The number of calls for service to the Mashpee Police Department has remained consistent between all of last year (36,126 calls) and the first half of this year (19,991 calls), Mashpee Police Captain Thomas A. Rose said Tuesday, August 3.
The main difference between the two time periods was in the drop in the number of motor vehicle stops and other “proactive” services performed by officers due to concerns about COVID-19 in the early months of the pandemic last year compared with this year, Capt. Rose said.
“Our proactivity dropped last year. With COVID, we tried to minimize our contacts with the public, to protect ourselves and the public alike,” Capt. Rose said. “Calls for service were right on par with what they are now, which is high. Probably just recently, in June, we started to see car stops, proactive stuff, start to pick back up. We still have officers who are very cautious, even though they are vaccinated, about the delta variant. We’re probably 80 percent of where we’d normally be as far as being proactive, stopping cars. It’s happening, but not to the levels pre-COVID. We’re a lot more powered up, but not where we were pre-COVID.”
Despite the decrease in motor vehicle stops, there has been no impact on serving the public, Capt. Rose said.
“We answer all calls for service. It hasn’t impacted any services the public expects from us. We still have our bike units, ATVs. No services were impacted,” he said.
The number of opiate overdoses in Mashpee has remained consistent between the two periods, with 22 by the beginning of this month, Capt. Rose said, but the fatality rate has dropped from seven in 2020 to zero in the first half of 2021.
“We average between 35 and 40 overdoses for a year, about three a month, so we’re right in line with other years. What’s down is the death rate,” the captain said. “[The opiate overdose drug] naloxone plays a big part in that. It’s more prevalent in homes. It’s not just us or the Mashpee Fire Department bringing it to the home. It’s been a game-changer in terms of the fatality rate.”
The number of motor vehicle crashes in Mashpee is up, from 360 last year to about 260 so far this year.
“There are more people out and about now that are getting back to somewhat normal with COVID. There’s a higher volume of vehicles on the roads now than in 2020, with not as many people driving to and from work. In 2018 and 2019, we had 400 to 500 crashes per year, and we’re tracking similarly this year,” Capt. Rose said. “But our calls for service have stayed about the same. It didn’t matter if people were home or not.”
To assist in answering the calls for service, the police department’s staffing has remained stable from last year to this year.
“At full strength we’re 38 sworn. Right now we’re at 37. We’re usually down three to four officers at minimum. Since I’ve been here, this is fullest staff we’ve been that I can remember. I think we’re doing a lot better than other police departments from what I’ve heard and seen,” Capt. Rose said. “We recently had a lot of turnover and retirements, and we now have a lot of younger officers, so we’re in pretty good shape going forward.”
As for all the other calls that are not specified in the table below, Capt. Rose said, “Everything we respond to generates a call for service, from the most mundane thing to a murder. Those additional calls might consist of motor vehicle stops, domestic situations, directed patrols and neighborhood checks, and medical calls to assist the fire department.”