"And it turned out the numbers for our felony arrests were up this past year," Williamson said during a break between cases recently.
In 2010, Logan County had 1,709 felony arrests, 3,570 (misdemeanor) criminal cases and 510 civil cases in magistrate court, compared to 2009 when there were 1,020 felony arrests, 4,116 misdemeanor arrests and 549 civil cases. While misdemeanor arrests were down by over 400 cases the felonies went up by over 600 cases.
Williamson said that many of the past years felony arrests were not actually committed by locals or the usual repeat offenders but were from a new breed of criminal that has become more and more familiar in the court system of Logan County — alleged drug dealers from Michigan and Ohio.
"There were quite a few felony arrests on people from out of state, particularly Ohio and Michigan this year," Williamson said. "We have had a lot of people in those other states who felt they could come here and make money in drug transactions and they took a gamble and lost."
He noted some elected official don't like to discuss the statistics, feeling that Logan might look worse on paper than neighboring counties in West Virginia and Kentucky which have the same amount of crime in the streets, but smaller numbers of cases in court.
"I think a lot of this can be chalked up to our local police agencies which are very effective and they do a good job of making arrests," Williamson said. "It is a good thing they are catching these people because otherwise we would really be overrun. We tend to get more arrests in this county because our police are doing their job especially when it comes to catching people on drug crimes."
Williamson said the drug scourge is probably responsible for 90 percent of the current crime problem from theft and overdoses to domestic violence incidents.
"That is our main problem and it affects everybody today," Williamson said.
The statistics speak for themselves compared to other counties over the past few years.
Logan County had 1,709 felony cases, 3,507 misdemeanor cases and 510 civil cases in 2010. In 2009 there were 1,020 felony arrests, 4,116 misdemeanor arrests and 549 civil cases. In 2008 Logan had 750 felony arrests and 4,722 misdemeanor arrests. In 2007 there were 1,203 felony arrests in Logan County, compared to 1,286 in 2006. There were 5,457 misdemeanor arrests in 2007 compared to 5,502 misdemeanor arrests in 2006.
Only four counties in this end of the state had higher felony arrest numbers than Logan County in 2010 - Cabell County with 1,809; Kanawha County with 3,385, Mercer County with 2,515 and Raleigh County with 1,866 felony arrests.
In Mingo County there were 660 felony arrests, 1,797 misdemeanor arrests and 267 civil cases in 2010. In 2009, Mingo County reported 736 felony arrests, 2,154 misdemeanor arrests and 293 civil cases. Mingo County had 759 felony arrests and 2,080 misdemeanor arrests in 2008. In 2007 Mingo County had 583 felony arrests and 2,269 misdemeanor arrests.
In Boone County there were 611 felony arrests, 2157 misdemeanor arrests and 297 civil cases in 2010. Boone County had 487 felony arrests and 2,080 misdemeanor arrests in 2009. In 2008 Boone County had 381 felony arrests and 2,099 misdemeanor arrests.
In Wyoming County there were 431 felony arrests, 1,202 misdemeanor arrests and 275 civil cases filed in 2010. In 2009, 573 felony arrests and 2,482 misdemeanor arrests were reported there. Wyoming County had 575 felony arrests in 2008 and 1,499 misdemeanor arrests. In 2007 Wyoming County had 420 felony arrests and 1,448 misdemeanor arrests.
In Lincoln County there were 332 felony arrests, 1,689 misdemeanor arrests and 191 civil cases in 2010. Lincoln County had 267 felony arrests and 1,836 misdemeanor arrests in 2009. Lincoln County had 304 felony arrests in 2008 and 2006 misdemeanor arrests. Lincoln County had 348 felony arrests and 1,751 misdemeanor arrests in 2007.
Kanawha County lead the pack with 3385 felony arrests, 12724 misdemeanor arrests and 3905 civil cases in 2010, compared to 3,079 felony arrests and 1,486 misdemeanor arrests in 2009. In 2008 Kanawha County had 3,908 felony arrests and 17,541 misdemeanor arrests. That number changed dramatically from 2006 totals of 15,266 felony arrests and 2,906 misdemeanors.
One local attorney noted that although Logan has a high arrest rate and a high number of cases to prepare for court, it gets shortchanged by the state in regards to the resources allocated to deal with them.
"We have a caseload rivaling bigger towns in the state, but we don't have the numbers of people to work on them that other areas with the same caseloads get. It's definitely unfair and a disparity," the attorney said.