In 2015, the Highland County Sheriff’s Office answered nearly 47,000 calls for service, including 21,000 emergency calls, investigated 1,642 criminal cases, booked 2,258 inmates, and made 2,944 arrests, including 651 felony arrests.
Sheriff Donnie Barrera provided statistics for 2015 to The Times-Gazette on Friday, an annual recap that has been kept by Deputy Scott Miller since Ron Ward was sheriff. The stats offer annual comparisons going back to 2010.
Miller “does a tremendous job” tracking the statistics, said Barrera.
The statistics cover everything from the number of dispatches to inmate meals to dog complaints and more.
The report shows that sheriff’s deputies racked up more than 403,000 patrol miles in 2015, down slightly from 410,000 in 2014, but more than 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013.
The 651 felony arrests were the most in the six-year period since 2010 except for 2011, when 671 felony arrests were made, according to the statistics. Just 344 felony arrests were made in 2013, and 419 were made in 2014, according to the report.
In addition to the felony arrests, the sheriff’s office made 460 traffic arrests, 1,247 criminal arrests and 1,263 arrests on warrants last year.
Heroin-related charges were a big part of all charges leveled last year. There were 167 possession of heroin charges, 93 charges of trafficking in heroin, and 57 charges for trafficking heroin in the vicinity of a school. By comparison, there were a total of 28 charges related to cocaine last year.
The sheriff’s office leveled 25 charges of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor. It brought 29 assault charges, 18 aggravated menacing charges, 46 theft charges, 19 child endangerment charges and 92 domestic violence charges, from among a list of 100 different types of itemized criminal charges.
Paint Township led the way for number of arrests, with 406 arrests, including 71 felony arrests. The village of Greenfield was second with 313 arrests, including 30 for felonies. Liberty Township saw 279 arrests made, including 79 for felonies.
Sheriff’s deputies took 980 dog-related calls or complaints, and seized or impounded 525 dogs.
The sheriff’s office dispatched 7,562 life squad and fire department calls in 2015. The office also served 2,860 civil papers.
The average daily jail population in Highland County was 77, with an average of 54 males and 23 females. More than 74,000 inmate meals were served at a cost of $149,622, an average of slightly more than $2 per meal.
Barrera said last June during an address to the Highland County Tea Party that he had negotiated a new food contract for inmates that reduced per-meal pricing from $2.39 to $1.79. He also cut a new deal with a different company that will allow the department to make a 35 percent commission from the inmate commissary, up from 25 percent, he said.
The sheriff’s office investigated 34 meth labs last year, including 11 in Liberty Township, five in Paint Township, four in Madison Township, three in Union Township, one each in Brushcreek, Clay, Dodson, Hamer, New Market, Penn and Washington townships, and two listed under “other.”
The number of meth lab investigations was down from 67 in 2014 and a high of 99 in 2013, according to the stats.
Concealed weapon permits continued to be strong in Highland County, with the sheriff’s office authorizing 824 permits and renewing 397 in 2015, compared to 485 new and 463 renewed permits in 2014.
The sheriff’s office handled 109 new sheriff’s sales of real estate in 2015, totaling nearly $3.6 million in sales. There were 58 plaintiff-purchased sales totaling nearly $2.5 million, and 16 third-party buyers totaling just over $1 million. Nine sales had no bidders, seven were withdrawn, and 19 were vacated prior to sale.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.