The East Hampton Town Police Department handled a record number of calls last year, just missing the 20,000 mark, according to the annual report released by Chief Michael D. Sarlo on Monday. The 19,889 calls logged by the department continued a trend going back three years. Police reported a record number of calls in 2014, only to see that record broken in 2015, and again last year.
Also up, though not a record, were total vehicle and traffic citations, 5,827, over 1,000 more than in 2015. “Officers worked extremely hard on maintaining a presence in high-accident areas or areas which receive high numbers of speeding complaints,” Chief Sarlo said.
In particular, he said, speeding tickets surged by about 60 percent, and tickets for distracted driving, such as cellphone use, increased by about 10 percent. The record for total vehicle and traffic law citations was set in 2008, at 6,050.
A notable area of quality-of-life improvement, particularly in Montauk, was a drop in noise complaints. Total summonses issued fell from 54 in 2015 to 13 last year, of which only 8 involved commercial establishments. Chief Sarlo credited increased cooperation between the management of nightclubs and bars, particularly in Montauk, and the police.
Over all, quality-of-life citations dropped slightly, from 1,320 to 1,189, still much higher than any other year.
The number of arrests for drunken driving has remained stable the past couple of years. There were 186 made last year, matching the total from 2014, and 187 in 2015. The most such arrests, 257, occurred in 2012.
The number of criminal arrests increased from 266 in 2015 to 321 last year. This number has fluctuated since 2000, when there were 362 arrests, a number matched in 2013. The total has remained above 300 every year except for 2015.
Parking summonses, which hit an all-time high of 8,631 in 2015, dropped to 7,588 last year, still the second highest ever.
Two of Chief Sarlo’s goals this year, he said, were to fine-tune the department’s new 12-hour shift schedule, and increase the number of officers and supervisors on the beat during peak call times. Those objectives are related. As of Jan. 1, the police force switched from five squads rotating through eight-hour shifts to four squads in schedules, meaning that more officers will be available for assignment at any one time.
The department and the Police Benevolent Association will sit down at the end of the year and evaluate the new schedule, Chief Sarlo said, with an eye on the “permanent implementation for 2018 and beyond.”