MILTON — During the meeting of the Police Advisory Committee on March 23, Milton Police Chief Stephen Laroche shared last year's incident data.
"Every interaction we have, even if it's someone calling because their neighbor's dog is barking, we generate an incident report for," Chief Laroche said. "The reason we do that is so we can track our interactions with the public."
In 2020, the Milton Police Department responded to 6,750 incidents, which was significantly fewer than in prior years. Typically, Milton police respond to about 9,500 incidents per year.
Chief Laroche credited 2020's sharp decrease to the pandemic.
"Everyone shut their doors, shut their windows and stayed home," he said. "That caused our call volume to drop off significantly."
Though call volume was down last year, Chief Laroche said calls related to mental health increased.
"This validates why you wanted a mental health professional to help you with these issues," Police Advisory Committee member Lisa Rees said, in a reference to the Town of Milton's recent contract with the Howard Center's Community Outreach Program. "It looks like it's really becoming a trend, and I don't see it getting any better in the near future."
The system Milton Police Department uses to track its interactions has about 82 different incident types, Chief Laroche said, and some calls are counted in more than one category.
Top 10 incident types in 2020
1. Traffic Stop: 2,131
The Milton Police department conducted 2,131 traffic stops in 2020. Due to the pandemic, this was significantly fewer stops than in previous years. In 2018, the department made 3,568 stops, and in 2019 it made 3,770.
94.7% of those stopped in 2020 were white, while 3.5% of those stopped were Black. This breakdown is consistent with previous years'.
2. Public Assist: 461 calls
3. Medical Assist: 457 calls
4. Motor Vehicle Complaint: 391 calls
5. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Verification: 324 calls
6. Suspicious Event: 312 calls
7. Agency Assist: 246 calls
These are incidents where a Milton police officer responds to a call for assistance from another Milton or area public safety agency, like a fire department.
8. Alarms: 187 calls
9. Animal Problem: 168 calls
10. Juvenile Problem: 136 calls