A homicide case, an active shooter drill, a new chief, and a new K-9 officer —these were just some of the highlights of 2015 for the Oberlin police.
Officers dealt with an increase of 37 adult arrests and 50 juvenile arrests last year, according to an annual report released by chief Juan Torres.
Larceny drove arrests last year among adults, where there was a bump of 40 for theft. Among minors, unruliness, vandalism, and criminal damaging rose slightly.
“The numbers seem to be very close to years past,” said police Lt. Mike McCloskey. “We may see spikes here and there.”
One such influx: Domestic violence incidents nearly doubled last year with a total of 33, prompting 13 arrests.
The number of adults charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol dropped to 20, but drug offenses overall increased by 10 from the prior year to a total of 43. The two biggest drug offenses were possession of drug paraphernalia (18 charges) and marijuana (13).
When it comes to traffic, the Oberlin police wrote 323 fewer parking citations in 2015 compared to 2014, with a total of 1,049.
Det. Jessica Beyer was able to close several cases this past year including:
• A child enticement complaint — An Eastwood Elementary School teacher was charged with the offense and pled guilty to federal chargers.
• Six complaints of theft and criminal trespass cases with arrests.
• Beyer was able to locate a missing suicidal person, unharmed, with the help of other officers.
• Copper thefts — The city experienced multiple theft complaints involving copper between September and November. One suspect was identified and charged.
Officers also launched a homicide case in November after a man found his cousin shot inside a Locust Street home.
“It’s still being actively investigated,” McCloskey said. A case like this takes a lot of time because officers are trying to eliminate suspects and find associates of the victim, he said.
Another high-profile incident, considering the Tamir Rice case in Cleveland: Oberlin police arrested three juveniles in December for carrying five real-looking BB handguns near Pleasant Street Park.
The department also underwent several changes in 2015, including the retirement of former chief Tom Miller, the hiring of Torres, the addition of K-9 officer Roky, and the retirement of Lt. Kevin Scalli and Ptl. Gary Glover.
Officers participated in more than 770 hours of training last year. Of note, Sgt. Victor Ortiz and Ptl. Billie Neadham staged an active shooter drill at Langston Middle School and six officers received training on how to operate a new police Segway.
Since being hired in July, Torres has launched a community liaison program, held two “walking with the chief” events, and increased foot and bicycle patrols and community policing.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Sgt. Victor Ortiz explains to four Oberlin officers how to enter a hallway during an active shooter drill at Langston Middle School in December.