With tight budgets in mind and one more successful year behind them, area law enforcement offices are looking forward to 2012.
At the Tiffin Police Department, Chief Dave LaGrange said he expects 2012 to be uneventful, much like 2011.
"With the budget, we'll maintain staffing," he said. "I don't see expanding into any new or better areas, at least not this year."
In 2011, the department was able to maintain services at a "good level," LaGrange said, even though staff shortages plagued the department.
"All in all, we had a good year despite staff shortages and the loss of the field services officer," he said.
The officer, Brian Feasel, retired and the department didn't hire a replacement. LaGrange said no other employees retired in 2011, but it is possible a couple of employees may retire this year.
LaGrange said there was a rise in break-ins and burglaries in 2011, but for the most part, Tiffin remained a community without much crime.
"There were no major trends except some burglaries," he said. "We have made some progress there and made some arrests."
LaGrange said a few burglary-related crimes are still being reported in the city, but an upside of 2011 was that officers at the Tiffin Police Department didn't suffer any major injuries.
Training has always been a priority for officers at the department, LaGrange said, and this year, the department will continue to maintain training.
"That's one area you really can't skimp on," he said. "As soon as you let down on training, you're just asking for trouble."
Just miles down the road at the Seneca County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Bill Eckelberry has many of the same expectations for 2012.
"Last year went very well," Eckelberry said. "Our goal for this year, with the budget pretty tight like it is, is to maintain the current staff level we have now."
The sheriff's office has 15 deputies, Eckelberry said. One deputy who left in 2011 to return to school was not replaced.
Typically, there are two or three deputies on duty at any given time, he said.
"It varies how many are on duty; we won't run the road with any less than two," he said.
This year, like years past, the sheriff's office received a traffic grant that allows extra deputies to be out on the road to enforce traffic laws and provide backup if needed.
Several overtime traffic enforcement details normally are conducted throughout the year with the aid of the grant, and one is set to begin this month.
Eckelberry said the sheriff's office also will be maintaining the medication take-back program initiated in 2011, which includes a permanent collection box in the lobby of the office.
"That's been doing very well," he said. "Having that collection box really gives people the opportunity to dispose of unneeded medication."
In the jail, maintaining the Immigration and Customs Enforcement program, which generated about $2.5 million in 2011, is a priority.
"Right now, counts are low but that's typical this time of year," Eckelberry said.
The jail also changed a contract with Correctional Healthcare Companies Inc. that brings a full-time registered nurse on staff and puts the facility in better compliance with ICE standards.
Just like the police department, the sheriff's office has seen an increase in burglaries and break-ins in 2011, but no major crimes were reported.
"Break-ins went up last year, but that's not just in Seneca County. Other counties have that issue," he said.
Arrests have been made, but deputies said they believe multiple groups are behind the crimes.
Eckelberry said deputies are investigating a white vehicle driven by a Hispanic male that seems to be in the area of many of the break-ins, and residents who see anything suspicious should call the sheriff's office.
"Everybody should lock everything up as best as they can and report anything suspicious right away," he said.
Many of the criminal cases relating to the break-ins and burglaries hit the Seneca County Prosecutor's Office in 2011, adding a significant increase to the number of indictments, according to Seneca County Prosecutor Derek DeVine.
"We ended up with a total of 233 cases in 2011," DeVine said.
A total of 195 indictments went through the prosecutor's office in 2010.
"That's a pretty significant uptick," he said. "There were a lot of property crimes, thefts, break-ins and burglaries. A lot of those come from people who have drug-related issues."
DeVine said robberies and felony domestic violence cases also made up some of the indictments, but luckily, the county didn't have any homicide cases.
"We had enough other serious stuff to make up for it," he said.
At the prosecutor's office, Assistant Prosecutors Greg Tapocsi, David Claus and Bryan Rannigan left in 2011 and Assistant Prosecutor Heather Jans joined the team.
Assistant Prosecutor Jim Davey had his last day Friday, DeVine said, all making room for three new assistant prosecutors enthusiastic to start this month.
They include Brian Boos, Jonathan Ketter and Zach Fowler.
"We have lots of changes in the prosecutor's office," DeVine said. "We're losing a lot of experience and knowledge."
DeVine also faces re-election this year and filed his petition last month in hopes of continuing his duties as prosecutor.
"I love my job," he said.