Burglaries Up In Star Valley, Police Service Calls Down

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Calls for police service have decreased by a small amount for Star Valley in the three months since the Payson Police Department began providing services to the small community.

In late June, Star Valley authorities signed a contract with the Town of Payson to use its police services for $100,000 a year starting July 1.

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The Payson Town Council unanimously voted in favor of providing law enforcement to the small community, five miles east of Payson.

Calls for service in Star Valley, though, have decreased every month since July, according to police records. Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner said that in July there were 285 calls with 183 of them being for preventive patrols. In August, there were 174 total calls with 114 being for preventive patrols, while in September there were 140 calls with 81 being for prevention.

Figures for October have yet to be compiled.

Gartner said the reason for the decreased calls is that activity involving the police usually increases in the summer months.

In July, there were three arrests in Star Valley; two arrests, one that was a child, in August; and three arrests in September, one, which also was a child.

There is one current issue that the PPD is trying to get a handle on.

Payson Police Commander Don Engler said there is no question that there is a current burglary problem in Star Valley. Mike Horton, a Star Valley businessman, said his place has been burglarized 14 times. Horton said if a fence is cut at his business, he usually does not notify the police. Some other Star Valley businesses that have recently been burglarized are the Moose Lodge, Star Valley Lodge, Star Valley RV Park and Kelly's Bar.

Engler said there appears to be a nighttime burglar or burglars. He said the police department has not yet made any arrests, but is looking at solutions.

"We have got some things under way to stop it," he said.

Payson Police Officer Steve Montgomery said the police department is in Star Valley a lot. He said there were recently three burglaries in one day, and he spent a good portion of the morning at the RV park that was burglarized.

"We are out here every day," he said.

Gartner said it is hard to gauge the impact of adding Star Valley to its patrols because it is the first year of covering the small community.

Gartner said there were many complaints from Paysonites when the council first approved the $100,000 contract, but added he had not heard many complaints lately. The police chief said if a Payson police officer is responding to a call in Star Valley, the response time for a call in Payson will be extended by several minutes.

He added there is a concern that if something significant were to happen in Star Valley there would not be enough officers to handle a significant event in Payson or vice versa if they were to occur at the same time.

Gartner said the police department, as it now does, can call out to other officers for help by extending police officer shifts, which usually involves paying overtime.

He said it is hard to determine if the overtime officers are accruing is a result of adding Star Valley to their patrol beats.

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