Drug arrests in city double in past year

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Tom Sutherlin

Statistically speaking, 2015 proved to be a landmark year for the Greencastle City Police Department.

Total run calls were up by nearly 600 last year, coming in at 5,965 after city officers had responded to 5,377 calls the year before.

Police Chief Tom Sutherlin distilled some of the more interesting numbers in his year-end report for the Greencastle City Council Tuesday night.

Some of the biggest increases from 2014 to 2015 were seen in disturbances (loud noise, loud parties, loud music, outdoor arguments, etc.), animal calls, drug cases and suspicious activity.

A 51 percent bump in disturbance calls was experienced by GPD, followed by a 36 percent rise in animal calls, a 33 percent increase in drug cases and a 28 percent jump in suspicious activity.

Drug cases went from 97 reports in 2014 to 129 for 2015, Chief Sutherlin said, with the "big three" -- marijuana, methamphetamine and syringes -- accounting for most of the 33 percent increase.

More importantly, drug arrests for last year nearly doubled the city's 2014 totals. GPD officers made 100 drug-related arrests last year, compared to 54 (25 of which were for marijuana) in 2014.

Marijuana led the way with 44 arrests, followed by meth at 22 and possession of syringes at 19. Possession of a controlled substance arrests weren't far behind at 14 for 2015.

"We know we have a drug problem in our community, we're working on it," Sutherlin told the City Council, addressing what has become an all-too-common issue across rural Indiana.

"You can see there's no heroin (arrests on the report)," the chief continued. "Meth is still the big one. I'm not saying heroin is not in our community, we're just not finding it right now."

Meanwhile, the jump in suspicious activity being reported can be at least partially attributed to local residents being more vigilant, Sutherlin suggested.

"People are being more aware of their community," the police chief said after seeing those number rise from 648 in 2014 to 830 last year.

"We hope more people aren't doing suspicious things," he added, noting that such calls can be important in combating neighborhood crime.

"Folks who live in the neighborhoods are our eyes and our ears," Sutherlin said.

Meanwhile, decreased activity was noted in at least one important area -- domestic violence, where 249 reports incidents in 2014 slipped to 217 last year.

"A lot of this is good news," City Councilman Tyler Wade noted. "People are reporting things, which is what we want them to do, and we're catching the bad guys."

Another interesting statistical area has been the number of handgun permits issued by Greencastle City Police.

During all of 2015, there were 100 permits issued to Greencastle residents.

Already in 2016 -- basically five weeks into the year -- 27 new handgun permits have been issued by GPD.

At that rate, the city would issue approximately 280 handgun permits for the year.

"And these are just people within the city limits," Chief Sutherlin explained, adding that county residents need to go to the Putnam County Sheriff's Department to apply for their handgun permits.

He said a better understanding of just what that big increase in city-issued handgun permits means will take some time to digest.

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  • I believe the City Police deserve a raise. We are depending on them to keep these drug dealers and drug users in check.

    -- Posted by Queen53 on Wed, Feb 10, 2016, at 9:17 AM
  • There is no heroin arrest on this report but I know for a absolute fact that a girl was driving "high" and had needles with heroin still inside, she wrecked her car { a total loss} , she had a baby in the car , the paramedics found the needles inside her bra, both this lady and her baby had to be transported to the Putnam County Hospital and YET the Greencastle Police Officer did not arrest her. All that I said happened is a fact so my question is why she wasn't arrested? The Officer didn't help her by letting her go because she died from a heroin overdose a few months later.

    -- Posted by Trying hard on Thu, Feb 11, 2016, at 11:09 AM

    -- Posted by Queen53 on Fri, Feb 12, 2016, at 7:55 AM
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