Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Three-day operation targets violent areas to find murder, violent crime suspects

An effort led by Kansas City Police put more than 200 law enforcement officers in the most violent areas of the city for three days to attack violent crime.

Running from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, this year’s violent crime initiative follows up and expands on the success of last year’s initiative, which took place in December 2008 and resulted in the arrest of nearly 100 of the city’s most violent criminals, including homicide suspects. This year, KCPD and Independence Police officers, as well as agents from six federal agencies, are targeting 250 addresses in four parts of Kansas City and Independence. These addresses were selected based on homicides, drive-by shootings, aggravated assaults, police calls for service that are violent in nature, intelligence and information from district patrol officers. The four target areas in Kansas City comprise 4 percent of the city’s land area but have been responsible for 48 percent of the city’s homicides and 47 percent of its drive-by shootings in 2009.

This year’s initiative will be conducted in two parts. The first part will took place Tuesday and Wednesday as officers executed 35 search warrants and 140 arrest warrants. The results of this phase were announced at a press conference this afternoon, and my comments from the conference are below. The second phase will take place Thursday and involve 200-plus officers going door-to-door in many neighborhoods to gather more information about three unsolved homicide cases.

Here are my comments from today's press conference, including totals from the initiative:

Thank you for coming. We are here today to tell you about the results of an intensive two-day operation to find some of the most violent criminals in Kansas City.

This operation was the result of months of work on the part of our Narcotics and Vice Division and our federal partners. It builds on the success of a similar operation we conducted last December, which resulted in the arrest of more than 100 people with extensive criminal histories.

Beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday, officers and detectives set out to serve 35 search warrants and arrest 140 people, 18 of whom were wanted for questioning in homicides.

At the same time, detectives with the Vice Section have been running decoy operations to arrest prostitutes, many of which have information about violent crimes.

As of 3:30 p.m. today, our officers have arrested 81 people on new charges. An additional 209 warrants on existing charges were cleared.

In the course of this operation, more than 200 investigators from KCPD, Independence Police and six federal agencies have gone to 250 addresses in the most violent areas of the city.

Using analysis of homicides, aggravated assaults, drive-by shootings, 911 calls, information from patrol officers and intelligence, we selected four areas to target. The four target areas comprise 4 percent of the city’s land area but have been responsible for 48 percent of the city’s homicides and 47 percent of its drive-by shootings this year.

Several incidents during the course of this operation confirmed we are focusing on the right places. While speaking with residents in the 3900 block of Garfield, officers heard gunshots just down the street. They found the car, pulled it over, and found a 16-year-old with an SKS assault rifle. The teen was taken into custody, and the gun was recovered.

At another location in the 3600 block of Prospect, officers were interviewing a woman wanted on some warrants when she received a call from her daughter. The daughter was just down the street and called her mother to ask for help because her boyfriend was assaulting her. Two officers stayed with the mother while the rest ran down the street to find the man actively beating the woman. They arrested him right there, and despite her warrants, the mother told officers she was very grateful for how they helped her family.

Many good people live in these crime-ridden neighborhoods – people who just want the violence to stop. We encountered many of them during this operation. One told us he had witnessed a shooting and gave detectives very valuable information. Another flagged down officers yesterday to tell them his neighbor down the block had a gun. The man turned out to be a convicted felon who is banned from possessing firearms. And neighbors in an apartment complex in the 3300 block of Indiana told officers how happy they were to see a party house shut down. The officers served a warrant there and found a vacant apartment with 14 cases of beer, 39 bottles of liquor, 14 bottles of wine and several cans of shaving cream inside.

Those neighbors and so many others are eager to take back their neighborhoods, and Kansas City Missouri Police and our partners are doing everything we can to help them. But we need their cooperation now more than ever.

Although this phase of the operation is over, another phase will commence tomorrow morning. It will involve those same 200 officers fanning out across the city to knock on doors to seek information in three unsolved homicide cases. These are cases that homicide detectives selected because they think more neighborhood canvasses could yield vital information.

I want to report to you some of the quantitative results of this violent crime initiative from the past two days, much of which you’ll see on these tables beside me. Some guns recovered aren’t here because they are being tested for DNA. The rest of these will be traced immediately through our new Illegal Firearms Squad to determine whether they are stolen or connected to other crimes.

As of 3:30 p.m. today:

- We’ve conducted 321 consensual searches. There have been no major incidents or injuries.
- We’ve cleared 209 arrest warrants and arrested more than 81 people.
- Approximately $94,109 in street-value narcotics were recovered, as well as $4,071 in U.S. currency.
- We recovered 32 illegal firearms, including a 13-inch shot gun and numerous assault rifles.
- We’ve served 34 search warrants.

Most importantly, the arrests made during this operation have led to much more information in violent crime cases.

Before we conclude, I want to recognize the leaders of the agencies who have made this operation possible: Special Agent in Charge Brian Truchon of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Supervisor Rich Kight of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Acting Special Agent in Charge Gilbert Trill of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Marshal Mauri Sheer of the United States Marshals Service; Assistant Inspector in Charge Tom Noyes of the United States Postal Inspection Service; Acting Special Agent in Charge Dave Mizell of the Drug Enforcement Agency; Chief Tom Dailey of the Independence Police Department, Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Harrell of the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul Becker and Gregg Coonrod of the United States Attorney’s Office.

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