On Thursday, Wayne County Sheriff Tim Catron told the Commonwealth Journal he has not compared 2020 to 2019, but feels like last year's numbers are down due to the ongoing battle with COVID 19.
"We were put under restrictions on making arrests in 2020 which lowered our numbers," Catron said. "The large number of traffic stops and meth arrests are up for a couple of reasons."
Sheriff Catron told first of the court system becoming so relaxed on sentencing people that his department cannot get anyone to buy dope for them. "It's caused us to partly change the way we look for dope," he said. "Now we target dope houses by watching people leave and conduct traffic stops once they make a traffic violation."
The sheriff continued that the department has always done that, just more so now. Another thing Catron pointed to are three drug detection K9's which help on traffic stops.
"A lot of people drive while on meth," Catron said, "but we don't break down our overall numbers as to whether it was a DUI on alcohol or a drug."
Catron estimated of the 60 DUI arrests in 2020, about 40 of them would probably be drug related. He told of one deputy making 46 DUI arrests alone last year and the sheriff has put him in for an award.
According to Catron, methamphetamine is the biggest problem in Wayne County. "For whatever reason, it is the drug of choice here," he said. "I'm guessing largely due to it having being around in Wayne County for a longer period of time compared to heroin.
"The cartel has flooded meth here and most drug dealers in our area prefer meth over heroin anyway."
Sheriff Catron did add that heroin is on the increase and all about the same amount of money to purchase. In speaking about heroin, the sheriff said it's much more dangerous for overdoses, especially because a lot of heroin is mixed with fentanyl. Drug addicts like to get as high as possible and heroin is a totally different type of high from meth.
"Most tell me that heroin is an upgrade in getting high over meth," Catron said.
He felt COVID-19 had accounted for less numbers, but the year-end total of 10,247 was the bottom line for all activities conducted by Sheriff Catron and his deputies.
The 2020 breakdown for the Wayne County Sheriff's Department showed 35 abandoned vehicles, 486 alarms, 115 animal complaints, 25 ATV complaints, 63 attempt to locate missing persons, 241 burglary theft complaints, 1422 citations, 605 citizen requests for assistance and info given, 35 criminal mischief complaints, 253 domestics, 60 DUIs, 14 Hit and Run, 567 indictment charges, 4 identity theft, 72 juvenile complaints, 85 K9 reports, 1069 license plate checks NCIC, 102 MIW, 411 motor assists/motor vehicle accidents, 42 property disputes, 350 reckless driving, 604 requests to speak with an officer, 144 requests for subject to be removed/extra patrol, 50 requests for assistance from another county, 23 search warrants, 65 shots fired/gun complaints, 9 shoplifting, 294 suspicious person/vehicle, 42 suicidal attempts, 34 terroristic threatening, 30 traffic hazards, 607 traffic stops, 44 transports and out of county, 2 transports out of state, 26 trespassing, 60 vehicles versus deer or bears, 24 vehicle or foot pursuits, 45 wanted or kidnapped persons, 826 warrants, 154 well being checks, 477 civil papers served, 429 criminal investigations and 202 subpoenas/eviction/juvenile papers served.
Catron left one thought in mind in a final comment to the Commonwealth Journal saying, "I will assure you of one thing, we won't stop trying to fight the drug epidemic."