Sheriff: Traffic tickets, arrests up in 2017
BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. » Traffic tickets and arrests jumped 56 percent and 25 percent, respectively, in 2017, and were up in January as well, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office says.
Sheriff Michael Zurlo said the significant increases are the result of a part-time transport team his department instituted about 18 months ago, which frees up deputies to do more road patrols.
Previously, deputies had the job of transporting inmates to court appearances and other appointments. Now such work is done by part-time employees whose only job is transporting inmates.
“So we have more (patrol) cars on the road,” Zurlo told the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.
The trend is continuing this year as traffic tickets and arrests were up 32 percent and 12 percent, respectively for January 2018 versus January 2017.
For all of 2017 there were 1,553 arrests compared to 1,234 the year before. Of those charged, there were 1,027 males and 518 females.
Arrests were up in all types of crime — felonies (417), misdemeanors (901) and violations (164).
Traffic tickets totaled 9,334 in 2017 versus 5,924 in 2016.
In another area, juvenile arrests rose 134 percent from 2016 (26) to 2017 (61). Almost four times as many girls were charged — 19 last year compared to five in 2016.
The number of boys arrested doubled from 21 to 42.
Of the juvenile arrests in 2017, 26 were felonies, almost three times the nine that were recorded in 2016.
Juvenile misdemeanors were up 100 percent from 15 to 30.
For 2017, there was also a 12 percent increase in traffic accidents — 2,232 versus 1,983 in 2016. However, there was one less fatality (five in 2017, six in 2016).
In January 2018, deputies issued 1,121 traffic tickets compared to 844 in January 2017.
There were 133 arrests, 15 more than in January 2017 and there was a 42 percent increase in traffic accidents last month
(240 vs. 168), but no fatalities.
Supervisors approved the sheriff’s department’s acceptance of an $11,300 Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee grant. Zurlo said the money will mainly be used to pay for deputies’ overtime, assigned to traffic enforcement throughout the county. Officers target things such as seat belt violations, distracted driving and impaired driving, Zurlo said.
Supervisors also approved the department’s lease for $4,500 of night vision goggles and thermal imaging equipment from the Navy. Zurlo said purchasing such equipment would cost $49,000. Buying it is counterproductive because technology changes so rapidly that equipment might be outdated in a couple of years, he said.
The committee also approved having the sheriff’s department enter an intermunicipal agreement with Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office for sharing personnel and equipment in special cases such as hostage situations and drug enforcement.
In another matter, the committee approved the district attorney’s office’s acceptance of a domestic violence grant.
District Attorney Karen Heggen said the money would support the salary of one of her two full-time assistants who are assigned to domestic violence cases.
“Unfortunately we don’t lack for work,” she said.