Lander Police Department call volume rose last year due to ‘self-initiated activity’ by local officers, chief says

    Lander Police Department chief Scott Peters says an increase in “self-initiated activity” by local officers caused an uptick in numbers for the agency in 2022.

    “Our presence on the street … has really increased,” Peters told the Lander City Council during a regular meeting Tuesday. “(Officers) are out there, and they’re active.”

    Self-initiated officer activity rose by 37 percent in 2022 (6,598) compared to 2021 (4,807), Peters said.


    By contrast, he said calls from the public only increased by 6 percent in 2022 (4,739) compared to 2021 (4,462).


    Local officers also participated in more training hours in 2022 (1,521) compared to 2021 (1,076), Peters said, noting that the number was much lower in 2020 (708) – the year before he joined the agency as chief.

    “I made it a priority when I came in (to) have a highly trained, highly motivated, active police department,” he said, reminding the council that he asked for a $7,000 budget increase last year for training purposes.

    Peters said the additional trainings likely contributed to a decrease in use-of-force numbers in Lander.


    “Last year, out of 11,337 documented contacts (with the public) we only had 10 use-of-forces,” Peters said.

    For comparison, in 2021, out of 9,269 document public contacts, Peters said there were 21 use-of-force incidents.

    “I take a lot of pride in that (decrease),” Peters said. “It shows (our) professionalism and skill level.”


    He also attributed the low use-of-force numbers to the “dynamic” of the Lander community, however.

    “I’ve worked in places where you’d have that (many use-of-force incidents) in a weekend, just for people who wanted to fight you,” Peters said. “So, we’re doing good.”

    Code enforcement

    Peters commended Lander residents for their positive response to local code enforcement efforts, too.


    “We had a 98 percent compliance rate with folks (in 2022),” Peters said. “That’s unheard of, and that’s not on us – that’s on the public. When they’re notified, they take care of the issue.”

    Lander’s code enforcement officer took 587 calls in 2022 – up from 523 in 2021 – but Peters said the officer also distributed 525 violation notices last year, up from 276 in 2021.

    The 2022 notices included 232 for trailer parking violations, 217 for vehicle parking violations, and 76 for grass and lawn violations, Peters said.

    Traffic, parking

    The LPD logged 2,817 traffic stops in 2022, Peters said – up by almost 20 percent from 2021 and almost 30 percent from the “COVID year” of 2020.

    But despite the increase in traffic stops, Peters said arrests for driving under the influence fell last year, from 76 in 2021 to 66 in 2022.

    He hoped the statistic showed people were “taking heed” of local opportunities for free public transportation – and non-motorized travel options.

    “Lander’s not so big that you need to get behind the wheel,” Peters said. “Our town is small enough you can leave the keys (home and) walk across town. So hopefully that’s working.”

    Parking violations “doubled” last year, Peters continued, rising from 157 in 2021 to 327 in 2022.

    The LPD has “made it a point” to focus on parking in recent years, Peters said – “to some peoples’ dismay.”

    Other numbers

    The number of citations the LPD issued last year rose from 1,468 in 2020 to 1,686 in 2021 and 1,785 in 2022, Peters said.

    Warnings were down slightly in 2022 (1,032) compared to 2021 (1,119), according to Peters’ report, but both of those numbers represent a drastic increase from 2020 (487).

    There was also a “huge increase in warrants” in 2022 (235) compared to 2021 (157), Peters said, explaining that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many warrants “didn’t get filled” due to occupancy issues at local detention centers, resulting in a backlog.

    He said the increase in warrants “explains a lot of” the increase in custodial arrests recorded at the LPD in 2022 (444) compared to 2021 (339).

    To see the entire report, click here.


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