The Ridgecrest Police Department reported an average of two drug-related arrests per day in 2022, out of a total of five daily arrests. Acting Chief Captain Justin Dampier shared these statistics during the city’s FY 2024 budget workshop on May 31, 2023.
Both numbers decreased compared to 2021, according to Dampier. The total arrests for 2022 were 1,988, which marked a 19 percent decrease from the previous year. There were 653 drug-related arrests in 2022, reflecting a 23 percent decrease from the previous year.
This decline in arrests was part of a larger trend of reduced officer engagement. Officer-initiated incidents totaled 9,699 in 2022, averaging 26 per day, representing a 20 percent decrease from the previous year.
Dampier attributed this decrease to several factors, including open positions within the RPD, resulting in fewer officers on active duty. Changes in drug laws and laws pertaining to drug paraphernalia also played a role.
However, calls for service saw a modest increase, with a total of 24,061 calls or an average of 66 calls per day, indicating a two percent rise from the previous year. The total number of incidents reported was 33,760, averaging 92 per day.
In terms of traffic accidents, the RPD recorded 78 injury-related incidents in 2022, averaging one every five days.
Dampier also provided updates on RPD projects planned for FY 2023. These initiatives include the delivery of an armored vehicle in October, the acquisition of an ACO van for animal control expected on July 1, an upgrade to the police department’s interview room by the end of June to enhance video recording capabilities and processes, as well as the procurement of new radios.
Currently, the RPD has a staff of 32 sworn officers, 24 professional staff members, and one part-time PACT coordinator.
Four positions were added or reinstated due to Measure P, which includes four officers, one dispatcher, one police clerk, and one kennel attendant.
Furthermore, the RPD benefits from the support of 84 volunteers, including PACT members, animal welfare specialists, reserve officers, and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) personnel.
Additionally, the department utilized Police Academy Training funds to support the graduation of two recruits, while two other recruits are currently undergoing training in the academy.