Arrest Information

Overview


This information was compiled to provide information on arrests made by the Morgantown Police Department (MPD) during the year January 1st, 2018 through December 31st, 2019. All statistics provided below are analyzed regularly to assist decision makers in making informed choices in public safety allocations. The MPD encourages readers to review the information and contact us at epowell@morgantonwv.gov, or by phone at 304-284-7522 with any questions. 

Applicable Policies


MPD Policy 311 on Body Cameras.
MPD Policy 113 on Racial Profiling.

Decision to Arrest


The Morgantown Police Department, and most municipal law enforcement agencies, are largely responsive to calls for service seeking assistance. Where officers engage in self-initiated activity, such as a traffic stop, the race, gender or other demographic of the citizen is often unknown to the officer until he/she approaches the vehicle. The reason for police-citizen encounters is predominantly due to the actions of the citizen, not the police officer.

  • Victims of crime call the police, and have input into the outcome of their case. If probable cause exists for an arrest, the victim generally can choose for the police to make an arrest, or they can decline prosecution. This removes the police officer from the decision-making process.
  • In some cases, such as those related to domestic violence or violations of a Domestic Violence Protective Order, West Virginia General Statutes require an arrest. This removes the police officer from the decision-making process.
The Morgantown Police Department, and all law enforcement agencies, are commanded by Judicial Order to serve warrants for arrest issued by the court system. Warrants are issued by a judicial official (Magistrate or Judge) based upon probable cause. Officers often serve warrants on residents of a particular community when the actual crime occurred in another jurisdiction, which may be in another municipality, county, or even another state. The only nexus to Morgantown may be the last known, residential address. This removes the police officer from the decision-making process. 
Arrest data from law enforcement agencies is reported to the State of West Virginia, and from there to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in compliance with and following the guidelines of the Uniform Crime Reporting System (UCR). This system, initiated in 1930, is widely viewed by the federal government and other criminal justice system entities as providing an incomplete view of crime in the United States. As a result, the FBI developed the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and is transitioning all agencies to reporting in this format. Data from the two systems are difficult to compare.

Calls for Service


The Morgantown Police Department responded to 49,288 calls for service and made 1,001 arrests between January 1 and December 31, 2019. This equates to an officer making an arrest when responding to a call for service 2% of the time. Often and where possible, officers incorporate the use of counseling, warning, negotiating, incorporating other community resources, or working with diversion programs to remedy situations that they encounter rather than make an arrest.

In 2018, the MPD responded to 61,682 Calls for Service and made 1,158 arrests. This equates to an officer making an arrest when responding to a call for service 1.8% of the time. 

Arrests


Upon the arrest of an individual, the law enforcement officer must bring the defendant before a judicial official and present their probable cause for the arrest in order to formally charge the defendant. Thus, an independent judiciary review occurs of any arrest to determine its appropriateness under applicable Constitutional and State law.

2019 Arrest Demographics


Of the 1001 arrests made in 2019, Caucasians represented 805, African Americans represented 187, Asian represented 3, and other or unknown represented 6.

2018 Arrest Demographics


Of the 1,158 arrests that occurred between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018, Caucasians represented 906, African Americans represented 227, Asian represented 7, other racial groups and undetermined racial groups represented 18. The undetermined race category is utilized when the subject of an arrest refuses to provide the officer with their racial information.