After seeing a rise in the number of domestic violence and assault cases in 2022, Marion Police Chief Jay McDonald said his department is investigating solutions to help "lower the impact of these violent crimes on our community."
According to the Marion Police Department annual report for last year, domestic violence calls increased significantly from 2021 to 2022. There were 473 domestic violence calls in 2022, up 115 from the 2021 figure of 358 and 148 more than the 2020 total of 325. The 2022 total is the highest in the past decade, according to police department statistics.
The number of calls regarding assault jumped from 126 in 2021 to 182 in 2022, according to the report. There were 115 calls for assault in 2020 and 169 in 2019. The most recent figures are below the more than 200 calls for assault that Marion Police investigated annually from 2014 to 2016 (207 in 2014, 255 in 2015, 268 in 2016).
Calls regarding aggravated/felonious assault also increased in 2022, according to the police department report. There were 42 calls for aggravated/felonious assault last year, an increase of 15 over the 2021 total of 27. The 2021 figure was the lowest in the past decade.
Marion Police investigated three murders in 2022, resulting in the arrest of two suspects. Katlyn J. Cole, age 24, Marion, was the victim of a fatal shooting on April 10, 2022, outside a Sugar Street residence. The man accused of shooting her then shot himself and died a day later at a Columbus hospital.
Local resident Charles Feliciano was the victim of a fatal shooting on March 9, 2022, in a parking lot on London Street. The suspect in that case was arrested and is scheduled to go to trial in May of this year.
Seventeen-year-old Jamear Douglas was the victim of a fatal shooting on Aug. 20, 2022, following an altercation involving another Marion teenager. The suspect in that case was apprehended earlier this year after fleeing the community. He is in custody and scheduled to be in court this week.
Marion Police have investigated 20 murders in the city since 2014. The most reported in one year during that span was four in 2017. Three murders were investigated in 2018 and 2020, respectively.
The number of rapes investigated in the city increased in 2022 to 38, up 11 from the 2021 total of 27. There were 33 rape investigations in 2020 and 35 in 2019, according to police statistics.
Chief McDonald said "fatal drug overdoses continue to be a major issue for our community."
"At the time of this report being written, Marion County has 24 confirmed fatal drug overdoses (in 2022)," McDonald said. "That is below the 34 we had in 2021, but 17 autopsies are still pending and it is likely that our numbers will be higher than 2021 and be around the same as 2020 (42 fatal drug overdoses), which was an all-time high. We are working in partnership with MARMET, the Marion County Prosecutor, drug addiction service providers, and Marion General Hospital on ways to reduce this tragic number for our community."
Marion Police investigated 658 drug abuse cases in 2022, the highest total in nine years, and responded to 219 drug overdose calls, which was actually the lowest figure since 2017.
Property crimes in the city of Marion have decreased in recent years, according to police statistics. While the number of breaking and entering (63) and theft (496) cases investigated in 2022 were up from the 2021 totals, McDonald said those numbers are "well below the levels from the previous years." MPD investigated only seven reports of aggravated robbery/robbery in 2022, down from 23 in 2021.
McDonald said the "biggest internal challenge" the Marion Police Department is facing is a shortage of applicants for vacant police officer positions. He said it's an issue that law enforcement agencies nationwide are facing.
"Our numbers of people applying continued to be dramatically less than we saw even just a few years ago," McDonald said. "An increase in participation in job fairs, online posting, visiting Ohio police academies, and encouraging all our members to help us recruit helped enable the police department to still attract an acceptable number of applicants, but we must continue to do more to attract outstanding men and women to our agency."
McDonald said the local Explorer Post has been restarted and the Marion Police Department has officers teaching at the Marion Technical College law enforcement academy, where many of the department's applicants receive training.
"But more must be done," McDonald added.
Four MPD officers who began their police academy training in 2021 officially joined the department along with two other new officers in 2022. That offset the retirement of three veteran officers last year: Lt. Mike Radcliff, Lt. Mike Shade, and Officer Dave Dunaway.
K9 officer Lt. Six retired in 2022, but was replaced by K9 Officer Ranger this year.
To view the City of Marion's complete 2022 annual report, go to the city's website www.marionohio.us.
Email: email@example.com | Twitter: @AndrewACCarter
This article originally appeared on Marion Star: Marion Police: Domestic violence, assault cases increased in 2022