Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Highlights of today's Board of Police Commissioners meeting

Highlights of the Sept. 22, 2009, Board of Police Commissioners Meeting:

* City Auditor Gary White presented results of the Citizen Satisfaction Survey, in which satisfaction scores improved on every question related to police.

* Eric Bosch, director of the city’s Capital Improvements Management Office, reported that the new Metro Patrol Division should be ready for occupancy in April 2010. He also reported that he and police staff had met with architects and engineers to draw up site plans for the new South Patrol Division and Special Operations Division.

* Pearl Fain, Director of the Office of Community Complaints, noted that this month is the Office’s 40th anniversary.

* The Board of Police Commissioners passed a resolution in support of the COMBAT (Community-Backed Anti-drug Tax) renewal, which will be on the ballot Nov. 3, 2009.

* Major Wayne Stewart, commander of the Central Patrol Division, discussed recent crime issues along Armour Boulevard in Hyde Park. He said the Department is trying to use Crime Free Multi-Housing principles to bring crime down in the area, but it requires the cooperation of management of the several large apartment complexes in the area. He said the Department is working with a group involving the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association, and he has met with the Missouri Development Council in Jefferson City about the area. “This is beyond just a police issue,” Major Stewart said.

* The Narcotics and Vice Division’s monthly report showed that it has recovered 91 percent more methamphetamine than last year with 77 pounds seized through August 2009. It has seen a whopping 2,863-percent increase in marijuana seizures over 2008, with almost 77,000 pounds seized through August of this year.

* Deputy Chief Rachel Whipple reported that a new class of 30 recruits began the Police Academy yesterday. Their class is funded by the recent federal stimulus grant KCPD received.

* Captain Eric Winebrenner, Budget Unit Commander, presented the department’s proposed 2010-11 budget request, which will be submitted to the City. Capt. Winebrenner said, “This is the bare bones required to operate the police department at fully authorized staffing.” That staffing is 1,482 law enforcement positions and 695 civilian positions. The total budget request is for $228.9 million, a 7.83-percent increase over the current fiscal year. $189.4 million of that would be for the General Fund. The remaining balance comes mainly from the public safety sales tax, grants, department-generated revenues and the COMBAT tax. The proposed budget includes no pay or benefit increases. It does include a request for four full-time officers to process red-light camera violations because currently, four officers are being pulled off the street full time to do so. It also includes a request of $4 million for new police vehicles to replace the department’s high-mileage fleet. No police vehicles are being purchased in the current fiscal year.

* Jim Pyle, director of the Kansas City Police Retirement System, reported that KCPD’s retirement plans lost 25 percent of their assets in the recent economic downturn. That equated to a $200 million loss for the law enforcement plan and a $25 million loss for the civilian plan. Pyle said pensions and retirement plans all over America suffered similar losses. Because of those losses, Pyle said that there will be no cost of living increase for KCPD retirees next year, just the second time that has happened since 1978.

* The Board discussed a revision of the department’s Use of Force policy, and they agreed to take it up again at their next meeting.

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