Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tough new laws will help prosecution of drunk drivers

I just returned from a press conference at the office of Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd to help announce an initiative that I hope will lead to  the conviction of more impaired drivers. Last year, Missouri legislators approved sweeping changes to the state's driving while impaired (DWI) laws. One was that drivers who refuse a breath alcohol test now can be subjected to a warrantless draw of their blood. Courts have upheld this law because the body metabolizes alcohol so quickly that by the time a warrant could be obtained, critical evidence could be lost. Previously, drivers who refused a breath test could lose their license for a year but often could avoid a drunk driving conviction. This new law changes that.

Platte County will be the first in the metropolitan area to conduct warrantless blood draws of drunk driving suspects. Because a decent portion of Kansas City is in Platte County - including our North Patrol Division Station - we will be participating. If a drunk driving suspect refuses a breath test, a nurse will be brought to North Patrol to draw the suspect's blood. In some cases, this could even exonerate the suspsect.

We hope this certainly will make people think twice about getting behind the wheel of a vehicle intoxicated. I wrote Monday about the tragic loss of life this has caused in Kansas City.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Gun Bounty Program pays cash for tips leading to gun charges


Beginning July 1, an innovative new program will pay a large amount of cash to tipsters who can help area police get illegal guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals.

The Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission, Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline, Kansas City Missouri Police Department, City of Kansas City, Missouri, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), US Attorney’s Office and Jackson County Prosecutor have formed a partnership to address gun crime in our community. These organizations will work in conjunction with local police chiefs and sheriffs on this important metro-wide initiative to address violent crime beginning July 1.

Thanks in large part to donations from the City of Kansas City, Missouri and businesses in our community, the Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline is introducing a Gun Bounty program which will pay $1,000 in cash to anonymous callers to the TIPS Hotline for reporting:

1. A tip that leads to the arrest of a suspect,
2. the recovery of a firearm and,
3. the filing of felony charges related to the recovery of the weapon.

This is not a gun buyback program. It is a public safety program designed to remove illegal firearms from the hands of criminals, especially gangs. The anonymous tip must originate through the TIPS Hotline, and area law enforcement will be responsible for confirming the eligibility for reward of tips received. Presently, a fund totaling approximately $32,500 is available for the program. Donations to the fund are welcome and can be sent to the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission – Gun Bounty Program.

The program has been very successful in Miami, and Kansas City is modeling its program after that one.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers Greater Kansas City TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477). Tips also can be submitted electronically at, or by texting TIP452 and your information to 274637 (CRIMES).

This map (click on it to see a larger version) shows guns recovered and offenses with guns in Kansas City in 2010. We hope the Gun Bounty program will reduce these dots significantly:

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Number of those killed in traffic crashes up 30% so far over last year

Around the beginning of summer each year, the cries ring out about the number of homicides that have taken place in Kansas City. The amount of lives lost to bullets and poor conflict resolution is truly appalling. Residents, activists and others call for something to be done to stop the violence, and rightfully so.

But there is no outrage for the other lives lost just as senselessly in traffic crashes. There are no large, public vigils and few cries for change.

As of today, Kansas City has had 48 homicides in 2011. This is very in line with the previous years, (50 at this point in 2010, 54 in 2009 and 47 in 2008). But traffic deaths are up 30 percent over last year. Thirty-five people (police are working a possible fatal hit-and-run crash right now, which could bring the total up to 36) have been killed in crashes so far this year compared to 27 at this time in 2010. That's a 30 percent increase. Unlike homicides over the past several years, which have gone up and down, traffic fatalities have continued a steady upward climb from a total of 58 in 2006 to 68 in 2010.

Last year, 63 percent of all fatal crashes in Kansas City involved a driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If only this statistic inspired the outrage and passion for change that the homicide statistic does. The loss of lives to crashes involving an impaired driver are totally preventable. We do all we can to prevent this through efforts like DUI saturation enforcement and DUI checkpoints, but we cannot possibly stop everyone who decides to get behind the wheel after imbibing.

The acronym for Mothers Against Drunk Driving - MADD - could not be more appropriate. We should be mad. We should be very upset that some think it's OK to operate a large machine capable of killing others when they're in no state to do so. We should be outraged at those who strike a pedestrian or other car and then flee the scene of the crash. We should make a stand against the reckless drivers who endanger so many people on our roadways. I hope people of Kansas City will become just as furious about the lives lost to crashes as the lives lost to bullets.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Remember, no fireworks in Kansas City

With fireworks tents popping up all around the metro area, it's a good time to remind Kansas City residents that these explosives are not allowed in the city limits. Celebrate our nation's birthday by going the safe route and watching a much more impressive public fireworks display instead. The below video shows what police do with fireworks we confiscate illegally from inside the city limits: our Bomb and Arson section detonates and burns them much like they do any other explosive because fireworks can be equally dangerous.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Home from Joplin

At about 6 p.m. yesterday, June 22, the last of the KCPD officers who have been assisting in Joplin, Mo., since the devastating tornado there one month ago returned home. Reporter Josh Letner of the Joplin Globe newspaper wrote a fantastic article last weekend about the nearly 100 KCPD officers who have served in Joplin and how incredibly well received we were there.

As one of our tactical squad sergeants told the reporter, “I’ve had more thanks in the time I’ve been down here than in the 21 years that I’ve been a police officer in Kansas City. That’s not to say I’ve never been thanked, but almost everybody you run into is thanking you. We’ve been awestruck at how thankful people are.”

Nearly all the officers who served in Joplin have consistently said how amazing the residents there were despite their unthinkable adversity. They were so friendly, so willing to help and in great spirits. As mentioned in the Globe’s article, many residents even applauded the officers at a restaurant. It was pretty overwhelming emotionally when our officers learned many of those who clapped for them had been rendered homeless by the tornado.

We sent a total of about 95 officers and several more civilian communications and fleet employees to Joplin to help them as they recover from this disaster. We were blessed to work alongside the Kansas City Fire Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and first responders from across the Midwest, as well as thousands of selfless volunteers. The Joplin Police Department performed and continues to perform faithfully in the most difficult time in the city’s history, and it was an honor to serve alongside them.

The Joplin Globe said, “It doesn’t take much time traveling the streets of Joplin to notice the presence of KCPD.” I’m pretty certain most of the KCPD personnel who served there will remember that experience for the rest of their careers.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kit aims to prevent business robberies

This month's Informant newsletter discusses a tool we'll soon be rolling out to prevent business robberies. Many pieces of the Business Robbery Prevention Kit are now available on our Robbery Unit's web page. Check out the newsletter story below to learn more about it:

The woman who owns and operates a small Hispanic market in Northeast Kansas City was viciously attacked by a robber with a tire iron in late April. The suspect came in, asked about tamales, then went behind the register, stole hundreds of dollars and beat the store owner to the point she required 33 staples in her scalp.

She is the kind of person Detective Cristin Stammler of the Robbery Unit hopes to help with a new business robbery prevention program. Kansas City had 410 business robberies in 2010, but Detective Stammler noticed a difference in how they were handled.

“There’s a more consistent response from corporate businesses than mom-and-pop stores,” he said. “Smaller businesses seemed to be getting hit more. I thought maybe there’s something we could do to proactively prevent business robberies or minimize the chance of a violent confrontation.”

Detective Stammler said corporately owned businesses typically have formal training for their employees about robbery prevention and what to do should one take place. Smaller businesses often don’t. That’s where KCPD will step in. Adapting a program developed by the Mesa, Ariz., Police Department, Detective Stammler has created a “robbery kit” to assist Kansas City business owners.

The kit, which is available in English and Spanish, includes a height strip for owners to put by the front door, a brochure with lots of prevention tips, and a step-by-step booklet outlining what employees should do if a robbery takes place that includes everything from what to say to the 911 dispatcher to how to preserve the crime scene. The booklet contains a form to write down suspects’ appearance, clothing, vehicle and weapons. It also has a sign employees can post on their doors saying the business is temporarily closed because of an emergency.

“The kit is meant to be kept at the work station, under the cash register,” Detective Stammler said. “You just flip through the steps and don’t have to remember everything. It’s a very traumatic situation to be a robbery victim, and even the simplest of tasks can seem impossible.”

Detective Stammler has contacted each of the six patrol division’s community interaction officers to learn which businesses will most benefit from the kits. He’s putting that together with a list of businesses that have been robbed the most. Once that list is compiled within the next one to two months, robbery detectives personally will visit each of the businesses to deliver the robbery kits.

“That face-to-face contact is important,” Detective Stammler said. “Hopefully they’ll get to know us and call us if they have questions.”

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kudos to detectives for work on 40-year-old murder case

The Kansas City Star reported today that the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office has closed the case on the 41-year-old murder of local political leader Leon Jordan. Our September 2010 Informant newsletter explained how and why we were re-opening the case.

Our Cold Case detectives re-opened this case - the oldest they'd ever worked - and were able to determine who was responsible for the murder. The primary suspect is now dead (he was later murdered, too), as are many witnesses in the case, so no charges will be filed. But the 40-year-old "whodunnit" question finally is answered. It seems the crime was more personally than politically motivated, but with the main suspect and other key players deceased, we may never fully know the motives behind the slaying.

I'd like to commend Cold Case Homicide Sergeant Richard Sharp and Detectives Danny Phillips, Bruce  Solomon, Billy Martin, Marcus Regan, Roy Rogers and Ray Staley for their work on this case. As Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Baker told the Star, "After 15 years as a prosecutor, I know a good murder case when I see one,” she said. “And this was really an incredible investigation…They did a phenomenal job putting a 40-year-old murder case together.”

Below is a picture of the enormous case file composed of both 40-year-old and recent records.  

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Support police and save lives

The 16th Annual Battle for Blood begins today, and we need your support to get the trophy back! The battle runs from June 20-25 at all Community Blood Center locations. We're also hosting drives at Headquarters tomorrow and the Police Academy on Friday so our employees can help with the effort.

The Battle for Blood pits Kansas City metro firefighters and EMS personnel against law enforcement to see who can donate the most blood. Law enforcement won in 2009 but lost to firefighters/EMS in 2010. We need the trophy back! Anyone can donate this week and indicate they're doing so on behalf of police (or fire/EMS).

The Battle for Blood meets a critical need for blood donation in the Kansas City area. Supplies are typically quite low in the summer with lots of regular donors on vacation and no blood drives in high schools, which are out of session. The Community Blood Center needs 580 units of blood every single day to meet the demand of area medical centers. The Battle for Blood helps do that. Sign up to donate at and check the daily progress at And most importantly, go out and donate blood this week and say you're doing it on behalf of police!

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Eagle Scout project creates memorial to lawmen lost in Union Station Massacre 78 years ago

Seventy-eight years ago today, two Kansas City Police officers, an FBI agent and the chief of an Oklahoma police department were killed in a hail of gunfire in the Union Station Massacre. We took the time to honor them today thanks to the work of an Eagle Scout.

On June 17, 1933, police were transporting federal prisoner Frank Nash from Oklahoma to the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., when several of his mobster friends (Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd, Vernon Miller and Adam Richetti) attempted to free him as he got off the train at Downtown's Union Station. KCPD Detectives William Grooms and Frank Hermanson, FBI Agent Raymond Caffrey and McAlester, Okla., Police Chief Otto Reed died as the mobsters sprayed them with bullets. FBI Agent F. Joseph Lackey was injured but survived. Prisoner Frank Nash ended up dying in the massacre, as well. Another little-known victim, KCPD Officer Grant Schroder, was killed the following year by an officer who came upon the carnage of the Union Station Massacre, became mentally unstable with survivor's guilt and killed Officer Schroder. The FBI has a great description of Union Station Massacre on its site, including what led up to it and how the perpetrators were captured.

In the rain this morning, at the Trail of Heroes on the campus of the Kansas City Regional Police Academy and Shoal Creek Patrol Division, we dedicated a monument in honor of the lawmen who were killed in this horrid event. The monument was the Eagle Scout project of J.J. Duer of Boy Scout Troup 180, son of KCPD Officer Jeff Duer. They have been working on it for months, and it's breath-taking. It permanently will memorialize those who lost their lives in this event that changed law enforcement forever. As an Eagle Scout myself, I couldn't be more proud and humbled.

Today's dedication featured a couple special guests. One was Patrick Caffrey, grandson of FBI Agent Raymond Caffrey, who was killed in the Massacre. Caffrey's father was just six years old when he lost his dad in the barrage of bullets. FBI Agent Mike Oiler also joined us today. Another guest was actually present at the Massacre in 1933, but it's not a person. It's a Thompson sub-machine gun (Tommy gun) owned and used by KCPD officers during the Union Station Massacre. We still have three of those Tommy guns used by police that day in storage.

Check out some pictures from today's dedication below, and be sure to check out this amazing new monument, located about 500 feet from the trailhead on the Trail of Heroes.

Soon-to-be Eagle Scout J.J. Duer and his dad, Officer Jeff Duer

The Tommy gun Kansas City Police used at the Union Station Massacre, presented by KCPD Firearms Instructor Dave Andress.

FBI Special Agent Mike Oiler accepting a copy of a letter former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote to surviving FBI Agent F. Joseph Lackey three days after the Union Station Massacre.

Unveiling the memorial.

Many local businesses and individuals donated their time and supplies to assist with the memorial's creation.

J.J. Duer with Patrick Caffrey, grandson of Raymond Caffrey, the FBI agent killed in the Union Station Massacre.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Governor thanks KC-area public safety workers and volunteers for work in Joplin

Governor Jay Nixon stopped by Kansas City today to thank the public safety agencies, faith-based groups and other volunteers who have assisted in the efforts to help Joplin, Mo., recover from its horrible May 22 tornado. Dozens of our officers, Kansas City firefighters, police, fire and emergency medical workers from metro-area agencies and search-and-rescue canine teams were on hand. A few of our officers who went are pictured above.

As Governor Nixon said, "The tornado that hit Joplin had barely left when Kansas City's first responders were on the road."

Kansas City Police joined more than 400 other public safety organizations in this effort.

Governor Nixon said, "They ran toward danger, not away from it."

We realize KCPD's work in Joplin is just a small part of the recovery effort there, and we are humbled by the 29,000 volunteers who have served in that community so far. That's a truly astounding number of people who care about their neighbors, no matter how near or far they may be.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thanks for your service, Doc

John "Doc" McCalla started serving as an auxiliary volunteer for the Kansas City Missouri Police Department more than 23 years ago, after he'd retired from his career as a physician. Today, he "retired" again at the place he's worked so hard for so many years, the Metro Patrol Division. His ceremony today comes just a few days after Doc's 86th birthday.

Doc came to KCPD by being involved in his neighborhood's crime prevention group in the early 1980s. He worked with police a lot during that time and decided to join our team. Without pay, he spent years disseminating crime statistics to neighborhoods, attending community group meetings on behalf of KCPD, stuffing envelopes and mailing information, and recruiting some new employees. Once, he even saved the life of a woman who collapsed in the old Metro Patrol Division's parking lot. He also served for years on the board of the Missouri Crime Prevention Association and has been a huge help to Metro Patrol's Community Interaction Officer.

Thanks, Doc, for your selfless service to the Kansas City Police Department and the people of this community.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Update on employee struck at DUI checkpoint

You may have heard that on early Saturday morning, one of our civilian employees was struck and seriously hurt at a DUI checkpoint. I wanted to give you an update on how he's doing and say that we're still looking for the suspect, so if you have any information, please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

The checkpoint was set up in the 7600 block of Troost with KCPD and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. About 2:18 a.m. June 11, an officer contacted the occupant of a dark-colored Dodge car and asked to see his license. The suspect immediately accelerated, pulled out of line and struck one of our Fleet Operations Unit technicians. Fleet techs assist at DUI checkpoints by keeping the Mobile DUI Enforcement Center and prisoner buses up and running by maintaining equipment like generators. They also help by parking the cars of DUI suspects.

After being hit, the Fleet Ops technician, a man in his mid-30s, clung to the hood of the car until he was thrown off about six blocks later in the 8200 block of Troost. He suffered serious injuries to his leg and is undergoing surgery, but is doing very well considering the circumstances.

Police fired shots at the fleeing car and attempted to pursue it, but it eluded them. They do not know if any suspect was hit.

Just before 10 a.m. Saturday, police found a vehicle abandoned in the 200 block of W. Bannister. They believe it was the car that assaulted the KCPD employee at the DUI checkpoint.

We are continuing to investigate this case, and the Fleet Operations Technician is continuing to recover. We are very thankful that he could be out of the hospital as early as this week. Please call 816-474-TIPS (8477) if you have any information about this incident.

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Amber Alert: 4-month old John Michael Glorioso

UPDATE, 1:40 p.m.: The suspect now is in police custody, and the Operation 100 has ended.

UPDATE, 6:15 a.m.: The child has been located safe at a home near 51st and N. Corrington. Police believe the suspect is in a home in the 5000 block of N. Crystal and is refusing to exit. Police have initiated an Operation 100 there.

John Michael Glorioso

Suspect: Eric D. Yeager

At approximately 2:14 a.m. today, officers were called to 3635 Sunrise Dr. on a cutting.

Upon arrival, officers contacted the victim who was suffering from a severe knife wound to the neck. The victim was able to relay that the suspect is her boyfriend who lives with her, her parents and their 4 month old son. After her boyfriend attacked her, he took their 4-month-old son, stole the victim's mother's vehicle and fled.

The AMBER ALERT is being issued for the 4-month-old son, John Michael Glorioso, a white male, born 2/1/2011. He has brown hair, brown eyes and is wearing a lime green "Tigger" (as in Winnie the Pooh) pajamas.

The suspect is Eric D. Yeager, white male, 9/25/1986, he is 5'9", 150 lbs. Yeager may be driving a white, 2002, Honda CRV, Missouri License # MC4-Z7M.
Anyone with information is to call 911 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Foot Patrol Project puts new officers on the streets

You already may have heard about our Foot Patrol Project that begins in August. Check out the below article and map from our latest Informant newsletter to learn how the new officers feel about taking on this task and how it's going to be scientifically studied to see whether it impacts quality of life in high-crime neighborhoods.

The Kansas City Police Department will drop 17 brand new officers on foot into the city’s most crime-ridden areas in a throw-back experiment to improve the quality of life in those neighborhoods.

The probationary officers will start the Foot Patrol Project in the beginning of August and will be assigned in pairs for 90 days to patrol two areas in Central Patrol Division and two in East Patrol Division – the divisions in which 87 percent of Kansas City’s crime takes place. The program is based on one developed by the Philadelphia, Pa., Police Department, which reduced crime in targeted areas there by 23 percent.

“My hope is we can connect to the community in a sincere way,” Probationary Officer Erin Butler said. “The ‘bad guys’ aren’t going to stop their lucrative crime because we say so. They will stop when the environment they thrive in, like these areas, refuses to tolerate them instead of being fearful of them. I hope we can empower the good people to fight back.”

KCPD chose the areas for the project by analyzing several factors, including the number of violent and property crimes, fear of crime and accessibility. The four areas selected are small – comprising 15 intersections that are approximately 1.3 to 1.5 roadway miles. Dr. Ken Novack, Chair of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, used KCPD’s data to select four control areas, as well, to determine how much difference the project will make. The control areas are unknown to the police department.

“We’re not just doing a study,” Major Roger Lewis said. “We want to improve the quality of life for the common, decent people in those areas.”

Kansas City’s probationary officers got to meet two Philadelphia officers and a Philadelphia deputy police commissioner to discuss the program with them. One officer told them the project made him a better cop. The Philadelphia officers also told KCPD’s new officers they should prepare to walk six to seven miles a day and go through several pairs of shoes.

“Say ‘hi’ to everyone,” Philadelphia Officer Timothy Hegarty advised. “It costs nothing.”

The Board of Police Commissioners expressed concern about sending two rookie officers into such dangerous areas. But the young officers say they are ready.

“We received the best training we could at the Academy,” Probationary Officer John King said.

Probationary Officer Butler said the assignment is a little daunting, but she said her inexperience will make her more vigilant.

“I do think as new cops it will be important to respect the dangers but embrace each learning experience,” she said.

Deputy Chief Cy Ritter said the project not only will determine whether heavy foot patrols reduce crime but whether they will improve community relationships. Major Lewis also said it will be interesting to see if the project will create more skilled police.

“Five years down the road, is this cohort of officers going to be better officers?” he asked.

The Foot Patrol Project will end Nov. 1, but commanders said they hope to continue it in the future, either with future Academy classes or existing officers.

“At the end of the 90 days, there should be a decent law-abiding citizen they don’t know on a first-name basis and sat on their front porch and had iced tea with,” Major Lewis said. “Conversely, there shouldn’t be a bad guy who doesn’t know these officers on sight and dreads seeing them around the corner.”

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Officers' experience in Joplin

KCPD has been deploying officers to Joplin, Mo., since May 23, the day after an EF-5 tornado destroyed much of the city 150 miles to our south. The video below shows what some of our officers have experienced there. One thing nearly all of them comment on is how kind Joplin residents have been to them and how grateful they are for our presence there.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kansas City at forefront of "Start by Believing" campaign

Kansas City is leading the way in a national campaign to stop sexual violence. End Violence Against Women International launched the "Start by Believing" campaign in late April, and Kansas City is the first city in the country to launch a billboard campaign. KCPD Sex Crimes Detective Catherine Johnson, a member of End Violence Against Women, was able to partner with Lamar Advertising on a billboard campaign that put the Start by Believing message on 17 electronic billboards around the city starting in early May. (The above billboard is on Interstate 35, just before Armour in North Kansas City.) We really appreciate Lamar's generosity in this effort. Detective Johnson is now working with billboard advertisers in New York City, St. Louis and other cities to get the message out across the country.

We also have Start by Believing posters in all our patrol stations and in our Sex Crimes Section, and Special Victims Unit Captain Mark Folsom presented about the campaign to the International Association of Chiefs of Police's Leadership Institute for Violence Against Women.

What does "Start by Believing" mean in terms of ending sexual violence? This is how End Violence Against Women puts it:

"There is no shame when your loved one dies. When your car is stolen. When you’re diagnosed with cancer. Friends and loved ones gather around you for support. They don’t blame you for 'bringing it on yourself.'

"It should be the same with sexual violence. But all too often, survivors who have the courage to tell someone what happened are blamed for bringing it on themselves. This needs to change.

"Start by Believing is a public awareness campaign designed to change the way we respond to rape and sexual assault in our communities."

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Monday, June 6, 2011

KCPD detective named International Interdiction Detective of the Year

Unfortunately, I can’t show you the face of Detective Tony Garcia, who has been named the International Narcotics Interdiction Association Detective of the Year. This makes Detective Garcia the best interdiction detective in the United States. Our Drug Interdiction Section is charged with stopping the transportation of drugs (usually large quantities) in Kansas City.

What I can show you is Detective Garcia’s canine partner, Franz, who is pictured above with 8 pounds of cocaine the pair recovered last week from a passenger train. Franz joined Detective Garcia in 2006, but even before that, Garcia had an impressive record. Below is what Detective Garcia has recovered in the past year and since he joined the Interdiction Section in 2002:

                  April 2010-11     2002-2011
Marijuana     422.5 lbs.          4,761 lbs.
Cocaine         29.5 lbs.           101 lbs.
Hashish           2.0 lbs.             2 lbs.  
PCP               2 gallons          5 gallons
Meth              ---                    19.7 pounds
Khat               2 lbs.              34 lbs.
U.S. currency    $703,481          $2,073,466

A big congratulations to Detective Garcia (and Franz), and more proof that the best law enforcement officers in the nation work right here at the Kansas City Missouri Police Department.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Our deepest condolences on the loss of Riverside Police Officer Jeff Taylor

The entire KCPD family and I send our deepest condolences to the family, friends and coworkers of Officer Jeff Taylor of the Riverside, Missouri, Police Department. Officer Taylor had volunteered to assist in tornado-ravaged Joplin, Mo., when he was struck by lightning on May 23 near the operation’s command post. He passed away today at age 31 in Springfield, Mo.

This is tragic in so many ways. To lose any officer in the line of duty is crushing, but to lose one who selflessly volunteered to assist in a disaster 150 miles away is devastating. Officer Taylor is the only emergency responder to pass away as a result of the May 22 Joplin tornado and is the first officer ever to die in the line of duty with the Riverside Police Department.

As Riverside Mayor Kathy Rose said, “He died upholding a tradition of our community and many communities like ours to serve and protect, and to help neighbors in need.”

I think of our own officers who tirelessly have been working in Joplin and am sobered by the fact it could have been any one of them. I am thankful every day for their safety.

The Kansas City Police Department enjoys excellent partnerships with our neighboring law enforcement agencies, including Riverside. They always are eager to assist us, and vice versa. Several of our officers knew and worked with Jeff, and they are terribly saddened by his loss. We will assist our police brothers and sisters in Riverside in any way we can during this difficult time.

If you would like to support Officer Taylor’s loved ones at this time, you can send a card or message to:

Taylor Family
City of Riverside Police Department
2990 NW Vivion Road
Riverside, MO 64150

I also encourage you to donate to a fund set up in honor of Officer Taylor to assist his family with expenses:

Taylor Benefit Account
K.C. Police Credit Union
2800 E. 14th Street
Kansas City, MO 64127  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Narcotics and Vice Quarterly features important information about readily available drugs

The latest issue of the Narcotics and Vice Quarterly newsletter is now available, and it's got some great information about "bath salts," which are not at all for use in the tub. They're a dangerous mixture of drugs that are extremely similar in their chemical make-up to drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and methcathinone. Local police have seen several overdoses on bath salts, as well as a possible suicide triggered by the extreme paranoia it causes.

The newsletter also includes a story about how restricting a popular cold medicine could do a lot to reduce methamphetamine production. In addition, check out a profile of our Gang Squad and the latest statistics on drugs and guns recovered by the Narcotics and Vice Division.

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