Professionalism, accountability emphasized in Polk sheriff’s annual report

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, March 23, 2022

County commissioners gave the sheriff’s office a round of praise Monday night after hearing details from the department’s 2021 annual report.

 

At the Board of Commissioners March 21 meeting, Polk County Sheriff Tim Wright, with numerous members of the sheriff’s office in the audience in the Womack Building, reviewed statistics, trends, goals, and programs from his 48-page annual report. 

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“Our primary focus from day one has been improving accountability within the department and to the citizens of Polk County,” Wright said. Wright was elected in 2018.

 

Wright discussed the functions and staffing of the various divisions of the department, to include administration and support services, patrol services, criminal investigations, school resources, detention center, special operations, and E-911 communications center. 

 

The report, available online at polknc.org, also lists statistics on overall office functions, such as number of offenses investigated, number of papers served, number of lobby walk-ins and phone calls, security checks completed, number of inmates booked, animal control calls, and more. 

 

Wright noted that the department responded to 25,583 calls in 2021. This was a significant increase over the year prior with 15,278 calls. The department responded to just over 10,000 calls in 2018. He said his office does not have statistics from the previous sheriff’s administration. 

 

The increase in call volume, he says, “is because the citizens of Polk County are trusting us, to call us to investigate the crimes. That’s what these numbers are showing.”

 

Another statistic he highlighted was the four-year downward trend in assaults. 

 

“There’s something these folks here are doing right,” said the sheriff, referencing his staff in attendance. “They care, and it shows in their work performance. Animal control, they’ve got a passion… Patrol Division is out here checking homes, churches and businesses looking for bad guys … the Investigation Department is doing a stand-up job, and they have got us in compliance. They’re the reason why we can get these statistics to you. … It’s every day that we’re getting compliments about the job they’re doing and their professionalism.”

 

Commissioner Myron Yoder said the visibility of law enforcement in the Green Creek area where he lives is one of the greatest deterrents of crime. Commissioner Paul Beiler recounted a 2:30 a.m. phone call from a deputy letting him know he found an unlocked door at his church. 

 

“The culture you’ve created of transparency and respect speaks volumes,” said Commissioner Andre Overholt. 

 

The report also details the department’s goals for professional standards, personnel development, training, fleet operations, equipment, facilities, community engagement and crime prevention.