Parkersburg Police Handle Influx of Weekend Calls

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"Periodically in the summer months especially on these warm nights we have these influxes in calls," says Parkersburg Police Department Sergeant Greg Collins.

That was the case this past weekend. Officers answered 318 calls.

"It cuts down on all our proactive policing. When officers are busy answering calls they don't have anybody left to do patrols for people committing crimes. Such as checking houses, checking building, trying to find DUI's. So all the proactive stuff takes a back seat when we have a high volume of calls," says Sgt. Collins.

But the real problem was bar fights. Three at one bar on 7th Street and another on 19th Street Saturday night.

If fighting is a common occurrence at a bar the penalties can be severe.

"If we get into a situation where a bar has become a problem and we have repeated calls for service there, we will gather all our paperwork and we will create documents and forward that to the West Virginia ABC Association," says Sgt. Collins.

The Association then conducts its own investigation. Sometimes involving undercover work to decide penalties for bars in question.

"Because they license these businesses so they are a factor into whether these businesses continue to operate," says Sgt. Collins.

Bar fights can take a lot of man power and time to get under control because officers are usually outnumbered. In these situations officers have to answer the most important calls first.

"We really try to answer 100% of the calls, but at times we're up against it all the time and we're really trying to accomplish this. And we try to prioritize. Sometimes we don't get to calls that don't make the priority list. Given the amount of things that are going on and it's regrettable, but unavoidable," says Sgt. Collins.

Sgt. Collins does say the change to 10 hour shifts creates an overlap of officers during the "high crime" hours between 9 pm and 2 am. Making them better equipped to handle these situations safely.

We tried to reach bars where some of these fights took place, but none were available for comment.

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