by Terry Rogers
Milford Police Chief Kenneth Brown stated that crime statistics for 2019 were consistent with 2018and that there was nothing that stood out when he reviewed the reports for the past five years. He did see a noted uptick in “shots fired” incidents, which were up 50 percent in 2019, but says that this is a trend that other police agencies are seeing as well.
“When we look at the five-year trend, we see a decrease in most areas of crime,” Chief Brown said. “For instance, burglaries have gone from 87 in 2015 to 47 in 2019, robberies went from 27 in 2015 to 20 in 2019 and assaults went from 107 in 2015 to 92 in 2019. We also saw criminal mischiefs of 203 in 2015 drop to 102 in 2019. Our proactive arrests have seen great improvements as well as our DUI arrests which went from 45 in 2015 to 85 in 2019. With the additional officers, I expect this number to be even higher next year.”
Last summer, Council approved the hiring of five new police officers and those five officers are just now starting to show benefits to the department. Once the officers were hired, they had to complete the Police Academy, which takes six months. Upon graduation, the officers completed at least three months of Field Training.
“The officers were hired for two different academy dates and we just got them all of training at the end of October,” Chief Brown said. “Therefore, we have only gotten real numbers from the month of November to see what effect they have had. While the numbers are up for that month, there is not enough data to properly analyze yet. These officers have allowed us one extra officer per shift which has been a tremendous help.”
Milford has crime consistent with other municipalities of its size and similar socioeconomic makeup, Chief Brown explained, with the drug epidemic is still the biggest driver of crime in the City. He touts the great job Milford Police officers do for making it difficult for criminals to get away with bad behavior.
“The visibility of these officers has a direct impact on the conduct of would-be criminals,” Chief Brown said. “I have heard criminals make comments like “Don’t go to Milford to do crime, you’re gonna get caught.” In one recent incident, where our officers were at Walmart arresting a person who was wanted and some bystanders were overheard saying “if he was wanted he should have known better to come to Milford, cops are thick here.” These comments demonstrate that we have a strong police presence throughout the city that is designed to deter crime.”
Over the past year, Chief Brown and his officers have been assisting in the design of a new police station. Staff, officers and the Chief have met with the architects designing the facility that meets the needs of the department now and in the foreseeable future while being as conservative as possible. Input of officers has been critical at every level of the design phase, according to Chief Brown. The interior design has been completed and the department will now seek public input on how the outside should look. The Chief hopes to hold a few public meetings at City Hall for this input in the very near future.
“There are several reasons why we need a new facility,” Chief Brown explained. “The biggest is just the general need for space. When the current building was built in 1978, it was designed for 20 officers. We now have 37 officers. Our dispatch has also doubled and we have a lot more support staff. The next reason is safety and security. In today’s environment, the current building and grounds lack the necessary security for the public and the officers. We have modified this facility in every way we can to adapt to our needs but it is still severely inadequate.”
For 2020, Chief Brown believes that the added officers will provide additional protection to Milford citizens.
“More police officers patrolling our streets goes a long way towards deterring crime,” Chief Brown said. “Having more officers also lessens the burden of each officer reacting to complaints and allows for all of our officers to be more proactive.”