Police chief releases annual report, says “proactive police work keeps York safe”

YORK – The York Police Department has released its 2023 annual report, which summarizes key statistics and highlights achievements from the past year.

York Police Chief Ed Tjaden says, “key achievements this past year include letters of commendation for exemplary and live-saving work for seven officers and nearly 2,000 hours of training education.”

He also notes how the YPD is now fully staffed, unlike many law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Chief Tjaden reflected on the debates across the country about whether hiring practices and standards need to be adjusted in light of the continuing law enforcement shortage and states. “I am proud to say that throughout this debate and shortage, the York Police Department has not only maintained, but strengthened our hiring standards.” Chief Tjaden attributes YPD successes in recruiting and retaining officers to the positive culture of the department and the support of city leadership for the police officers. “Our positive culture is visible and felt daily at York PD. We’re investing in our officers with new technologies, wellness options, and training opportunities and these investments are paying increasingly positive dividends.”

Chief Tjaden said technological improvements in 2023 included the purchase and use of a Rigaku laser substance analyzer which allows officers to detect the presence of fentanyl during a stop – that allows officers to act quickly and safely to stop drug trafficking. Other technological improvements include new citation software and the implementation of body cameras.

Proactive work by the police department includes building relationships with the kids in the community. Officers regularly visit schools and preschools to provide safety trainings. Officers also get called to protect children caught in family abuse situations as well as follow up wellness checks and school checks,” Chief Tjaden said.

Full staffing and new electric citation technology allowed YPD to step up traffic enforcement stops by about 50% in 2023. “Traffic stops play important roles in proactive policing,” Chief Tjaden said. “The presence of police in heavy traveled areas helps to deter crime as well as reduce dangerous driving which can lead to accidents and injuries. The I-80 interchange brings a high volume of traffic through York, which increases the need for traffic control measures.”

The 2023 report summarizes various measures of calls for service for York Police from 2021 to 2023. The highest volume single type of call are animal calls. YPD’s civilian support officer handles these calls and calls regarding nuisance weeds and junk on properties. In 2023 there were almost 600 animal calls.

The statistics in the 2023 report summarize calls from all parts of the community. “Sometimes people assume that the interchange area creates more calls than other parts of the community. A comparative analysis of how many calls come from the interchange area for three categories shows that police are hard at work responding to calls all throughout the community,” Chief Tjaden said.

The relatively low number of criminal offense calls in the community also demonstrates the proactive work of YPD,” Chief Tjaden said. “These numbers are lower because police are working hard at proactive policing. The report does not show the high volume of calls the YPD takes each year to respond to situations, like disturbances or individuals in mental crisis, so that they do not become crime calls. The results of this proactive work can also be seen the comparison of the average level of crime victimizations in rural areas reported to the Department of Justice to the average number of calls in York. Over the past three years there has only been one homicide arrest in the entire community. The average number of assault calls compares favorably to the expected number based on rural averages. The property rate calls also compare favorably to national average victimizations.”

He offered statistics regarding different types of calls, the locations of the calls and comparisons with other areas of the nation:

  • Assaults: A 3-year average city-wide of 62 with a 3-year average in the interchange area of four. The National Crime Victimization Rural Survey Comparison is 88.8.
  • Larceny/thefts: A 3-year average city-wide of 244 with a 3-year average in the interchange area of 67. The National Crime Victimization Rural Survey Comparison is 461.6 property crimes.
  • Vandalism: A 3-year average city-wide of 79 with a 3-year average in the interchange area of six.

“Looking ahead to next year, the York Police Department has been working with York Public Schools to develop a School Resource Officer Program to further enhance their outreach in the community,” Chief Tjaden said. “In 2024, the two newest officers will complete training so all shifts will be at full capacity for the first time in five years.”

Chief Tjaden notes that safety in the community is a collaborative effort. “Community vigilance and support makes the work of the police department even more effective. This department cares about the community, and we feel the community’s support.”

 

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