Salida Police Department reported a record 847 calls in August.

That is a 54 percent increase over the number of calls in August of 2019 Salida Police Chief Russ Johnson said.

The department also recorded a heavier than normal load of 720 calls for July.

“For July and August to have over 1,500 calls is crazy,” Johnson said. “August was an incredibly busy month.”

The increase has been across every single category of incidents handled by the police department, but also includes 911 calls made by mistake and incidents where no one is present when police respond.

Those calls still have to be checked out, Johnson said.

The department prioritizes calls, so a call for an active crime of violence will take precedence over other kinds of calls.

For calls of a lower priority, therefore, Johnson said there may be a slight delay in response time due to volume.

Johnson asks the public to be patient if the response time is longer than they are used to.

He said he didn’t know why there have been so many more calls this summer, but speculated that a combination of political unrest across the nation, unrest due to COVID-19 and a lot of people in town recently may have contributed to the increase.

Johnson said there has also been an uptick in the number of vandalism cases in town.

Salida police are still following up on the vandalism of yard signs and pride flags in the area as well as several “mask up” signs and sandwich boards in the downtown area.

Johnson said they’ve also had a few cases of vandalism of cars using political stickers.

“The unrest is causing people to make bad choices and act out in ways we normally don’t see,” Johnson said.

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