Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Highlights of Aug. 25 Board of Police Commissioners meeting

* Council member Cathy Jolly, chair of the Public Safety and Neighborhoods Committee, said she was trying to pass a city ordinance for a Minor in Possession (MIP) by Consumption. At present, officers cannot ticket minors for possessing alcohol unless it is physically in the minor’s possession. The ordinance would make the minor’s body a container and allow for greater treatment of minors abusing alcohol.

* Eric Bosch, director of the Capital Improvements Management Office, said construction of the new Metro Patrol Division is running on schedule. A web cam is tracking the progress and can be seen here:

* Major David Zimmerman, commander of the Fiscal Division, reported that Kansas City Police received another grant for $2.55 million from the U.S. Department of Justice through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. He cautioned that this is one-time money, and the department may be facing at least a $6 million shortfall in the next fiscal year. He said he anticipates ending this year with 134 vacant positions – 72 law enforcement and 62 civilian.

* Chief James Corwin reported he met with Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders and City Manager Wayne Cauthen regarding the regional jail project, and the meeting was productive. He said a space originally developed for the department in the 1980s appears to still be suitable with a little retrofitting. It would be more space than the current detention area on the eighth floor of police headquarters. Board President Mark Thompson asked whether it would save the department money from its current detention operation. Chief Corwin said a lease price is still in negotiation.

* Deputy Chief Cy Ritter reported that overall Part 1 crime from June 28-July 25, 2009 was down 13 percent compared to the same time period in 2008. He said the city had 80 homicides so far this year, which police have been fighting with investigations of retaliation and gangs.

* Nearly a quarter of Kansas City’s 44 motor vehicle fatalities to date this year have involved motorcycles, DC Ritter reported, including four of July’s seven fatalities. He said many of the victims of those crashes and motorcyclists ticketed by police do not have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s licenses, indicating they are not properly trained to operate one.

* Four officers from the Special Operations Division have been pulled off the street to review red-light camera violations on a full-time basis. DC Ritter said the 30 cameras are generating roughly 600 violations a day for officers to review, and they have a backlog of 6,300. DC Ritter said he thinks violations will go down in the future as drivers adjust to the presence of the cameras. Board members said they would like the city to fund additional officer positions so existing officers could stay on the street.

* Major Jan Zimmerman, commander of the Narcotics and Vice Division, reported on the positive results of Operation BLING. More information is available in this
previous post.

* The Board approved a new policy that would require adult missing-person reports to be taken in person instead of over the phone and that eliminates any sort of time limit on taking the report if the case fits certain parameters. Those parameters include if the missing adult has life-threatening physical ailments, mental health problems, dementia, or a strong indication of foul play is suspected or if there is no logical reason for the disappearance.

* Major David Zimmerman reported how highly KCPD was ranked in the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Hiring Grant process. More information about that is

* Director Rick Brisbin announced the creation of a new bureau: the Professional Development and Research Bureau. The bureau now includes the Kansas City Regional Police Academy (Basic and Professional training units), the Planning and Research Division and the remaining work of the Blueprint for the Future project. Director Brisbin is leading the bureau.

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