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Sulphur Police Department ‘holding its own’

Last Modified: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 11:27 PM

By Natalie Stewart / American Press

The Sulphur Police Department is “holding its own” when it comes to solving crimes, and to continue its reputation it’s boosting the number of officers on the streets, a department spokesman said.

Mel Estess said the department is increasing its number of road officers by six and its number of reserve officers by two because the city is expecting an influx of people as local industries expand.

The department has 39 road officers and seven reserve officers, with road officers split into four shifts of about five officers each.

Estess said the department is hoping to beef up shifts by having six or seven on each.

He said the department is also working on organizing a “business watch,” similar to the Neighborhood Watch program.

“We will bring the businesses together and teach them what to look for, what suspicious activity is and help them create a network between themselves so that if something isn’t right they will be able to look out for each other,” Estess said.

“It’s just another proactive measure that we want to take. We will have business watch signs put up, like the Neighborhood Watch signs in some of our residential areas, to let prospective criminals know that they’re being watched and these businesses have each other’s backs.”

Estess said 100 percent of the city’s “major robberies” have been solved — including the Jan. 24 armed robbery of RadioShack on Cities Service Highway.

Since Jan. 1, the department has received 76 burglary reports, with five arrests made and “a lot more expected to follow,” Estess said.

“What needs to be kept in mind, though, is that one arrest for burglary can solve 10 to 15 cases,” he added. “One person could be responsible for a number of those reports that were filed.”

Twenty-seven vehicle burglary reports have been filed this year, with 11 arrests and 58 felony theft reports — theft of $500 or more — with 12 arrests.

“The (department) has been working extremely hard to provide the safest city possible for the citizens of Sulphur,” Estess said. “We have solved most of the high-priority crimes. There are very few unsolved major crimes.”

Estess said the department has also been “staying on top” of narcotics, with 62 reports filed and 60 arrests made.

“We’re putting a dent in narcotics,” he said. “The meth labs have changed from people cooking them in their homes to rolling meth labs, which are in vehicles, and now they’re using backpacks. We’re finding more and more people walking around with the making of a meth lab in a backpack.”

Estess said the biggest aid in staying on top of narcotics are tips from the community.

“People will call and report suspicious smells, like ammonia, and strange activity,” he said. “We encourage the community to contact us if they see anything out of the ordinary. We are happy to respond to any situation that seems a little off.”

Of the 234 reports received since Jan. 1, 100 arrests have been made, Estess said.

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