Police lights

Burnett County dispatch have been receiving more and more emergency calls with the amount of calls for firetrucks and emergency response almost doubling since February.

February is seen as the last normal month before the COVID-19 virus prompted state officials to sign a safer at home order which closed countless bars, restaurants and other businesses for almost two months.

Burnett County Sheriff Tracy Finch said she was surprised by the increase. She said in February there were 434 calls and 722 in June. These are just 911 calls and does not include all the other calls that come into the dispatch center.

“Especially with the pandemic it’s surprising that 911 calls have almost doubled,” Finch told the Public Safety committee last week. “I’m a little afraid if these numbers keep going up and up.”

Supervisor Gary Lundberg questioned if the calls were truly emergencies. Finch countered saying, “Yes, these are people in need of help from fire or another emergency.”

The conversation shifted to a potential spike of cases across the state over the Fourth of July weekend. Deputy Sheriff Jameson Wiltrout said the department along with Siren PD and other law enforcement agencies are preparing for upwards of 10,000 people coming to Siren for their parade.

Hostage situation

Finch also gave a brief update on the hostage situation that was handled in June in Danbury.

“There was a young man lying on the road,” Finch said. The 16-year-old male suspect was helped into the car and then “basically took over the car.”

Dispatch was able to keep the victim on the line, who was able to call 911 during the situation.

“The suspect said he had a gun and a knife,” Finch said.

When law enforcement arrived on the scene the suspect exited the vehicle and his hands were not in plain sight.

Lundberg said the guy should be lucky he was not shot and killed.

“He’s extremely lucky he did not get shot,” Finch concluded.

New K-9 update

Sheriff Deputy Bailey Mangen has been named the new K-9 handler.

Finch said the department’s second K-9 is set to arrive in mid-August with training starting shortly after that.