If 2016 had a theme for Mandan Police, it would be growth. 

Steady growth in recent years has brought an uptick in crime, said Lt. Pat Haug, pointing to an 18 percent increase in calls for service from 2015 to last year. Mandan Police also responded for months to protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline and recently trained in administering Narcan for opioid overdoses.

It's been busy.

"I think what's important to understand is Mandan has seen significant growth over the years," Haug said.

As sister cities, Bismarck and Mandan see much of the same activity, Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler said.

Drug offenses were up 43 percent last year, but have spiked all over the state, he said.

Mandan assaults increased 33 percent in 2016, with no clear reason why, though residents were likely reporting more, Haug said.

Mandan Police also added a domestic violence detective last year. Those cases are separate from assaults, Ziegler said.

Handle With Care, a pilot program in North Dakota pioneered by Mandan Police, is helping, according to Ziegler. Made possible by a grant partnered with the Abused Adult Resource Center, the program helps to notify schools whenever a child has had a trauma.

The program is a nice collaboration among the Mandan police, school district and social services, Ziegler said.

"It's a great program," he said. "It's not costing us any money. It's an email."

Police manpower is at 37 sworn, with two openings, Haug reported.

During the department's August-to-February response to protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Mandan's manpower took a bit of a hit. The department dedicated at least three officers per day to law enforcement at the protests. At times, 10 to 15 officers would respond to emergency callouts, Ziegler said. 

The department was also down five officers then.

"Manpower-wise, on the street, every day we were running short," Haug said. 

That likely affected traffic numbers, he also said.

"We on some days ran minimal shift numbers and that’s going to affect how many cars we stop, how many tickets we write. So there’s less officers on the street," he said. "DUIs are down. We think that may play a part in it on why. We just weren’t out as much."

As for 2017, Haug said the year is on track to be equal or higher to 2016. 

More recently, Mandan officers trained in on Narcan, the nasal form of Naloxone, an overdose prevention drug for opioids. Mandan sees about two or three overdoses a month, Haug said.

"We're preparing for those things," Ziegler said.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.