Issues faced by APD include gang rivalries, increase in calls, decrease in applicants

Police Chief Vince Emrick addresses Adrian city commissioners at a work session before their Aug. 3 meeting.

Police Chief Vince Emrick addresses Adrian city commissioners at a work session before their Aug. 3 meeting.

Calls to the Adrian Police Department have risen dramatically during the past few years, police chief Vince Emrick told city commissioners during a work session before Monday’s commission meeting.

Emrick showed commissioners a graph of how many calls for service the department has received each year since 2012, with estimates for 2015 based on call volume so far:

Year Calls for service
2012 10,599
2013 12,591
2014 17,049
2015  19,477 (estimate)

“As you can see, we’ve had a steady rise since 2012,” Emrick said.

Part of the difference from 2012 to 2013 could be attributable to a better record-keeping system implemented at that time, but the number has continued to rise since then, he said.

Emrick updated the commission on several recent incidents, including the Church Street shooting in July and the drug raids that came immediately before it. He said those incidents involved two rival criminal groups.

Sometimes, Emrick said, rivalries between people with different gang affiliations lead to problems expanding as fellow gang members from other cities get involved in local disputes.

“We’ll have a core group of local citizens and they will have ties from outside,” he said.

The Adrian Police Department has collaborated with other agencies to address the problem, and the FBI has helped police map out the relationships between the groups. The two active units in Adrian are the Gangster Disciples and Latin Counts, he said.

Mayor Jim Berryman asked Emrick if the presence of Gus Harrison Correctional Facility contributes to crime in Adrian, and Emrick said he didn’t think so. However, he said, because Adrian is the county seat, it is also the home to probation and parole offices, plus halfway houses and work-release facilities.

“For convenience’s sake, a number of people will move into town just because those resources are here,” he said.

Emrick also discussed the effect of social media on law enforcement. Although it can lead to rumors spreading quickly, it can also be a useful tool for gathering information: “We basically post the gist of what’s happening, and within minutes, we have calls, we have names,” he said.

Berryman said Adrian’s police force is the sixth-lowest paid in Lenawee County, and asked Emrick if recruitment is difficult. Emrick said there are definitely fewer applicants for positions. When he joined the APD over a decade ago, he said, there were about 300 applicants for three open positions. More recently, he said, the APD received three applications for two vacancies.

City administrator Shane Horn said that’s an issue the city will have to confront.

“We can’t keep talking about it. We’ve got to do something about it,” he said.