Ottawa police recently realized drug arrest statistics they reported did not rise as believed.
Last month, The Times reported numbers police supplied showing a 218-percent increase — 74 to 235 — in drug arrests between 2008 and 2009.
However, Chief Brian Zeilmann since found a computer software problem incorrectly counted such arrests.
In reality, a manual count showed drug arrests dropped 10 percent, from 263 to 235.
However, Zeilmann pointed out most of the drop was due to fewer drug arrests by patrol officers, as opposed to the department's two drug detectives.
In 2008, the then one drug detectivemade approximately 26 drug-related arrests from the cases he investigated.
In 2009, a second drug detective was moved from the state police drug task force back to the department, with the two detectives making approximately 63 arrests — an increase of 142 percent.
Adding the arrests made by the second detective while he was assigned to the task force in 2008 — to get a comparison of two detectives working separately versus the two of them working together — showed a 58 percent increase.
Zeilmann noted there can be wide fluctuations in the number of drug arrests by patrol officers because of the nature of their duties.
Some drug arrests often are luck of the draw, rather than the result of investigation.
Further clouding the matter, the detectives' investigation might lead to an arrest warrant that patrol officers execute, with the drug arrest counting as theirs rather than the detectives' tally.
Also among the revised statistics were numbers showing felony drug arrests increased 45 percent from 76 to 110, compared to less serious misdemeanor drug arrests.
Zeilmann noted felony arrests usually are associated with drug dealers rather than drug users.
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