Mar-Mac PD breaks down 2022 annual report

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


Mar-Mac Police Chief Robert Millin last week shared the law enforcement district’s 2022 annual report, re-capping the department’s personnel, training, daily activities, comparisons to previous years and more.


Since 2018, Millin said the department has experienced a significant upgrade and improvements to achieve the agency’s original values, goal and mission.


“As the chief of police, it is my responsibility to provide accurate, effective and transparent agency through various duties, responsibilities and procedures to the cities of Marquette and McGregor,” he stated in the report. “With year four completed, I have a continuous evolving list of goals and objectives to expand the expertise and resources available to each community.”


The 2020 U.S. Census records place McGregor’s and Marquette’s combined population at 1,163 people, making it the fourth largest community in Clayton County. However, due to the police district’s geographic location, in close proximity to Prairie du Chien, Wis., local employers, tourist attractions and a state and federal highway, that population swells each day, Millin noted in the report.


For example, U.S. Highway 18 in Marquette has a daily traffic count of 5,514 vehicles, according to 2017 Iowa DOT statistics. For State Highway 76 coming into Marquette, the count was 3,384. In McGregor, just over 2,500 vehicles enter the community each day from State Highway 76, while another 1,400 arrive via Walton Street.


According to Millin, the Mar-Mac Police reported 59 crimes to the state in 2022, covering offenses such as theft, assault, criminal mischief and drug, alcohol and tobacco use. That was a drop from over 100 crimes reported in 2021.


“However, as I express every year, it’s not a reduction of crime,” he said. “Since March of 2021, we’ve been operating short staffed. This current year hasn’t been any better.” 


Although the department is funded for three full-time and six part-time positions, Millin said there is currently one full-time officer and 2.5 part-time/full-time positions filled.


This has resulted in what he called reactive policing.


“We don’t have the staff right now to be proactive, so a lot of the stuff we have is what we’re being called to instead of investigating,” Millin explained.


The Mar-Mac Police had 1,005 total calls for service in 2022, which was an increase from 904 in 2021. 


According to Millin, this was the first time the agency exceeded 1,000 calls in one year, and that data does not even include traffic stops.


Of 2022’s calls, 865 were “police only” calls, for what Millin said were incidents like harassment and theft. Other calls outside that could include civil calls or medical responses, he added.


From data provided in the report, only Guttenberg had more “police only” calls, with 999. Monona came in at 629, Elkader 602, Strawberry Point 551 and Garnavillo 263.


Guttenberg is “twice the size with twice the staff,” noted Millin. “As you can see, we’re busy.”


Last year, 852 calls for service occurred within Marquette and McGregor, or the 3.11-square-mile area officials normally patrol. 


Forty-six incident reports were generated in 2022, compared to 75 in 2021. An incident report is generated when a crime has occurred or when a call for service requires additional specific information.


“Our top five categories are assaults, thefts, burglaries, criminal mischief and death investigations,” said Millin.


A year ago, theft, drug related, criminal mischief, fraudulent activities and underage tobacco were the top categorized incidents.


In 2022, the Mar-Mac Police made 16 arrests, resulting in 20 charges. That’s down from the previous year, when 18 arrests were made, resulting in 36 charges. 


Millin again attributed reactive policing to this decrease.


“Because we’ve been more reactive this year, let’s say there’s a fight, instead of two or three charges, there’s only one charge,” he said.


Twenty-six criminal complaints were filed for adults in 2022, considerably less than the 62 in 2021. 


Seventeen criminal complaints were also filed for juveniles in 2022. That’s a sharp increase from four the previous year and one in both 2020 and 2019.


“We had a lot of juvenile delinquents this year,” Millin said, “but some were the same individual with multiple cases.”


Mar-Mac officers initiate traffic stops for those who violate traffic laws or have vehicles with defective equipment. In 2022, those stops resulted in 218 warnings and 74 citations. That’s a change from 2021, when 160 warnings and 88 citations were issued. Millin noted the warnings do not include verbal warnings.


“We do a lot of traffic stops, but we don’t issue a lot of citations. There’s your evidence right there,” Millin said. “I like to educate motorists, but if they violate the law, there are consequences.” 


He added, however, that citations noted in the report are not always traffic related. Some, for example, stem from multiple underages at Bloody Run County Park near Marquette.


“Then you have a cluster around the school. We’ve seen an increase in tobacco products, specifically vapes,” Millin said. 


The department had 19 total accident reports last year, down from 25 in 2021.  In the event of a motor vehicle accident, the Mar-Mac Police Department will investigate and submit an accident report if the following criteria is met: total estimated damage is greater than $1,500, a person is injured or has died or the accident occurred on a public roadway.


In his report, Millin also referenced the department’s training, which includes 12 hours of annual training, and 36 hours within three years, to maintain peace officer certification. Subjects involve CPR/AED/airway obstruction, firearms, taser, bias prevention and de-escalation. 


In 2020, the police department began providing monthly online training to all officers through Police Legal Sciences, Inc. (PLS).


“We are also a member of the Clayton County Law Enforcement Association, and that’s where we get a lot of our mandatory training,” Millin said. 


2022 topics included hazmat awareness, firearms, caselaw, DNR rules and regulations, Stop the Bleed, Operation Lifesaver Railroad Investigation and Safety and EMS landing zone.


In September, law enforcement could utilize a virtual reality training simulator provided by Hawkeye Community College.


“A lot of it is based on use of force because they’re really stressing use of force training. The scenario I had was I was called to a domestic. Ultimately, what happened is a male party found out his wife was having an affair and he shot the other guy and was holding his wife hostage. That scenario resulted in deadly force,” Millin detailed. “When it was all said and done, they were like a fly on the wall and able to maneuver the scenario to see where I was and the hostage was, and there was tracking on where deadly force was used.”


“That was awesome,” he continued. “They’re coming up again this summer for some more training.”


In addition to required training, officers are encouraged to develop and obtain specialized or specific skills to further enhance their ability to perform their duties.


Millin has focused on mental health.


“Not only locally, but everywhere around, we’ve seen an influx of individuals experiencing mental health crisis,” he said. “To get ahead of that curve, I went to a crisis intervention training in March. Officer [Tyler] Zach will be going to one in May. My goal is to have all the staff trained in crisis intervention.”

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