End of year numbers for 2017 are beginning to be released by local agencies, including the Jacksonville Police Department.
WLDS/WEAI News spoke with JPD Chief Adam Mefford about some of these numbers, and about his first year as Jacksonville’s Chief.
He says that those around him have made becoming chief smooth, and that he is looking forward to the future:
“I’m happy to have a lot of support from the community, coworkers, city council and the Mayor. That’s made the transition from my other position in the agency real smooth to feel welcome like that. I look back at how we’re going to progress forward in the years to come, and even just in 2018. Our focus is getting the officers back out into the community, building good partnerships and engaging with the citizens.”
Mefford says that the number of calls for JPD are down substantially, but it may not be for the reason you think:
“At first glance you would look and see that our overall numbers are down by 9 and a half percent in terms of call volume. I was trying to figure out what would account for a 9 and a half percent decrease of services, and when you really look deep into it you find that the solution is pretty simple. In 2016 Jacksonville Police Department had its own dispatch center, so all those calls that came through there were filtered as Jacksonville Police calls. Now we use West Central dispatch service. “
Mefford also explains that JPD’s drug arrest numbers are also lower this year, with the biggest reason being the decriminalization of cannabis:
“If you look at the overall numbers for the year, our drug arrest are down by half. In relation to last year, we made 258 total drug arrests and we categorize drug arrests in 4 categories: controlled substances, cannabis, paraphernalia,and methamphetamine. Out of those 4 categories in 2016 we had 258 arrests, in 2017 we had 141 total arrests. It seems like we’re down some numbers, but in 2017 the state decriminalized cannabis.
To hear our full interview with Mefford, you can go online to WLDS or WEAI.com