MENOMONIE — Almost a quarter of intoxicated driving stops in Dunn County in 2018 were due to drugged driving, according to the Dunn County sheriff’s office.
Out of 108 operating while intoxicated arrests in 2018, 26 were for driving under the influence of drugs, Sheriff Kevin Bygd wrote in the office’s annual report.
While overall intoxicated driving stops were down in 2018 — 108 compared with a five-year high of 185 in 2015 — the number of drug-related stops is a “serious issue,” Bygd said.
“I’ve got a deputy or two working days that are making just about more drugged driving arrests in broad daylight at 10 a.m. than the guy that’s working at 10 p.m.,” he said. “Our drugged driving keeps climbing every year.”
The sheriff’s office and several other departments gave annual reports to the Dunn County Board on Wednesday.
The sheriff’s office responded to about 5 percent fewer incidents in 2018 than in previous years: 13,245 in 2018, compared with 13,995 in 2017, according to the report.
Fewer traffic stops and prisoner transport incidents contributed to that decline, Bygd said.
“Our traffic stop numbers fluctuate yearly but with the number of major cases we were involved in, it does not surprise me that they were down for 2018,” he said.
Incident types higher in 2018 than in 2017 were: assault/battery, 17; criminal damage, 87; traffic hit-and-run, 71; warrant pickup and attempted pickup, 413; and disorderly conduct, 194, a five-year high.
Incident types the office saw fewer of in 2018 were: home burglary, 31; business burglary, 9; and juvenile disorderly incidents, 49.
The decrease in property crimes — burglaries and thefts — has Bygd hopeful that the rise in methamphetamine use is beginning to level off.
“It’s no secret in my world that property crimes go hand-in hand,” he said. “Burglaries are usually being committed by meth users. We’re seeing a decline over the past couple years in those.”
The sheriff’s office has responded to 3 percent more drug-related incidents in 2018 than in 2014, a jump from 117 to 220 incidents, according to the report.
The sheriff’s office confiscated the following in 2018:
• 0.4 pounds of amphetamines/methamphetamines.
• 67 pounds of marijuana, including 50 marijuana plants.
• 6 dosage units of narcotics.
• 3.7 grams of depressants, stimulants and other drugs.
• 109 grams of cocaine.
• 3.4 grams of heroin.
• 0.3 grams of LSD.
• 3 dosage units of morphine.
• 3 dosage units of opium.
The office is also discovering new forms of controlled substances. It recently intercepted 240 cartridges of THC oil shipped into Dunn County from California, Bygd said Wednesday. The street value of the cartridges was between $12,000 and $19,000.
The oil can be smoked in vape pens and claimed to be over 90% THC, the compound in cannabis that produces a high, according to a sheriff’s office Facebook post.