More drunk drivers in Cumberland, police report

More drunk drivers in Cumberland, police report

This story corrects the list of promotions in 2012.

CUMBERLAND - Drunk driving is at an all-time high in this town, the Cumberland Police Department's newest annual report seems to be indicating.

Chief John Desmarais is reporting that arrests for driving under the influence in the 2012 calendar year totaled 60, a 94 percent increase over 2011.

Three of the cases involved felonies and will be prosecuted by the state Office of Attorney General. The rest were adjudicated by the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal or District Court with most defendants pleading nolo contrendre.

Chief Desmarais was scheduled to present his department's 45-page report at this week's Town Council meeting.

Overall, the department of 46 officers and 11 support staff members is reporting an upswing in calls for service - 22,989 this past year, a 23 percent increase over the 17,714 calls in 2011 and 30 percent over the 16,231 calls in 2010.

The town reported 19 stolen vehicles, a decrease from the 27 last year and 28 in 2010.

Looking at more statistics for the year:

* Traffic tickets issued totaled 1,195 along with 61 parking tickets, with the town prevailing in 92 percent of cases.

* Accidents were down in 2012, from 839 in 2011 to 824 in 2012. That compares to 905 in 2009. Injuries were decreased from 270 in 2010 to 214 this past year.

The chief attributes the decrease to several factors including the message/speed trailer and speed signs, neighborhood traffic calming program and stepped up patrol efforts by the department

* Once again this past year, no officer discharged his or her firearm although firearms were drawn seven times. Handcuffs or other physical restraints were used 27 times, more than double the 10 times last year and 14 times in 2010.

Of those restrained, 23 were Caucasian, eight Afro-American, and one Hispanic. Twenty-seven were men and five were women. Nine suspects suffered injuries and four officers.

* Eight pedestrians were struck last year compared to 10 the previous two years.

* There were six vehicle pursuits in 2012, of which five were apprehended and arrested. There were also two collisions with two suffering injuries.

* The Juvenile Division, headed by Det. Jolene Alves, brought 11 cases before the town's seven-member Juvenile Hearing Board, all charged with either simple assault or disorderly conduct or both. Sanctions were community service, curfew, writing an essay and service at the juvenile's school.

New to the juvenile board are Karen Ann McLoughlin, Chris Mangano, Rui Felix and Michael Costa.

* The Traffic Division also sent two officers out on dirt bikes for four hour blocks on weekend days in the summer to target areas of most complaints.

* Seat belt use in Cumberland exceeds the national average. The Click It or Ticket spot check last November found 86.5 percent compliance.

Looking head, the department is listing these 2012-2013 objectives:

* Purchasing electronic control devices such as TASER.

* Installing an updated phone system.

* Increasing involvement with the community, including the Citizens Police Academy.

* Exploring the possibility of new software that would allow officers to dictate reports.

* Issuing digital cameras to officers.

* Gathering and using crash data to focus traffic enforcement efforts.

Promoted this past year were Capt. Alan Milligan, Lt. William Wilkie, Sgt. David Rosa, Sgt. Jackie Hooper.

The department continues to be nationally accredited along with only a small number of police agencies in Rhode Island. That means the department must maintain 480 policy standards, from the appearance of an officer's uniform to procedures followed during a police pursuit.

Members of the police color guard, which was founded in 1994, are currently Lt. William Wilkie, Lt. Jonathan Cook, Sgt. Daniel Lamoureux, Sgt. Matthew Alves, Officers Peter Sweet, Shanna Loveless and Joshua Vaughn.

Working with the schools are Officer Kevin Dolek at the high school, and Officer Robert Fay, who is assigned to the two middle schools. Fay also handles the D.A.R.E. program that warns elementary schoolers about the hazards of drugs.