Lakewood-Busti Police Dept. Sees Rise In Incidents

AKEWOOD – The Lakewood-Busti Police Department dealt with more than 1,300 more incidents in the first half of this year compared with the first half of last year.

At a recent Busti town board meeting, Captain John Bentley announced the police handled 6,565 incidents from the start of the year to early July.

“We haven’t changed the way we do incidents at all,” he said. “We seem to be taking the same number of traffic incidents we did last year. We are just getting more calls for family fights, accidents, prowler calls – all those small things – loud music, parking, you name it. All those quality of life things – neighbor disputes – those things are just way up.”

According to Bentley, the rise in larcenies and thefts can be attributed to the rising drug problem in Chautauqua County. Overall though, incidents can cover a wide area and include anything which incurs liability for the police.

For the last few years, incidents remained at a steady level. However, now, Bentley said more people call the police than before. Average response time, according to Bentley, can be anywhere from four to six minutes.

“More people apparently feel more violated than they did before,” he said.

When the departments first merged in 1983, between both police departments, they covered 2,500 incidents a year. Since then, the workload has increased by sevenfold and the department employs three fewer full-time officers. As more businesses, tourists and residents enter into the town and village, the police department handles more calls. However, Bentley said the department can handle the calls.