WILLIAMSBURG — Williamsburg’s City Council heard reports from both Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird and Williamsburg Fire Chief Larry Todd during its regular council meeting Monday evening.
Bird was the first to present his report to the council. In 2019, the Williamsburg City Police Department opened 263 criminal cases, with 106 of those resulting in criminal indictments. Four of those indictments were murder charges.
Bird reported 276 vehicle incidents in the city last year, 26 of those incidents resulted in 44 separate individuals being injured. There were five DUI-related accidents and two drug-related accidents. There were no fatalities caused by vehicle accidents in the city of Williamsburg in 2019.
Williamsburg Police wrote 1,628 citations. Bird says the citations range from not having insurance to speeding. In fact, 119 of said citations were for speeding, 351 were for failure to wear a seatbelt.
There were 1,355 criminal arrest.
“That number’s up pretty significantly from what it has been,” said Bird.
There was a total of 8,278 911 calls last year. Including the 911 calls, the department answered 15,413 incidents within the city limits in 2019.
“So if the officer goes out and starts an investigation that counts, too, but we had 15,413 incidents within the city limits,” reaffirmed Bird.
Bird also reported on numbers that fall under the station’s Click It or Ticket campaign. The following figurers are counted separate from the aforementioned figures, because officers work federal overtime during the campaign.
In 2019 Williamsburg police officers worked a total of 606 federal hours of overtime towards Click It or Ticket. Those hours were paid through grant money. This past year’s grant was for a total of $21,000. Bird says his officers used all of the allocated money.
During the 2019 Click It or Ticket campaign, the Williamsburg Police Department had 103 DUI arrest, issued 180 speeding tickets, 152 tickets related to child restraints, 520 seat belt citations, and 8,246 other traffic citations.
“What we used to see with accidents is speeding was the contributing factor, now it’s changed,” said Bird. “What we are seeing now is a very high volume of is distracted driving, texting while driving.”
Bird said in the coming months, Williamsburg City Police will initiate a distracted driving campaign. The focus on the campaign is to cut down the number of drivers who text, use social media, etc. while driving. Bird will post a warning before the campaign starts to the department’s Facebook page. He expects it to start near the end of March, early April.
Bird also went over the department’s K-9 statistics for 2019. Williamsburg’s K-9 units tracked 38 times, mostly for criminal apprehension. There were 79 drug finds by K-9 officers.
Williamsburg’s K-9 unit assisted the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department 30 times in 2019, the Kentucky State Police 23 times, Probation and Parole twice, and Emergency Management once. The dogs were used three times at the University of the Cumberlands for vehicle searches and twice at the Whitley County Detention Center for the same thing. There were 79 arrests made in 2019 as a result of Williamsburg’s K-9 unit.
Williamsburg Fire Chief Larry Todd reported 106 medical assists for 2019. The fire department had 24 landing zone standbys and responded to 32 people in distress. There were eight instances of extrications in 2019, three in city limits and five were mutual aid outside of the city.
Todd reported only one structure fire took occurred within city limits last year. Firefighters responded to 14 instances for public service assistance and 23 instances of invalid assistance.
There were 15 instances of dispatching canceling a call while firefighters were in route and one case where firefighters were dispatched to the wrong location. Todd said dispatch received the incorrect info in that instance.
The Williamsburg Fire Department responded to 15 alarm system malfunctions in 2019. This number does not include responses to the University of the Cumberlands. The fire department also took part of 15 special types of incidents said Todd, these include using the ladder truck for funerals, ceremonies, etc.
The fire department received mutual aid once from Emlyn Fire Department and Patterson Creek Fire Department, while the Williamsburg Fire Department responded to 29 cases of mutual aid last year.
Todd also made mention of a smoke detector program started by his station and the Red Cross. Beginning Jan. 1, the program will allow Williamsburg city residents to call the fire department to have smoke detectors placed in their homes. All a resident needs to do is call the fire department, provide basic details, and schedule a time for the installations to take place. The smoke detectors are provided by the Red Cross.
The City Council also approved the city’s yearly audit for the fiscal year 2018-19.
“Bottom line, it was a good audit,” said Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison. “We still have our nemesis. If you looked in the water section, it’s still kind of its own enigma.”
The city continues to lose water, but Harrison assures that other cities are facing similar problems, and that the loss has decreased thanks to effort of officials.
Harrison also announced that he and a group of engineers from around the community have been meet with the goal of revamping the city’s water system. The first meeting took place in November.
“We have a started a process right now of looking into a huge, and I mean major water project that will upgrade our system to where it needs to be. I don’t know how much we’ll be able to do. It’ll all depend on our bonding powers.”
Harrison said the next meeting could take place next month.
In other city council business:
— Harrison confirmed the restaurant Cookout had purchased the old Krystal building and that officials from Cookout have said they hope to begin construction sometime in April. Harrison says Cookout still owns the land across from KFC and that he has been in talks with them about selling the land. According to Harrison, three other businesses that aren’t restaurants are interested in the land.
— Williamsburg City Hall will be closed Monday, Jan. 20 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Garbage services will not run Monday. Instead, city officials ask that you place your garbage out for collection the Friday morning beforehand.