The Dayton Police Department [DPD] released arrest and citation statistics for 2019 this week, and officials with the department said they saw a spike in driving under the influence arrests compared to 2018.

“Our DUIs saw about an increase over 2018,” DPD Officer Eric Ewton said. “We also saw an increase in drug arrests from 2018.”

Ewton said that there were 67 arrests for DUIs in 2019, compared to only 36 in 2018, and there were 190 drug arrests in 2019, compared to 126 in 2018.

Figures released by the department show that Dayton police responded to nearly the same number of wrecks in 2019 — 454 — as they did in 2018 — 450.

“Our wrecks stayed about the same,” Ewton said. “Those are decent numbers, especially since the traffic numbers on Highway 27 can reach about 30,000 any given day.”

Dayton Police Department Chief Chris Sneed those increases in arrests, particularly arrests for drug-related offenses, are due in part to shifting some of the department’s focus to the drug problem.

“We’ve put some additional focus on narcotics, and it’s produced results,” Sneed said. “It’s the same with DUIs; we’ve been pretty aggressive with those as well.”

Sneed said those enforcement efforts also produced a 27 percent increase in arrests for public intoxications in 2019.

Looking ahead to 2020, Sneed said that now that a new hands-free cell phone law has been in place for several months, the department will soon be keeping an eye out for drivers using their phones in their vehicle.

“We’re aggressively going to be doing a hands-free campaign,” Sneed said. “We’ll be looking out for that.”

Sneed credited the officers and investigators with the department, who he estimates have nearly 250 years of combined law enforcement experience.

“We’ve got a lot of experience here. There’s not a lot of turnover,” Sneed said. “Retention is good, and we keep our experienced officers. Everyone does an amazing job.”