Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An interesting day at CSTAR

Today was an interesting CSTAR (Comprehensive Strategic Team Accountability Review) meeting. All of the department’s commanders gather weekly to go over crime statistics and special problems and projects in each division and discuss solutions. The East Patrol and Special Operations divisions were up today, and we learned a lot.

Two visitors from the Urban Farming Guys came to tell us about how they moved from the suburbs into Kansas City’s urban core to raise their families there, improve the neighborhood and start an urban agriculture movement. Mayor-elect Sly James also visited today’s meeting and told us an illegal and dangerous party house that we’re trying to shut down is right next door to where he grew up.

Detectives reported that an arrest had been made in a series of Craigslist robberies. Multiple victims showed up to buy or sell something they saw on Craigslist and ended up getting robbed. (Our best advice on this continues to be to conduct transactions with someone you connected to online at a police station.) Detectives also said a good portion of East Patrol’s burglaries and arson fires took place at vacant homes, many of which had absentee landlords, making them difficult to prosecute. We even heard about a search for drugs in an East Patrol home in which officers found three alligators, a macaw parrot and a 12-foot python.

The Special Operations Division also reported that KCPD’s Commercial Vehicle Inspection Section received a national award for reducing commercial vehicle-involved fatalities on interstates from 2007 to 2010. Kudos to that hard-working group.

Finally, we got an update on Operation Constant Gardener, a multi-agency effort to target marijuana-growing operations today, on “4/20,” which is something of a holiday in the drug culture.

CSTAR does a great job of keeping KCPD accountable and keeping all elements informed about what’s going on elsewhere in the department. I encourage you to check out our CSTAR unit’s web page to learn about how they help us make the city safer.

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