Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Highlights from yesterday's Board of Police Commissioners meeting

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

• Capt. Rich Lockhart presented the department’s new web site, which will go live Jan. 4, 2010.

• Deputy Chief Cy Ritter reported that there have been 64 traffic fatalities in Kansas City this year compared to 58 at this date in 2008. He noted two disturbing trends:
- The number of passengers in vehicles killed this year is up 80 percent from last year.
- Motorcycle fatalities have increased 63 percent over 2008.

• As of Monday, Dec. 21, D.C. Ritter said police had eliminated the backlog of red light camera violations waiting to be reviewed. At one time, thousands were in queue. Four officers were pulled out of the Traffic Enforcement Unit to review the violations full time. Now that they’re caught up, residents who got violations from the cameras should receive their tickets in the mail much more quickly.

• After nearly two years of work to report crime statistics more accurately, Major Christine Laughlin announced that the State of Missouri has certified KCPD as NIBRS (National Incident-Based Reporting System) Compliant. Kansas City is the first large city in Missouri to achieve this certification. The State has reviewed the department’s last three months of data in the new system and declared it 100 percent accurate.

• Deputy Chief Rachel Whipple explained the work of a recent committee to reassign civilians to fill critical positions like 911 calltakers, report input control and station desk clerks left vacant by a hiring freeze. She said no one took a pay cut or lost their job, but several civilians were transferred, and others will have to take on the duties of two jobs.

• Deputy Chief Darryl Forte said that the department continues to negotiate with the City and Jackson County regarding a regional jail. He said the space in which the entities would like KCPD to move their detention operations lacks the square footage for four interrogation rooms. He said that was a requirement that is not negotiable for the department. KCPD also has yet to be quoted a price on leasing the space, he said. D.C. Forte said the space would only be a temporary location as part of a five-year plan to develop a new, regional jail, and commissioners questioned why the department would put in so much work and money to move detention operations to a short-term location. Chief James Corwin said if detention moves out of Police Headquarters, they need to go to a place that is designed to handle the scope of the operation. The KCPD Detention Unit books and processes 40,000 inmates annually.

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