GLENS FALLS — Glens Falls Police made fewer arrests and issued fewer traffic tickets in 2018, a trend that Police Chief Tony Lydon said stemmed at least in part from the agency being short four officers for much of the year.
Retirements had led to a shortage of officers, but the hiring and training of new officers has resulted in the Police Department getting back to full strength in 2019 for the first time in about five years, Lydon said.
That likely played a part in a drop in activity that included a 17 percent drop in arrests, an 18.3 percent drop in drug arrests and 26.2 percent decline in traffic tickets.
Glens Falls Police Department annual report
Felony drug arrests actually increased 26 percent, but misdemeanors and non-criminal violation-level offenses dropped. The violation-level charge is unlawful possession of marijuana, and arrests on that charge declined by more than a third.
Lydon said the cooperative relationship between area police agencies to handle drug investigations played a part in the rise of felony drug arrests.
“We’ve tried to enhance our relationship with surrounding agencies,” the chief said.
The hiring of a new parking enforcement officer and a department-wide push to more thoroughly enforce the city’s overnight street parking ban resulted in a 45 percent uptick in parking tickets, with parking ticket revenue for the year rising $21,171 to just under $200,000.
Lydon said the department reorganized around a number of retirements in recent years, which included the hiring of new officers to fill openings.
Because of hiring and Zone 5 Law Enforcement Training Academy cycles, getting a newly hired officer certified and on the streets often takes a year or longer, he explained.
“In the middle of the year we were down four officers,” he said.
One of the department’s priorities for 2019 is to have an officer trained as a “drug recognition expert” to handle cases in which drivers are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs
In other notes from the annual report, which can be found at poststar.com, 44 driving while intoxicated arrests were made by Glens Falls Police in 2018, which was unchanged from 2017. The number of car accidents investigated rose from 531 to 564.
Glens Falls Police used a Taser electronic stun gun on one occasion last year, to incapacitate a man who was threatening to jump from the roof of a parking garage. Officers were able to halt his suicide attempt.