Overall communication activity increased by more than 100 percent for the Alta Police Department in 2001, and jumped more than 68 percent in January of this year.
Communication activity for the police department, which includes officers responding to complaints from citizens, handling traffic stops for violations such as not wearing seat belts, speeding or driving while impaired, and conducting routine security checks on different buildings around town, rose 104.13 percent from January to December 2001, and then went up by 68.4 percent in January from December's figures.
The police department also handled 85 complaints in February, ranging from theft to vandalism, but numbers for the total amount of communication activity for the month will not be available for at least one or two weeks.
Alta Police Chief Tom Messerole said the figures did not indicate that Alta's crime rate had gone up, but said the increase was due to a greater police involvement in the community over the past year.
"This shows that we're out in the town and active in the community," Messerole said. "It shows that we're being very productive in the way we're utilizing our time as police officers here in town. I think the public can feel good about that."
Messerole said the increase in productivity has come despite a decrease in the number of full-time personnel staffing the police department.
With officer Dave Freese currently serving in the United States Armed Forces, Messerole and Officer Mike Rader are the only full-time policemen in Alta, and are receiving help from three part-time officers who work many of the weekend hours for the department.
"I feel very good about the way everyone has worked in here," Messerole said. "To be a little shorthanded in terms of full-time help and still be able to handle an increase in productivity is really a credit to everyone that is in this department."
Messerole said there was no particular pattern to the times when the activity took place the most often in town, as he said any time of any day of the week could potentially be the busiest time slot for himself and his officers.
"We can't pick any one day or time that it will be busy or not busy," Messerole said. "That's just something we can't control. There are some weeks where Wednesday morning is the busiest time, and then there are other weeks where we're monitoring a lot of activity on Friday and Saturday nights.
"Those busy slots really fluctuate from week to week, so we always have to keep on our toes, because we don't know in advance what days or nights of any given week will have a lot of activity."
Messerole said he and the rest of the police department would continue to be play a significant role in the community in the future, and said he is happy with the smooth and productive way his department has been able to handle the rise in communication activity over the past year.
"The amount of increase that we've seen with this is a great indication that we're doing our job and we're out in the community even more," Messerole said. "I'm pretty proud of that fact."