persons dropped dramatically in the Town of Chesterton in 2017, although one
of those was the first murder investigated by the Chesterton Police
Department since 1999.
property also plummeted last year.
Those are the first
two headlines from the CPD’s 2017 annual report.
The third: the CPD
continued to operate seriously understaffed in 2017.
Begin with crimes
against persons as tallied by the CPD’s Uniform Crime Reports (URCs) and
filed with the FBI:
assaults: five (nine in 2016).
* Rapes: two (five
* Murder: one, that
of Upper Deck bartender Nicole Gland in April; Christopher Dillard has been
charged with Gland’s murder and is awaiting trail. Gland’s homicide is the
first investigated by the CPD since a murder/suicide in 1999. In 2014 a
Chesterton man was charged with aggravated assault-causing death after
investigators determined that he shook a 2-year-old boy in his care and
then, after the child lapsed into unconsciousness, claimed that the boy had
fallen off a trampoline; the man later pleaded guilty to neglect of a
dependent and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
* Robbery: none
(two in 2016).
* Arson: none (none
* Burglaries: 18
(19 in 2016).
* Thefts: 87 (147
in 2016), a decrease of 41 percent.
* Motor vehicle
thefts: 12 (10 in 2016).
In 2017 the CPD
Investigation Division was assigned 239 adult criminal cases (236 in 2016)
and 56 juvenile cases (39), and closed 131 of them or 54 percent, compared
to 70 percent of case closures in 2016. Police Chief Dave Cincoski
attributed the drop in the closure rate chiefly to staffing issues,
including the re-assignment of one detective to the Patrol Division and
another’s taking medical leave. On the other hand, Cincoski noted, although
the Investigations Division closed fewer cases last year, several of them
“were more serious and required more detailed investigations than those of
the previous year.”
Division filed a total of 18 adult criminal charges in 2017 (26 in 2016). Of
those, 14 were felonies: one murder, four burglary, four theft, two robbery,
two identity deception, and one child molestation. The other four were
misdemeanors: two theft and one each criminal mischief and operating while
Division also filed a total of 24 juvenile delinquency charges last year (34
in 2016). Of those, one was a felony: possession of a legend drug. The other
23 were misdemeanors: five battery, five possession of marijuana, four
theft, four criminal mischief, three disorderly conduct, two indecent
exposure, and one minor consumption of alcohol.
Calls for Service
Last year total
calls for service fell by 14 percent, to 9,742 from 11,308 in 2016. “Simply
put,” Cincoski stated in his report, the calls for citizen-generated
requests for police services are decreasing. On the other hand, the CPD’s
understaffing means that fewer officers are available “for unobligated
activities,” or those which “officers are required to engage in to fill
vacant or quiet time between calls.” The drop in unobligated activities is
also reflected in the 14 percent decrease in calls for service.
A summary of the
staffing issue in 2017: For much of the year, one officer was on medical
leave due to work-related injuries; another officer was on administrative
leave for the whole of the year; two more officers resigned their positions,
with those slots remaining vacant for approximately five months; and finally
yet another position remained vacant for the full 12 months and still has
not been filled.
calculation, had the CPD been able to field a full 22-member force for the
entirety of 2017, performing traffic stops and other unobligated activities,
the CPD would have responded to 13,770 calls for service, 41 percent more
than it did last year.
Still, even with
fewer officers on regular patrol in 2017, the CPD still logged 3,066 traffic
stops, only 1 percent fewer than the 3,103 in 2016.
On the other hand,
school visits--an unobligated activity--did fall by 11 percent last year, to
770 (864 in 2016).
Calls for service
included the following in 2017:
* Fatal crash: one
(one in 2016).
crashes: 347 (373), down 7 percent.
crashes: 36, (35), up 3 percent.
* Fraud complaints:
77 (66), up 14 percent.
* Missing persons:
10 (8), up 20 percent.
* Runaways: 24
(15), up 38 percent.
* Overdoses: 27
(14), up 48 percent.
repossessions: five (2), up 60 percent.
circumstances: 1,112 (1,098), down 2 percent.
Quality of life in
Chesterton, as measured by several different categories of call, was a mixed
bag last year:
crashes: 51 (74 in 2016), down 30 percent.
complaints: 78 (92), down 15 percent.
* Disturbances: 310
(300), up 3 percent.
complaints: 12 (7), up 42 percent.
* Reports of public
intoxication: 10 (8), up 20 percent.
* Train complaints:
* Reports of
vandalism: 79 (55), up 30 percent.
* Bicycle thefts:
12 (19), down 37 percent.
CPD Snapshot 2017
* Longevity: CPD
sworn officers averaged 13.6 years of experience: detectives, 21.8 years;
patrol officers, 11.1 years; reserve officers, 14.5 years.
* Patrol officers
are divided into four crews: two day crews (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and two night
ones (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.). Each patrol officer works 12 hours per shift. When
fully staffed, each day crew filed three officers; each night crew, four
* Officers logged a
total of 269,537 patrol and response miles, with a daily average of 738
miles. Total fuel usage for the year was 21,910 gallons, with an average
daily usage of 60 gallons.
* Most duty usage
over the course of the year: 25,400 miles by Officer Erik Palleson,
equivalent to circumnavigating the globe and then driving 500 more miles for