Marion Police officers have been busy this quarter racking up 423 cases ranging from criminal cases to traffic stops from January to the end of April. This total is nearly double the number of cases from 2013 at 285.
Police Chief Tyler Mermis said the increased total is not because there is more crime; it is because officers are being more proactive. He estimates that a third of the cases are of criminal nature.
“This is something all the guys love to do and they want to make our community a great place to live,” Mermis said.
So far this year officers have made 302 traffic stops compared to 752 in all of 2013, issued 136 citations compared to only 121 for 2013, and made 43 arrests, more than half of the 82 for 2013.
These numbers set to blow all 2013 totals for the entire year out of the water.
“It’s a trend going on all over the U.S.,” Mermis said. “Crimes of a certain nature are going up because high unemployment is causing stress, which can lead to disturbances at home.”
Mermis said these numbers will only keep going up as officers continue to do their job to protect the city.
“These guys do a tremendous job for me and I believe we have the best PD for our size in the state,” he said.
The department has integrated new training and tools to help it be more efficient. A prime example is Legion, the department’s police dog.
Since Legion began with the force he has averaged one drug bust every week and a half with his handler, officer Mike Stone.
Monday during a traffic stop at 2:30 a.m. on U.S.56 just east of the Marion city limits, the duo uncovered 7.8 grams of marijuana, 14.5 grams of hallucinogenic mushrooms, drug paraphernalia, and amphetamines.
Legion is trained to smell all major drugs, and according to Mermis is a wonderful asset to the department.
“He is working great and is keeping the streets a lot safer,” Mermis said. “He is also a good asset for the community because he is easy to interact with and is very personable and friendly.”
Monday’s bust was Legion’s biggest to date. Since December, Legion and Stone have recovered more than 22 grams of marijuana and $350 of drug money.
Mermis said he believes it is only a matter of time before Legion makes a much larger bust.
“I believe there is a large amount of drugs that are transported through the county,” Mermis said. “Legion is definitely good to have on the streets to help keep that out of our community.”
The department will also begin utilizing the empty section of the former Arlie’s building to house impounded vehicles.
According to Mermis any vehicles used to commit a drug offense can be seized then sold by the department. He plans to extend the offer to utilize the building to the Sheriff’s Department.