Martinez partly attributed it to the department’s diligence and improved call tracking throughout the years.
"We do have more calls for service coming in, but we are also doing a better job of tracking," he said. "When we used to take the calls that came into dispatch we didn’t always take a case report for it. Deputies would pull over to help someone change a flat tire or something along those lines. But we should be tracking everything they do so we know what they are doing all of the time."
One thing the caseload does indicate, Martinez said, is that the public is actually seeking out the Sheriff’s Office’s services.
"I like the fact that the public is calling us," he said. "Maybe there is a trust being developed and they are reliant on us for more things."
But like Bridge, Martinez said the number of cases "does not mean that crime is up." He cited the same examples Bridge did, including more special events and exploring of the area.
"People aren’t going on vacation like they used to," he said. "They are staying here and recreating here."
Since the temperature has begun to warm up, it also appears deputies are reporting more cases and responding to more calls.
"We do ultimately live in a very safe community I think neighbors are looking out for each other because most of the crimes are crimes of opportunity," he said, specifically referring to the recent rash of vandalism.
Martinez said there is some merit to the claim that call volume goes up in the summer with people staying out later, but said he hasn’t noticed a trend yet this year compared to last.
"We live in an extremely, extremely safe community and anytime you see any rise in either call volume or crimes or calls for service it pique’s people’s interest," he said. "But when you look at it compared to Salt Lake City, I don’t think it is anything substantial. However, we still need to encourage people even though we live in a safe community, to lock your doors and still be vigilant."