Thursday, December 30, 2010

Drive carefully in the new year

While the number of homicides in Kansas City continues to be very disturbing (we're at 106 this year compared to 110 in 2009 and 126 in 2008), another statistic gets far less press but is equally concerning: the 68 people who have died in fatality crashes in Kansas City this year. That's three more people than died in crashes in 2009, despite intensive efforts by police to stop this trend (DUI and driver's license checkpoints, targeting revoked drivers and much more) and despite the nation overall having the lowest number of traffic deaths since 1954.

An interesting pattern of KC's 2010 traffic fatalities also has emerged: that of a single driver alone in the car losing control of his or her vehicle and crashing. This is the first discernible traffic death pattern we've had since 2008, when we had a large number of motorcycle crashes. Very few of these deaths of single drivers are related to road conditions. Most are the result of impaired or distracted drivers. Due to toxicology tests, it's relatively easier for police to determine whether a driver was drunk or high at the time of the crash. It's harder to figure out if the driver was talking or texting on a cell phone. For your safety and others, please don't do either of these things.

The number of people killed homicides in Kansas City has fallen, but the number of people killed in car crashes is on the rise. Please drive safely this New Year's Eve and into the New Year, and don't become a statistic.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Police stop prolific Northland thief

Last week, a man broke into his neighbor’s home at 55th and North Woodland. He knocked on the door, and when a developmentally disabled teenager answered it, he pushed his way inside and stole a laptop computer. He left, then came back and stole more. Then, he started making threatening calls to the victims. On Dec. 21, police caught up with the man they believe to be the theft suspect, 32-year-old Brandon Seys, but he refused to stop for officers. They pursued him, but Seys eluded them and drove through a fence at Davidson Elementary School. Realizing Seys could be a serious danger to the public, police called off the pursuit. But they later found his truck outside his girlfriend’s house at Barry Road and Evanston. They obtained a search warrant for the property and found a large stash of stolen goods.

The Shoal Creek Patrol Division’s property room now is full of stolen items – many power tools and pieces of construction equipment, but also a lawnmower, laptop computers, purses, cell phones, even a child’s ceramic bank with change inside. Police believe Seys was stealing from cars, homes and retail stores. Detectives have identified several of the victims and are continuing to do so. They’re coming from all over the city. Detectives also conducted a residence check at Seys’ parents’ home and recovered the laptop stolen from his neighbors and returned it to them.

Seys has been charged with burglary in Clay County and is being held on $100,000 bond. With Seys’ incarceration, detectives of the Shoal Creek Property Crimes Section believe they’ve stopped a major source of property crime both north of the River and in the metro area. He is on parole for assault on a law enforcement officer and has only been out of custody since Sept. 1. Since that time, police thinking he actively had been stealing in Kansas City.

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Clerk killed in convenience store robbery identified

At about 5 a.m. yesterday, Dec. 28, police were called to the 5900 block of Swope Parkway (Inner City Oil) in regard to a shooting. Upon arrival, officers found the business's employee dead inside. The victim has been identified as 25-year-old Sujendra Amarasingham. A customer found him and called police. Police are looking for the men captured in these photos. If you know who they are or have any other information, call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Police shoot man breaking into house

At about 9:20 a.m. today, Dec. 29, a woman in the 7800 block of East 111th Terrace called 911 to report prowlers in her neighborhood. As police arrived, the woman called back to say two men had kicked in the door of a house and gone inside. When police approached the home, two men came out, one wielding a large pipe. Officers repeatedly asked the man to put the pipe down, but instead he charged officers in a threatening manner. One officer fired and struck the suspect, who died a short time later from his injuries. The second suspect was taken into custody without incident. Neither he nor any officers were hurt. Police have not yet named the man they shot but, he is a white male who is approximately 40 years old.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Police seek information on convenience store homicide

Person of Interest No. 1

Person of Interest No. 2

Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying the two individuals in the surveillance photos above.
At 5 a.m. this morning, KCPD police were called to Inner City Oil, 5901 Swope Pkwy in regard to a shooting. Upon arrival, officers located a shooting victim inside the business with no signs of life. He was pronounced dead a short time later. A customer found the 24-year old male victim, who is an employee of the business, and called police.

If you can help identify the people of interest in the photos, please contact Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Police nab catalytic converter thief

Kansas City Police have tracked down a prolific catalytic converter thief, and prosecutors have charged him on multiple counts. Alfonz C. Dawson, 27, has been charged with three counts of tampering related to catalytic converter thefts, as well as four felony driving while revoked charges, and a forgery charge. We continue to investigate more involved in the theft ring.

Since Nov. 1, more than 80 catalytic converters have been reported stolen from vehicles in Kansas City, Mo. More have been reported in surrounding communities, too. Even more catalytic converter thefts have gone unreported, usually by people who don’t have full coverage insurance. It can cost more than $1,000 to replace a catalytic converter, and a vehicle won’t pass inspection without one.

When police served a search warrant at Dawson’s home, they found eight catalytic converters stolen within the last week. We have already traced four of those back to the cars and victims from which they were stolen. One belonged to a cancer patient. Police are hard at work tracing the other ones.

Of the 80 reported catalytic converter thefts in the last two months, more than half have been stolen from the Northland. The thieves struck cars in apartment complexes, used car dealerships, auto repair facilities and even hospital parking lots.

Since Dawson has been in custody, only two other catalytic converter thefts have been reported, both in the East Patrol Division area. This is a marked decrease from what we’ve been experiencing. It’s important to note that the three tampering charges Dawson faces are felonies – more severe than a typical theft-from-auto case. According to state statute, removing a catalytic converter is tampering with the operation of an automobile and is subject to more serious penalties than, say, stealing something out of a car’s passenger cabin. We continue to investigate this crime and will keep you update on the results.

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Thank you to J.B. Reynolds Foundation

I wanted to say a big thank you to the J.B. Reynolds Foundation and Mr. Web Bixby, who are stalwart supporters of Kansas City Police. Yesterday, Mr. Bixby presented me three checks totaling $19,700. A total of $10,000 was donated to the Police Athletic League, $7,500 was donated to the KCPD Care Team, and $2,200 was donated to the Friends of Mounted Patrol. Thanks so much for for your very generous support of KCPD and our community outreach.

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Two homicide victims identified

At about 4:52 p.m. Saturday, August 18, officers were called to 5125 Woodland about a shooting. They contacted a man who said he and the victim, 50-year-old Denise Peterson of Kansas City, Mo., had driven through the area of 54th and Wayne when they heard several shots. He then saw Peterson was unresponsive, stopped the vehicle and knocked on doors of residences to call police. The victim was immediately transported to a local hospital with grave injuries. She has now died of her injuries.

Then at about 10 p.m. yesterday, Dec. 21, officers were called to the 1100 block of Hardesty on a shooting. Police found a man dead inside an apartment building. He has been identified as 27-year-old Jermaine E. Rowe of Kansas City, Mo.

Jermaine Rowe

These are the 101st and 102nd homicides in Kansas City this year. If you have any information about either of them, please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).
The victim, identified as Denise Peterson, W/F, 01/09/1960 of KCMO, has died of her injuries.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Operation Safe Holiday

Operation Safe Holiday is an initiative the Shoal Creek Patrol Division undertakes each year to ensure shoppers in some of the city’s busiest retail corridors stay safe. They’re handing this holiday crime prevention brochure to shoppers and introducing themselves at stores along 152 Highway near Church Road and at Chouteau Crossing at Chouteau and I-35. Officers have increased patrols in these areas (including in parking lots) and met with employees of the area retailers – everywhere from JC Penney to Wal-Mart – to get to know them and answer their questions.

Their efforts, which have been underway since the Friday after Thanksgiving and will continue until Christmas, have led to substantially decreased thefts from vehicles. You can help decrease your chance of being a victim of these by always locking your car, never leaving anything of value in plain sight in your vehicle and parking in well-lit areas. And never, ever leave your car running unattended. Also, ladies, when you’re shopping, don’t leave your purse unattended in your shopping cart.

As you finish up your last-minute Christmas shopping, please keep these safety tips in mind to make your holiday season as merry as possible.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Why We Do What We Do: Use of PoleCams

At times, the actions of officers and the KCPD can be baffling to general public.  There are many tools and techniques we use that enhance the safety of officers and the public. We've begun a new video series called "Why We Do What We Do" to help address some questions that people have asked us.  Please check out the video below and keep a look out for more videos on our YouTube channel:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Special Olympics recognizes KCPD as top fund-raiser

The Kansas City Missouri Police Department long has been a huge supporter of the Special Olympics, law enforcement's charity of choice nationwide. Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) had their annual Kick-off Celebration Lunch on Dec. 9 in Jefferson City and recognized KCPD as the organization's largest fund-raiser in Region 2. (In fact, KCPD Robbery Unit Sergeant Bernadette Bond was the event's master of ceremonies.) Last year, KCPD raised $126,749 for SOMO through events like the Polar Plunge, Tip-A-Cop and Broadway Bridge Run. This was an increase of more than $37,500 over 2009. 

Even more impressive, our own Captain Joseph Chapman received the 2010 John Michael Letz Award, the highest award presented by SOMO's Law Enforcement Torch Run program. The award was named after a St. Louis police officer in 1994 whose long-time efforts led to substantial support of SOMO. It "recognizes an individual whose unselfish efforts and contributions are directly responsible for the success of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The recipient is an individual who constantly works to do more, not for recognition but rather in support of SOMO athletes." 

In their press release, SOMO called Captain Chapman their "unsung hero." They said he exceeded the required criteria to receive the award by serving as KCPD's Torch Run Coordinator for the last six years and being involved with the organization for the last 15. As Captain Chapman told SOMO, "My main motivation to being involved in Special Olympics is first the athletes, then to educate and donate." 

Captain Chapman is pictured in the center of the above picture, along with other KCPD SOMO supporters, at the Dec. 9 luncheon.

The men and women of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department are dedicated to helping others, and they do this on and off the clock. Their amazing support of Special Olympics is just one example of this. Good work, Captain Chapman and the whole KCPD family, for supporting the
Special Olympics cause.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Officers, dispatchers, recognized for helping elderly robbery victim

Three police officers and two of our dispatchers received Certificates of Commendation today for going above and beyond to help a woman who was the victim of a nasty robbery. They caught the suspects, but they did much more than that. You can read their story below. Above are the officers and Mrs. Christianson, the woman they helped, who made sure to come to Headquarters today to see her "angels" receive their awards.

What started as a robbery call turned into something much more for a group of caring officers and dispatchers.

On August 4, 2010, an elderly woman recovering from hip surgery was pushed to the ground, sprayed with pepper spray and robbed. Officers Brad Rains and William Pritchett were the first to arrive. They summoned an ambulance and asked the woman if she knew who had attacked her. She knew one girl’s first name, and because of their knowledge of the neighborhood, the officers had a good idea of who one of the suspects was. They found her and arrested her and her accomplice. Officer Rita Olson-Stawicki came to stay with and gather more information from the victim.

But when they were at the elderly victim’s house, they noticed how very hot it was. She told them her air conditioner hadn’t worked in years. Excessive heat warnings were in place, and the officers feared for the woman’s safety. They called dispatch to see if dispatchers could connect them to any resources. Dispatchers Sarah Gartman and Chrystal Hampton were happy to help. They contacted several agencies who were willing to temporarily relocate the elderly woman to a cooling center for the night, but the officers and dispatchers wanted a permanent solution. The dispatchers then began calling stores in search of window air conditioning units, but many were sold out because of the heat. They continued their regular dispatch duties while searching for an air conditioner.

Dispatchers Gartman and Hampton finally found a store with an air conditioner, and they and the officers pooled their own money together to buy it. The officers then took the air conditioner to the elderly woman’s house, installed it, and then showed her how to use it.

In a letter to the officers, the woman wrote, “You are all my designated angels, and I am eternally gateful.”

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Night out on the town safety

As this is a particularly festive time of year and a lot of celebrations will be going on, we wanted to take this time to remind women in particular of some common-sense precautions they can take to avoid being a victim of sexual crimes while out celebrating. Keep these tips in mind wherever you go - clubs, bars, and other people's homes. Be careful about whom you trust, and check out this video:

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

911 call center makes a move

Today, our 911 Call Center is moving from their spot at 1111 Locust (next door to Police Headquarters) to a temporary location while the unit is remodeled and the citywide radio system is upgraded. We hope to reopen the new and improved Call Center in April 2011. Here's the full story from our Informant newsletter:

When dispatchers send officers out on a call, they must rely on 911 callers to know what’s happening at the scene. But soon, dispatchers will be able to access live video from cameras city-wide and provide first-hand accounts to responding officers.

“If we know there’s an incident where a camera is located, we should be able to pull up the video before the officers arrive,” Communications Manager Steve Hoskins said.

This new video technology is part of a $50 million project to replace the City’s radio system and completely remodel the police department’s 911 call center at 1111 Locust St. With these improvements, the department will be able to communicate directly with other law enforcement agencies, as well as provide more accurate information to officers who are responding to calls.

The communications unit will relocate to the backup call center at 1328 Agnes on Dec. 14 and construction on the call center at 1111 Locust is schedule to begin the following week.

The remodel includes a new video wall, where they can pull up live footage from cameras throughout the city, including SCOUT cameras, Green Light cameras, video cameras in the Power and Light district, and several others. The Communications Unit will also have access to multiple media sources during critical incidents or severe weather.

The remodel of the Communications Unit also includes tearing down a wall that currently divides 911 call takers from the police dispatchers. The center’s tiered flooring will be ripped out to put all the workstations on a single level. This will allow for the addition of two workstations and more efficient use of the space.

The workstations also will be replaced with versions that can be raised and lowered, allowing staff members to sit or stand as they take or make calls.

When you spend 8 to 12 hours tethered to your station by your headset, you need a break to be able to stand up and move around a little,” Hoskins said.

One other major change will be the replacement of the 15-year old radio system. The new version will be online in the spring and will greatly enhance regional interoperability. It will be interconnected with the radio systems of all cities in Johnson County, Kan., and Independence, Mo. The cities of Riverside, Gladstone, and North Kansas City are going to transition to the Kansas City radio system, rather than maintain their own radio systems.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Municipal Court judges honor officers

A year ago, I transferred one of our traffic enforcement squads to take over some security duties at Kansas City Municipal Court. Today, the people those officers protect honored them for their service with an officer appreciation day.

At the presentation today, Judge Elena Franco described what life at the court was like before the officers showed up. She said, "I was always fearful something could happen. There were so many near misses. ... We had no way to protect anyone in this building. I lost a lot of sleep."

Then the eight officers and one sergeant arrived in November 2009. Judge Franco said today, "It changed everything about the dynamic of the courthouse. I've heard of so many incidents that have been quashed because you were here." She went on to say she'd also heard many compliments about the officers from prosecutors, defense attorneys, court staff and even court attendees. Many said having the officers present made them feel safer. Some surprisingly high-level offenders are in Municipal Court, and before the officers came, the only thing separating attorneys and judges from sometimes angry spectators was a wooden bar.

I'm proud of these officers and was pleased they received recognition today. The court staff even chipped in to get them cake and punch and bought them all giftcards to a nearby sandwich shop. The squad is pictured above with Presiding Judge Katherine Bromfield Emke. 

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Police crack down on persistent DUI offenders

This week, Dec. 6-9, Kansas City Police have made a concerted effort to bring drunk drivers to justice. Officers went after persistent DUI offenders - those who have been charged with the crime multiple times - who had warrants for their arrest. Police cleared a total of 113 warrants, 55 of which were felonies. One man even answered his door smoking drugs and holding a semi-automatic handgun. He was arrested for warrants, possession of narcotics and possession of illegal firearms. Five guns were recovered from his home, including one  that was stolen.

I have mentioned previously that we were really focusing on stopping drunk drivers this week. We have attacked the problem from many angles - going after those who have eluded justice this past week, and this weekend, we'll have a DUI checkpoint to stop those who could be a danger on the roads. One of our officers is still in the hospital because of the actions of a drunk driver, and he will have to spend months recovering before he can return to duty.

The Department of Transportation has dubbed this week's enforcement efforts "You Drink, You Drive, You Lose." It's the truth.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

City Council honors Westside officers

The Kansas City Council passed a resolution today honoring KCPD Officers Matt Tomasic and Octavio "Chato" Villalobos. Both of these officers work out of the Westside Community Action Network Center and are the absolute picture of community policing. They recently presented at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference and received a lot of praise there.

Part of the resolution honoring Officers Tomasic and Villalobos states:

WHEREAS, the Westside Community Action Network (Westside CAN Center), a pioneer in community policing, has set the gold standard for innovative and effective crime prevention; and

WHEREAS, the Westside CAN Center, with a vision that sees all people as human beings without regard to country of origin, status or income, in its first year of operation, reduced calls for service on the City's Westside by 57 percent; and

WHEREAS, much of the Westside CAN’s success is due to the dedication of its police officers in building a trust in the diverse Westside community through such programs as the Urban Camp-out, Back to School Pep Rally and school supply drive, graffiti abatement, a Day Labor Center, and weekly visits to neighborhood schools.

Four years ago, I wrote an article in Police Chief Magazine about the formation of a Day Labor Center on the Westside that solved a host of community problems. Officers Tomasic and Villalobos along with Westside CAN Director Lynda Callon were the driving force behind that initiative.

The officers received a standing ovation at City Hall today. Many Westside merchants, school staff and neighbors came to support them, and it was great to see the relationship they've built together. Congratulations, Officers.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

KCPD’s LAP program is getting more domestic violence victims to safety


KCPD’s efforts to get the most endangered victims of domestic violence to safety are having an impact.

While rates of domestic violence have shot up in cities around the country in the poor economy, Kansas City’s domestic violence homicides have dropped by 25 percent, and domestic violence aggravated assaults have fallen 7 percent in a one-year period (June 2008 to May 2009 compared to June 2009 to May 2010).

Kansas City Missouri Police implemented the Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP) in June 2009 and has seen numbers tumble since then. LAP requires officers responding to domestic violence calls to administer an 11-question survey to the victim that predicts how likely she or he is to be killed by her or his intimate partner. The victim’s answers can trigger officers to immediately call a domestic violence victim advocate to arrange for safety planning for the victim. Kansas City was one of five cities in the nation to pilot the program and is the largest law enforcement agency to have permanently implemented it.

KCPD has partnered with Rosebrooks Center and Synergy Services on the project. Since KCPD started LAP, the shelters are housing an average of 16 more women daily and are taking 19.3 percent more hotline calls.

“Simply put, these are victims the agencies may never have been able to reach and help,” said Captain Mark Folsom, Commander of the Special Victims Unit.

From June 2009 to May 2010, officers screened a total of 2,010 domestic violence victims. Nearly 69 percent of them screened as “high danger,” and more than 57 percent of the total screened spoke to a domestic violence counselor on the phone. One out of five victims that police screened for LAP continued working with a counselor and receiving services.

Captain Folsom said LAP has been a holistic approach to overcoming domestic violence.

“KCPD has always done a great job with the law enforcement side,” he said. “We hold the suspects accountable and provide justice for the victim. Working with the advocacy side has allowed us to help the victims. Women who may not have realized the danger they were in, simply did not know who to call, or may have just needed some encouragement to take that step, have been able to get help in their situation.”

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Man shot Dec. 3 dies

At about 2:19 a.m. Friday, Dec. 3, officers were dispatched to a local hospital on a report that a man had been shot. Apparently two men were driving in the area of Cleaver II Boulevard and Elmwood when they got caught in the middle of two other vehicles shooting at each other. One of the men in the middle car, 20-year-old Marion Denmon, was struck and transported to the hospital. He died of his injuries a little after noon four days later on Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS or the KCPD Homicide Unit at 813-234-5043.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New license plate tabs should help prevent theft

The Missouri Department of Revenue recently announced an innovation in license plate tabs that aims to reduce tab theft, a very common crime in Kansas City. These “enhanced security tabs”  display a vehicle’s unique license plate number directly on the tab itself, thereby enabling police to quickly and easily detect whether the tab on the vehicle matches the license plate, according to the Department of Revenue.

In addition to printing the unique license plate number directly on the tab(s) in a large, easy-to-read font, the tamper-evident tab with stretch-release adhesive makes the tabs more difficult to counterfeit.

Several steps have been taken in recent years to make license plate tabs more difficult to steal in Missouri. The tabs were moved to the center of the plates so thieves could not simply cut them off the corners. They also were segmented so they would come apart if someone tried to remove them. This latest innovation will help officers immediately spot a stolen tab. Check out the Department of Revenue's web site for more information about the enhanced security tabs.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Man charged in wreck that seriously injured officer

Two KCPD officers were struck at 4 p.m. yesterday in their patrol car at 35th and Euclid. They were hit by a black BMW driven by 30-year-old Frank J. Ross III (pictured above). Ross is alleged to have disregarded a stop sign and T-boned the police vehicle. The patrol car driver received minor injuries and was treated and released. The officer in the passenger seat received serious injuries - including multiple broken bones – and remains hospitalized. Firefighters had to extricate him from the patrol car.

Ross has been charged in Jackson County Court with two counts of assault in the second degree – operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.185 - more than two times the legal limit. The suspect and his two passengers said they were leaving a Chief's game.

It was ironic that this incident should happen on the eve of our You Drink, You Drive, You Lose week, which runs from today until Dec. 12. During this week, we're dedicating extra enforcement efforts to stopping impaired drivers. This shows many people truly do lose when you drink and drive. My thoughts and prayers are with this officer for a speedy recovery.

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Secret Santa is at it again

Secret Santa is up to his old ways in Kansas City, handing out cash to those who most need it. KCPD officers had the privilege last week of escorting Santa on some of his annual rounds. Santa distributed thousands of dollars to unsuspecting individuals at thrift stores, at the bus stop and other locations. This Secret Santa, who travelled in disguise, carries on the tradition begun by Larry Stewart, who passed away three years ago. Santa and his elves have encouraged Secret Santas in other cities to pass on their generosity, too.

Kansas City's Secret Santa had a special guest this year:, comedian Larry the Cable Guy. He came along as part of a new show called "Only in America" that will begin on the History Channel on Feb. 9, 2011.

KCPD officers got to spread some of Secret Santa's good cheer to one of their own, too. Secret Santa left Major Anthony Ell of the East Patrol Division a $100 bill to pass on to Building Operations Tech Pat Stobbe, who has worked at EPD for 11 years and has been with the department for 12. Major Ell presented Pat with the gift this morning.

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Victims of double homicide identified

Elijah Nelson

Just after midnight on Dec. 4, officers were dispatched to 36th and Woodland on a reported shooting. When police arrived, they found four men shot inside a parked car. One man was pronounced dead at the scene, and another died at the hospital. The other two were transported to the hospital in stable condition. The victims have been identified as 22-year-old Elijah J. Nelson (pictured) and 19-year-old Damen D. Washington (no photo available), both of Kansas City, Mo.

A possible suspect vehicle has been described as a black, newer model Chevy Monte Carlo or Impala with tinted windows. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Illegal Firearms Squad helps stop illegal gun trafficker

Our Illegal Firearms Squad formed last year with the purpose of prosecuting those who deal guns illegally. They work closely with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips recently announced that the suspect in one of their cases was just sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison.

Montell F. Ross, 28, illegally sold guns to Kansas City-area felons/gang members, several of which were used in shootings. Here's an excerpt from the U.S. Attorney's press release:

"On May 17, 2010, Ross pleaded guilty to firearms trafficking. Ross admitted that, from May 2007 to June 2008, he illegally purchased firearms in Oklahoma and brought them to Missouri to sell. Ross kept his Oklahoma driver’s license after moving to Missouri so that he could falsely claim to be a resident of Oklahoma when he purchased the firearms. Ross then sold the firearms to people who could not lawfully obtain firearms.

An agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined in April 2009 that six firearms purchased by Ross were recovered a short time later by law enforcement officials during criminal investigations. For example, according to court documents, a .45-caliber pistol purchased by Ross was recovered in the possession of an Oklahoma man who has been convicted of robbery with a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Several firearms purchased by Ross were recovered in the possession of individuals who were involved in shootings.

Ross admitted that at least two of the illegally purchased firearms were sold to a juvenile who had been shot at least three times. This person was a member of a Kansas City gang, according to court records, and had numerous involvements with the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department."

This is the kind of work that makes Kansas City safer. Stopping the source of weapons for felons and/or gang members is a key component to stopping criminal activity.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Officers work with city to shut down dangerous illegal clubs

On Tuesday, we honored a group of officers, fire inspectors and a city prosecutor for their work to shut down two dangerous and illegal after-hours clubs on 59th Street. As Police Board Vice President Alvin Brooks said, these clubs were a blight on the neighborhoods and haven for some of the city's very worst criminals. Here's what the group did:

A group of KCPD officers and city employees not only shut down two illegal after-hours clubs, they set up guidelines to stop such clubs in the future.

In July 2009, Metro Patrol officers on the over-night shift noticed a lot of traffic at 59th and Troost when no businesses were supposed to be open. They soon discovered it was an illegal club. It disturbed neighbors and brought a lot of crime to the area. Officers were unable to contact the proprietor, and the club’s bouncers locked the doors every time police tried to approach the building.

Metro Patrol officers began meticulously documenting all the problems associated with the club and established a timeline of every encounter they had there and listed every arrest that was made related to the club. Two other officers worked with neighborhood groups and COMBAT to get the club shut down. Detective Robert Gibbs of the Vice Unit took on the case and said police had difficulty prosecuting these types of cases in the past. Officers finally tracked down the owner of the building and told him about the illegal alcohol sales, prostitution and underage girls stripping going on inside his building. The owner agreed to evict the leaser. Officers gave all the information collected to Detective Gibbs, who thought he could build a prosecutable case with it.

The club shut down after the eviction on December 17, 2009, but police knew the operator was making too much money to stop. Sure enough, officers found another illegal club operating at 59th and Prospect on December 31, 2009. Officers saw the car of the previous club’s owner parked in front. From January to May 2010, officers were called to the club nearly every night.

Detective Gibbs began negotiating with state prosecutors, and they said the information officers had collected was just what they needed to establish guidelines for prosecuting clubs like this in the future. Meanwhile, police called out Fire Investigators John Hastings and Tom Kievlan on a few occasions. They once found 200 people inside a building that was meant to hold no more than 49. Officers worked with nearby businesses to rope off their parking lots so there would be no parking for the club. The fire investigators were instrumental in getting a cease-and-desist order on the club, and on May 8, 2010, police served a search warrant on the club and shut it down for good. City Prosecutor Beth Murano helped guide police through the prosecution of one of the club’s key players.

Through Detective Gibbs’ work, state prosecutors now have guidelines to stop illegal businesses like this in the future.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Body found by resident on walk identified as city's 95th homicide victim

At about 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 29, a person on a walk about 8 a.m. discovered a body in a grassy area near 44th and Myrtle. The body has been identified as that of 29-year-old Ivan J. Miller of Kansas City, Mo. Police have ruled his death a homicide and have no leads in the case. Please call 816-474-TIPS if you have any information. This is the city's 95th homicide of 2010, compared to 105 homicides at this time last year.