Crimes of any nature are never taken lightly by the police in the Ohio Valley, and when those crimes involve guns or any other lethal weapons they must act with the utmost tact.
The cost and the manpower associated with investigating crimes such as the incident of shots fired in downtown Wheeling over the weekend can lead to other problems and the draining of significant resources.
“Anytime you have what I describe as critical incidents, and we’ve had several, that’s the reason you have to throw a lot of resources and it does cost a lot of money,” Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said.
Schwertfeger said that calls of any nature can never be taken lightly and calls involving shots fired require additional resources, such as calling in other agencies.
“Anytime a gun is involved or reported in the initial call to 911, especially when in today’s world, you really have to have a tactical approach and a rapid response,” Schwertfeger said.
A portion of Downtown Wheeling was on lockdown Sunday, as a number of agencies and officers combed through the area looking for the shooter, pulling officers away from their duties in other parts of the city leaving those areas vulnerable to crime.
“You find out that it’s not an actual active shooter or something like that and then you end up draining at least an hour trying to search for and figure out what you had,” Schwertfeger said.
The cost incurred by the Wheeling Police Department may have been minimal, as they only used officers who were on duty, but tax payers could be hit with some significant fees for other agencies to investigate.
“Depending on the numbers, you’re looking at anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 dollars depending on how long the incident and how many people you need,” Schwertfeger said.
It’s not uncommon for judges to order guilty parties to pay restitution to cover costs associated with wages paid to agency responding to what turn out to be relatively insignificant crimes.