Property, drug crimes down in 2023 in Hastings


The Hastings Police Department responded to 22,685 calls for service and had an average response time of 5.69 minutes, according to its annual report released last week.
Hastings Police Chief David Wilske complimented his staff for their professionalism as they serve the community.
“I could not be prouder of the team’s efforts this year, and although this report highlights a number of accomplishments, please understand that your officers and support staff show up every day ready to respond to community emergencies and take steps to keep our community safe,” said Wilske.
The HPD prides itself on community outreach.
“Hastings PD had the opportunity to participate in numerous community events again this year and with the revitalization of downtown, events continue to grow in popularity. Staff were involved in HPD’s Police Week Open House, Rec+Art+Police events, the Fourth of July Parade, Rivertown Days, Rivertown Live, Halloween event at Hastings High School and Gobble Gait to name a few. In addition, there were several community speaking events throughout the year that assisted in getting the message out to the public on the dangers of Fentanyl and other illicit drugs,” said Wilske.
The department’s School Resource Officer and Community Engagement Officer roles make a difference in the community.
“Officer Georgeann Freeman-Denn was moved to the School Resource Officer position after Officer Jake Willers completed his three-year term and returned to patrol. Officer Willers did an outstanding job in the SRO position and Officer Freeman hit the ground running, making a positive impact,” he said. “Officer Whitney Rinowski continued to hit it out of the park in her Community Engagement Officer role, and the police department outreach is stronger than ever.”
He said the department worked to revitalize its Police Reserve Program, which support department initiatives. The department also actively is seeking grant funding to help in its efforts.
“The Hastings Police Department continues to search for grant opportunities to not only be fiscally responsible but also strengthen our ability to maintain safe events,” said Wilske. “This year we applied for Pitagone Barriers through the Urban Area Security Initiative and were selected to receive this grant.”
The $107,339 grant is used to secure large-scale events that require road closures.
“Members of the community should see these in use this summer,” said Wilske. “We were also approved to purchase a new speed trailer and our hope is that we can receive delivery by summer 2024. The speed trailers are in high demand in our community, and we had to retire one trailer this past year due to ongoing issues.”
He thanked Hastings’ residents.
“The support of this community has been nothing short of astounding,” he said.
The HPD has 31 sworn full-time officers, six full-time civilian employees and two civilian part-time employees. The department’s budget in 2023 was $6,353,303. Of that, 80 percent ($5,088,794) was for salary and benefits, 17 percent ($1,102,371) went to operations and debt and 3 percent ($162,138) went for purchasing vehicles.
Statistically, in a service area of 23,192 people there were:
•22,685 calls for service.
•No homicides.
•1,155 medical calls.
•Three robberies.
•429 Animal complaints.
•28 burglaries.
•766 citations issues.
•184 gun permits processed.
•343 arrests.
Top calls for service to the Hastings Police were:
•Suspicious activity – 1,210 calls.
•Medical – 1,155.
•Civic/public assist – 823.
•Alarm calls – 649.
•Check welfare – 641.
•Disorderly/disturbing the peace/fight – 586.
•Animal call – 429.
Department officers made 2,688 traffic stops and issued 766 citations.
Top citation violations in 2023 were for:
•Parking – 102.
•Driving after revocations/suspension/cancellation – 97.
•Expired registration – 77.
•Driving while impaired/under influence – 73.
•Disorderly conduct – 63.
•Speeding – 54.
•Assault/domestic assault – 52.
•Failure to stop/obey traffic control signal or stop sign – 52.
A total of 173 state reportable traffic accidents were reported to police. Of those, 140 had property damage reported, 10 involved minor injuries, one involved a serious injury and 22 reported possible injury. There were no fatalities.
The age of drivers in accidents were primarily between the ages of 20-39 (111) and over 65 (52). Most accidents were reported to occur on Wednesdays.
Crash data doesn’t include those reported to the Minnesota State Patrol.
Crimes that must be reported to the National Incident-Based Reporting System from the HPD, break down as follows:
Crimes Against Person
•Nine rapes were reported, compared to five in 2022. There were 14 complaints of fondling, compared to 13 the prior year.
•There were 22 aggravated assaults, down from 24 in 2022, and there were 69 simple assault complaints, down from 75 the prior year.
There were 25 intimidation complaints, up from 18 in 2022.
Property Crimes
Total property crimes reported to the Hastings Police Department were down 12 percent from 2022 to 2023. There were a total of 513 property crimes in 2023, down from 583. However, shoplifting complaints spiked to 64 in 2023, from 42 the year prior.
Crimes Against Society
Drug/narcotic violations dropped to 42 in 2023, compared to 93 in 2022, and there were just two drug equipment violations in 2023, compared to 32 in 2022.
There were 13 weapon law violations, down three from 2022.
In other cases, there were 192 driving under the influence, down from 232 in 2022. Disorderly conduct complaints were up to 54, from 34 the year prior.
Cases generated within the HPD resulted in 125 criminal complaints issued through the Dakota County Attorney’s office and 102 issued through the Hastings City Attorney office. That compares to 98 through Dakota County and 176 through the city attorney in 2022.
Of arrest offenses, 165 were felonies, 188 were ross misdemeanors and 419 with misdemeanors or petty misdemeanors in 2023.
The department investigated three police misconduct cases, and none of the complaints were substantiated.