The drug take back bin is in the lobby of the newly-remodeled police station. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

Petersburg’s Police Department has gathered over 11,000 unused prescription medication and other pills since it opened up a collection box in the new police station lobby in late February.

That was one of the statistics from 2017 released by the department this week. The drug take back bin was opened February 22nd in the community of over 3000 people. As of mid-December the pills collected was 11,550. Residents have also turned in 13 epi pens, 70 ounces of drug liquids, 26 grams of creams and 162 inhalant doses.

Police chief Kelly Swihart was surprised by that level of use. “Just an incredible amount of unused medications that were turned in and I really wanted to give a shout out to our evidence technician Barb Beasley and Becky Turland from (Petersburg) Mental Health who are collecting those stats and disposing of the unneeded medications for us,” Swihart said. He noted some of the busier months for the collection box were later in 2017, so use by the public may be increasing.

As for other statistics, the department received a total of 3,833 calls last year. 497 of those were 911 calls. Borough police keep track of calls with a software system from a Utah company called Spillman Technologies.

Swihart thinks crime statistics last year kept pace with those from prior years. “This is the first full year that we’ve had Spillman as a record management system,” he explained. “We implemented it back in mid-2016 so we’ve refined the way we collect statistics a little bit but I think we’re tracking pretty much with what we have done in the past.”

There were over 3500 calls that were for the police, with 81 fire calls and 215 for emergency medical responders. The police say over 3400 of the calls are closed cases. The department had 95 drug related cases last year and had 75 jail bookings. 28 of the calls were determined to be unfounded. Borough police had 35 calls from outside of the old city limits.