Coal City Police log fewer calls in 2020


Although it will be several weeks before the Coal City Police Department releases its annual report for 2020, information being shared this week with the Village Board indicates a decrease in calls for service.
Based on the department’s monthly data reports, total officer activity for the year was 5,685 calls down 34% from the prior year. Nearly 38% of those calls were dispatched meaning the remaining activity — just over 3,500 — was officer initiated. The data further indicates 46.5% of the calls required a written report.
The reduction in call volume is likely a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. As previously reported police activity in the village was down 23% in March and 42% in April.
Village officials announced in mid-March that due to the pandemic new procedures were being implemented at the police department, and that included altering the types of calls officers would be responding to in-person.
At that time, Chief Tom Best reported his officers would limit in-person response to life threatening and emergency calls. All non-emergency incidents would be handled by phone and officers would only assist emergency medical personnel if requested.
The number of calls started increasing in May, a trend that continued through the month of October.
Total officer activity slowed again in November with a slight uptick in calls in the final month of the year.
January was the busiest month with total officer activity logged at 758 calls. Rounding out the top five busiest months were February, October, September and August.
The month of August had the most dispatched calls — 203 — followed by July and June.
The slowest month for dispatched calls was in April and May was the month that saw the lowest number of officer initiated calls at 103.
The monthly reports indicates veteran patrol officer Kevin Jones had the highest officer activity in 2020 with over 60% of his 892 calls being self-initated. He also led the department in traffic stops with 461, and responded to 17 traffic accidents. Jones’ work resulted in 14 criminal charges, 25 ordinance violations and five citations, and 179 traffic citations.
Patrol officer Kady Sassenger, who began patrolling the streets in 2019, ended the year with the second highest number of calls—837, but led with the number of self-initated calls 658 or 78.6% of her total activity.
Overall, officers made 89 criminal arrests, handled 139 ordinance violations and issued 19 ordinance citations, filed 83 accident reports and made 1,200 traffic stops resulting in 375 citations.
The department also made seven arrests for driving under the influence.
Throughout the past year the department was served by police chief Tom Best; sergeants Chris Harseim and Tom Logan; school resource officers Jason Clark and Mike Imhof; administrative assistant Bonnie Wieczorek, and patrol officers Dave Moran, Jones, Matt Dillon, Dave Kasher, Casey Roth, Sassenger, Nick Mazzone and Josh Nugent, along with a handful of part-time officers that provide service as needed.
In 2020 the department welcomed patrol officer Brian Putz who completed his studies at the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this month.
The department’s annual report, a comprehensive document that includes crime statistics, training hours, and a run down of the department’s accomplishments and goals for the coming year is traditionally presented to the Village Board for its review in late February or March.