Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Detectives recognized for breaking up multi-state prescription drug theft ring

I presented awards last week to investigators from multiple agencies who broke a multi-state pharmaceutical theft ring wide open. The investigation was led by Detectives Paul Thilges, pictured at left above, and Detective Steve Morgan of our South Patrol Property Crimes Section. Here's what they and our federal and local partners did:

What would soon become a massive investigation began with a burglary on January 2, 2011, at the Omni Care Pharmacy Distribution Center in the 400 block of E. Red Bridge Road. Thieves had taken 43,000 pills of narcotic pain killers and Xanax.

Detectives Steven Morgan and Paul Thilges of the South Patrol Property Crimes Section took the case. They reached out to other area police agencies to see if their cities had experienced similar burglaries. They learned the same types of crime had been going on since May 2010 in Overland Park, Kansas City, Kansas, Lenexa, Lee’s Summit and Independence. Detectives Morgan and Thilges called a meeting with investigators from all these jurisdictions in which they all shared and combined evidence. The detectives held multiple meetings and built the case under the leadership of Detectives Morgan and Thilges.

With the help of other members of South Patrol Property Crimes, the Career Criminal Squad, the FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshals and Independence Police Department Career Criminal Squad, many hours of surveillance were conducted, leads were pursued, search warrants were served and interviews were conducted. All this work resulted in two men being charged in a 10-count federal indictment for a $1.4 million drug-trafficking conspiracy that included nearly 100,000 pills and the illegal possession of many firearms. The FBI has informed KCPD the investigation has expanded into three other states, and they will be pursuing more indictments in the future.
Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Paperless ticketing and new REJIS criminal justice info. system are now live

I've been talking about it for a while, and it's finally here: the full change-over to E-ticketing and a new criminal justice information system, REJIS. A ceremony at Municipal Court this morning marked this transition. Kansas City is the first major municipality in the country in which the city's criminal justice system is paperless from the time an officer gives you a ticket to the time the case reaches its final disposition in court.

At the police department, we’ve already begun electronic ticketing, which gets officers back out in the field much faster than the hand-written kind. As of this morning, I heard the record for issuing an e-ticket is down to two minutes. They’re also far more accurate. No longer will someone at Municipal Court struggle to read an officer’s hand-writing. And no more hand-carrying stacks of tickets. In a meeting in the process of this, I once heard that up until REJIS, the greatest technological advancement in information sharing between KCPD and the Municipal Court was that officers started carrying tickets over in metal boxes instead of wooden ones.

The LE-Web portion of REJIS also is going to benefit the police department greatly. This new electronic criminal justice information system notifies police about wants and warrants and is much easier to use than our old system, which was technology from the early 1990s. It also allows police to pull up driver’s license photos and license plate and vehicle information from the Missouri Department of Revenue so they can know who they'll be dealing with before they enter a potentially dangerous situation. This system went live at midnight August 28 and is humming along quite nicely.

The transition to REJIS took place in one year and was on time and on budget. It was a huge undertaking, and I congratulate the KCPD project team who worked very closely with Municipal Court and REJIS staff to get it into place. Our KCPD staff trained more than 1,500 officers and support staff on the new system. The City estimates it will save $1 million annually and more efficiently move the 300,000 citations written by Kansas City Police annually through Municipal Court. This is a huge step forward that will benefit the people of Kansas City.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lots of road closures for races this weekend

Be aware that there are multiple races going on this weekend presented by The North Face Endurance Challenge that will shut down roadways. A total of 150 road closures will take place at some point for the Challenge. The event will feature a 50K race, marathon and marathon relay on Saturday followed by a half-marathon, 10k, and 5K on Sunday.

On Saturday, the 50K will begin at 6 a.m., and the marathon and marathon relay will begin at 7 a.m. On Sunday, the half-marathon will begin at 7 a.m., the 10K at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K at 8 a.m. All races begin at Theis Park at Cleaver II Boulevard and Oak Street.

Police will open up roads after the last runner passes, and they will try to let traffic cross the route when it is safe to do so. But if you're traveling anywhere in the area of the below map this weekend, please try to take an alternate route or allow yourself plenty of extra time. The below is the map for the 50K race. If you'd like to see maps of all the races, check out the race packet on the North Face Endurance Challenge web site.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Officer honored for stopping man who tried to kill his mother

To say Officer Toby Sicks is a good shot would be an understatement. He is such a good shot that he was able to save an innocent woman's life when her son was threatening to kill her, and today I presented him with the Distinguished Service Medal for his efforts.

On Feb. 28, 2010, officers from the Tactical Response Team were planning to arrest a man for robbery in a carjacking. Members of the team were setting up the area as another officer conducted surveillance in plain clothes from an undercover vehicle. Not long after starting surveillance, the suspect left his home and walked in the under-cover officer's direction, not knowing he was a police officer. The suspect reached into his pants to retrieve what looked to be a weapon. The under-cover officer believed he was going to be the victim of a carjacking and called in the tactical unit. As the suspect saw the tactical team approaching, he ran into his house and began arguing with a woman. Shortly after, the woman, identified as his mother, attempted to run out of the house but was restrained by the suspect.

Knowing that there was a victim in danger, Officer Toby Sicks acted as team leader and directed members of the tactical team into their positions. The suspect refused to leave the residence, and the argument with his mother escalated. The suspect attempted to flee out of the back door and realized he was surrounded by officers. He retreated into the house and moments later re-emerged with his mother, holding a knife to her throat. Officer Sicks, a police sniper, saw that he was the only one in the correct position to disarm the suspect and save the woman’s life. Police asked the suspect multiple times to drop his weapon, but he ignored the officers' direction. With little room to fail, Officer Sicks discharged his weapon, fatally wounding the suspect and saving the mother’s life.

No police officer ever wants to kill another human being, but sometimes they must make the split-second decision to do so in order to save the innocent. That's what Officer Sicks did, and he did it with precision. An inch or two one way or the other, and the mother could have been harmed instead. It was a pleasure to present him the Distinguished Service Medal.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Annual report statistics show 12.5 percent drop in violent crime from 2009 to 2010

The KCPD 2010 Annual Report now is available for you to download in .pdf format. It contains information about the department’s organizational structure, 2010 crime statistics, personnel and salary statistics, department highlights and photos.

A big highlight is the drop in violent crime outlined on page 31 of the report. Our statistics, which have been verified by the state and FBI (in fact, several of our numbers are a little higher than the FBI's preliminary report because some of the cases got reclassified with further investigation, and we wanted to show as accurate a count as possible), show a 12.5 percent drop in violent crime from 2009 to 2010. Many people in Kansas City like to throw around words like the "City's rising crime rate," but it's simply not true. Crime has been falling in Kansas City since the early 1990s. Property crime remained nearly static from 2009 to 2010, with an increase of 0.1 percent. The only types of crimes that saw notable increases were arson and embezzlement.

These numbers are contrary to the scary rhetoric bandied about by those who seek to instill fear. I urge you to check out the report and see it for yourself. Kansas City is getting safer year after year.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Friday, August 19, 2011

E-ticketing just over a week away

On Monday, we begin a "soft roll-out" of E-ticketing. The whole system, in conjunction with Municipal Court, goes live August 29. But starting Aug. 22, KCPD officers will no longer "write" tickets. This video gives you a good visual of how the process will work:

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Partnership to protect domestic violence victims so successful shelter must expand

I've told you before about the amazing things that have resulted from our Lethality Assessment program - many, many more domestic violence victims getting the shelter and services they need. This program began in June 2009 and trained every patrol officer - about 900 of them - to administer an assessment of about a dozen questions to victims to determine how likely they are to be killed by their abuser. If the assessment shows the victim is in danger, police at the scene immediately will put her in touch with a domestic violence victim advocate from the Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter and services agency.

Last year, Lisa Fleming, Rose Brooks Center's Chief Operating Officer, explained what a game-changer this Lethality Assessment and partnership with the police department has been. She said, "When I look back over the years at community collaborations that resulted in such a big systems change in how we go about responding to victims of domestic violence, this is huge – one of the biggest.”

This partnership has protected many women and children, so much so, that it's created overcrowding at Rose Brooks. It's a good and bad problem. The good is that so many more victims are being shielded from abusers and receiving services that are helping them put their lives back together. The bad is that so many victims are being served there simply isn't room for all of them, and Rose Brooks has had to turn some away. The Center began an emergency fund-raising campaign last year to build onto its shelter to make more room for the victims being sent there by police through the Lethality Assessment Program. They broke ground on the project yesterday. We're excited about the continued partnership with Rose Brooks and the possibilities the expansion brings to get more victims of domestic violence to safety.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

KCPD cracking down on impaired drivers Aug. 19-Sept. 5


The sobering fact is that impaired driving contributes to nearly 30 percent of all Missouri traffic fatalities. In 2010, 234 people were killed and 957 seriously injured in crashes involving an impaired driver. In KC, 63 percent of all fatal accidents involved an impaired driver. That’s why the Kansas City Missouri Police Department will join other Missouri law enforcement agencies to crack down on drunk driving Aug. 19-Sept. 5, 2011.

The Kansas City Missouri Police Department will participate in statewide sobriety checkpoints and DWI saturation patrols enforcing Missouri’s DWI laws and keeping impaired drivers off the road.

Consequences of drunk driving include jail time, loss of their driver licenses, or being sentenced to use ignition interlocks. Insurance rates go up. Other financial hits include attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job or job prospects. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators can also face tremendous personal embarrassment and humiliation.

“Driving drunk is simply not worth all the consequences,” Sgt. Ron Podraza said. “Our message is simple and unwavering: You Drink and Drive. You Lose.”

For more information, please visit http://www.savemolives.com/

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Narcotics and Vice Quarterly highlights efforts against drugs, money laundering, violence at taverns

  The latest Narcotics and Vice Quarterly newsletter is now out, and I urge you to read it. It features stories about the Gun Bounty Program, how police are combatting a new kind of money laundering, a profile on our rarely seen Financial Investigations Section, the results of Operation Vice Grip to combat violence at bars and taverns and the latest statistics on drugs, weapons, and prostitution in Kansas City. It also introduces you to our newest drug dogs, Wendy and Julie. They're a friendly pair who work to stop the transport of large quantities of drugs through Kansas City, but we also used them in our latest Violent Crime Initiative to sniff out drugs in homes and businesses where we had warrants to search.

Finally, I pasted one of the articles from the newsletter below about the impressive amount of national recognition the investigators of our Narcotics and Vice Division are receiving lately.

Several members of the Narcotics and Vice Division have been recognized as the best in their field in the nation in a number of categories:

Detective Anthony Garcia of KCPD’s Interdiction Section was named the 2011 Detective of the Year by the International Narcotics Interdiction Association at the group’s annual conference. Since he has been assigned to the Interdiction Section in 2002, Det. Garcia has intercepted the transport of 4,761 pounds of marijuana, 101 pounds of cocaine, 5 gallons of PCP, almost 20 pounds of meth and more than $2 million in cash.

On June 21, the Kansas City-based Midwest High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Investigative Support Center was named the top HIDTA in the nation by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, besting 26 other centers nationwide at an awards program in Washington, D.C. Staffed by several KCPD members, Midwest HIDTA was recognized for providing critical intelligence linkages that support federal, state and local law enforcement officers.

Members of the KCPD Gang Squad who participated in Operation Smokin’ Aces won the Homeland Security Investigations 2011 Director’s Award in the Category of Gang Investigations. The Operation began in 2009 when the Gang Squad started an investigation involving several gang members in Kansas City who were involved in a large-scale narcotics trafficking operation. It culminated in big arrests on June 9, 2010, and was one of the largest drug-trafficking rings ever busted in Kansas City. The Gang Squad partnered with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on the initiative and indicted 23 people on drugs and weapons charges. The federal indictment alleged that all 23 defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack cocaine since July 1, 2009.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org

Monday, August 15, 2011

Exercise extra caution with schools back in session

Students of the Kansas City Missouri School District went back to class today. They're just one group heading back to the books in the area Kansas City Police serve. Soon to follow will be the Center and Park Hill school districts tomorrow, the North Kansas City School District on Aug. 24 and a host of parochial and charter schools in between. This means many more children, school buses, and inexperienced teen drivers on the road. Please watch out for them and drive cautiously.

When school is in session, KCPD conducts extra traffic enforcement in school zones. Those lower speed limits are there to enable you to stop quickly in case there are school children in the road. We'll also be looking out to ensure drivers are obeying laws when school buses are loading and unloading. Additionally, as we've done in year past, officers will pay special attention to bus stops where children are waiting to be sure they're safe.

If you commute, you may need to build in an extra minute or two for slowing down in school zones or stopping behind school buses, but the children you're protecting will thank you for it.

Send comments to kcpdchecklist@kcpd.org.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Persistent offenders responsible for most of Kansas City's property crimes

Kansas City recorded 6,956 burglaries last year, but I can assure you that there are not 6,956 suspects responsible for them. Most burglars in Kansas City are persistent offenders, breaking into homes and businesses over and over again. We have arrested single suspects responsible for hundreds of burglaries, and as soon as we do, neighborhoods that have been plagued with these thefts suddenly have none. Police grow weary, arresting the same people over and over again. Sometimes they’ll arrest them for burglary and see them back out on the streets in the next few days, set free by low bond amounts and given probation instead of prison time. This is an exceptionally frustrating issue for us at KCPD. Our officers and detectives do an absolutely phenomenal job of finding and arresting these persistent offenders, but other pieces of the criminal justice system send them back out to commit their crimes again.

So I wanted to show you an example of just a couple of the persistent offenders who have been plaguing us lately.

First, there’s a 48-year-old man who has been involved in persistent criminal activity in Kansas City, Mo., and surrounding areas since 1989. He is devastating areas of the South Patrol Division right now and is a person of interest in crimes in numerous other jurisdictions, as well. Here’s some of his timeline:

Aug. 17, 1989 – Convicted of stealing, sentenced to 60 days in jail
Nov. 18, 1989 – Convicted of burglary, sentenced to five years of probation
July 13, 1990 – Convicted of burglary, sentenced to two years in prison
Oct. 12, 1990 to March 14, 1991 – Incarcerated
March 15, 1991 – Paroled
Sept. 4, 1991, to June 12, 1992 – Incarcerated for parole violation
July 15, 1992 – Complete release from parole
April 29, 1994 – Convicted of stealing a motor vehicle, sentenced to three years in prison
April 29, 1994, to Aug. 7, 1995 – Incarcerated
Aug. 8, 1995 – Paroled
Sept. 15, 1996 – Convicted for stealing, sentenced to 30 days in jail
Sept. 8, 1997, to March 24, 1998 – Incarcerated
Aug. 12, 2001 – convicted of two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, sentenced to four years of probation
Dec. 17, 2002 – convicted of driving with a revoked license, sentenced to two years of probation
April 28, 2011 – Charged with theft between $500 and $2,500
June 12, 2011 – Charged with theft between $500 and $2,500
July 14, 2011 – Charged with 1st degree burglary
Aug. 4, 2011 – Bonded out of Jackson County Jail by posting 10 percent of $7,500 bond

The last three charges involved repeated theft at Notre de Dame de Sion High School in South Kansas City. They were spaced apart enough that the school was able to replace the equipment, and then those replacements were subsequently stolen.

Then there’s a 51-year-old man who has victimized many, many people in the Metro Patrol Division and beyond. His criminal career in Kansas City began in 1982:

May 12, 1982 – Convicted of larceny under $50, sentenced to 730 days of probation
Nov. 29, 1984 – Convicted of larceny over $200, sentenced to one year of probation
Dec. 1, 1991 – Convicted of two counts of burglary, sentenced to two years of probation
Feb. 27, 1994 – Convicted of larceny under $50 in Kansas, sentence unknown
July 27, 1994 – Convicted of possessing a weapon in Kansas, sentence unknown
Aug. 30, 1995 – Convicted of 1st-degree burglary, two counts of 2nd-degree burglary, two counts of stealing, sentenced to 4 years in prison – released after 120 days and given 5 years of probation
Aug. 29, 1998 – Convicted of 1st-degree burglary and stealing, sentenced to five years of probation
June 4, 2001 – Convicted of 1st-degree burglary, stealing and possession of drugs, sentenced to five years in prison but serves about two years
March 23, 2004 – Convicted of possessing drugs, sentenced to five years in prison, serves about three years
April 12, 2010 – convicted of 1st-degree burglary, sentenced to two years of probation
July 27, 2010 – charged with theft over $500, bonds out
Dec. 2, 2010 – failed to appear in court
Jan. 27, 2011 – charged with 2nd-degree burglary and stealing over $500, remains in custody in lieu of $10,000 bond

These are just two of the many criminals who spend their days and nights prowling for opportunities to steal from vehicles, home and businesses. They take away residents’ sense of security in their own home. We’re doing all we can at the police department to stop them and to keep them from walking the streets freely and victimizing more people.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Police Athletic League and Upper Room make strides in reading program

I mentioned last week about our PAL-Upper Room graduation on Aug. 5. Our Informant newsletter delves more into just how successful the program was at improving the literacy skills of the children our Police Athletic League serves. And be sure to check out photos of the graduation on our Facebook page and the video below the story made by one of the PAL Board members documenting how the 8-week program went:

Nearly 100 children increased their reading levels this summer in a new partnership between the Police Athletic League and the Upper Room Program.

The average participant in the eight-week program at PAL gained four months of reading grade level.

“They did very well,” said Jerry McEvoy, executive director of Upper Room.

Upper Room started in 1999 in a church at 59th and Swope Parkway to provide out-of-school education to inner-city children from low-income families. The non-profit program spread across the city, mostly in churches. But McEvoy said they started looking at areas where churches didn’t have the classroom space to support the program.

The Police Athletic League (PAL) got involved after a PAL Board member’s own children attended one of Upper Room’s summer academic camps last year. She called the Upper Room and asked if they’d like to partner with PAL. The directors said they would consider it and made a site visit to the PAL Center at 1801 White Ave. in spring 2011. Officers at PAL were eager to bring Upper Room’s opportunities to the neighborhood children.

“We wanted them here for the kids in the PAL community,” said Sergeant Martin Cobbinah, a supervisor of KCPD PAL.

McEvoy said he was impressed with officers who worked at PAL and their desire to help the children they serve.

“That’s what convinced us (to partner with them),” McEvoy said. “They were very aggressive in wanting to give the kids more academic opportunities. They felt the kids could learn more.”

And they have. Simply through word-of-mouth marketing by PAL officers, more than 100 children going into first through eighth grades signed up for the rigorous program, taught by certified teachers with assistance from PAL officers and volunteer tutors. The Summer Academic Camp ran from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each weekday. Students spent the first part of their days working with teachers and tutors on reading and some math, taking tests to determine their proficiency. After a provided lunch, children engaged in a variety of fun and cultural activities and were given time to read books.

Graduates who have missed fewer than two days of the program and averaged an 85 percent or higher score on their reading exams receive a monetary reward. The Upper Room funds the program.

The Upper Room and PAL will continue their partnership with an after-school program this fall and another round of academic summer camp next year. Anyone interested in being a volunteer tutor in these programs can call 913-339-8332. Training will be provided.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Officer honored for helping lost elderly couple with dementia

Deputy Chief Cy Ritter filled in as acting chief yesterday at an award ceremony in which we honored dozens of department members and citizens who have gone the extra mile. Some, you never hear about, so it's good to recognize them in this way.

One such person who went above and above is Timothy Trost. A relatively new officer, Officer Trost saw an elderly couple on the corner of 39th and Benton while on regular patrol at 1 a.m. on March 11, 2011. Because of the time of night and the cold temperatures, he decided to check on them. He spoke with them briefly and realized they were confused and feeling the effects of the cold. He called an ambulance, and it became clear to him the couple suffered from dementia.

They couldn't remember their address and didn't know where they were. Officer Trost calmly and patiently gathered enough information from them to figure out where they lived. After an ambulance took the couple to the hospital for treatment of low blood sugar, Officer Trost could have returned to his regular patrol, but he didn't. Instead, he found the couple's house. All the doors and windows were locked, and no one was home. Officer Trost then went to a neighbor's house, determined to find someone to come care for the couple. The neighbor was able to give Officer Trost a phone number of a close family member of the elderly couple. He contacted them and learned a scheduling miscommunication had left the couple alone without their normal caretakers, and family were on their way to the hospital once he told them what happened.  

This kind of compassion and perseverance shows what kind of people work at KCPD. Nothing required Officer Trost to do any of the things he did, from stopping in the first place to tracking down the elderly couple's family, but he's proof that good people make good police officers.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Final results show success in three-day violent crime initiative

Some of the drugs and guns recovered during the Violent Crime Initiative.

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

Running from Aug. 3 to 5, this year’s violent crime initiative followed up and expanded on the success of those in previous years. This year, KCPD and Independence Police officers, as well as agents from seven federal agencies, obtained search warrants for 50 addresses – the most ever – in the East, Central and Metro patrol divisions. Each of those divisions also provided input about problem locations and individuals to assist in the overall effort of suppressing violent crimes in these designated areas during this initiative.

This year’s initiative was conducted in two parts. The first part took place Wednesday and Thursday as officers executed 50 search warrants and many more arrest warrants.

The final results of the first phase are:

• 133 warrants cleared
• 71 new arrests
• 10 federal felon in possession charges
• Nearly 20 pounds of narcotics recovered:
   - 12 lbs. 7 oz. of K2
   - 6 lbs. 2 oz. of marijuana
   - 3.7 oz. cocaine 
   - 1.4 oz. meth
   - 210 pills
• 48 firearms recovered
• $10,725 in cash recovered
• $1,550 worth of counterfeit bills recovered in the 7900 block of Garfield
• Five drug houses posted and closed by DART (Drug Abatement Response Team)
• 649 cell phones recovered in one home in the 3700 block of Woodland
• Two children taken into protective custody in 900 block of Bellefontaine.

Police will conduct a similar operation in the suburban patrol divisions (North, Shoal Creek and South) in the coming months.

Part two of the three-day initiative involves the 200-plus officers and agents involved in the operation going door-to-door in neighborhoods today to get new leads on five unsolved homicide cases. Their work today already has developed additional information in several of the investigations. The cases for which they’re pursuing tips are:

• Mauro Brito-Pacheco: 38-year-old Pacheco was shot at about 6:42 p.m. Aug. 10, 2009, when he struggled with robbers at his place of business, Tina’s Hair Salon, located at 922 W. 24th St. Witnesses said three men fled from the scene.

• Earl Ricks III: 33-year-old Ricks appeared to be riding a bicycle when he was shot at about 5:57 p.m. October 17, 2010, at 34th and Bellefontaine.

• Marshall Blacksure: 26-year-old Blacksure was found shot to death on the sidewalk at Roberts and Bales at about 8 p.m. June 22, 2011. A second shooting victim arrived at a local hospital about 20 minutes later saying he was shot in the arm at the same location as Blacksure. Witnesses said a red Chevy Camaro fled the scene immediately after the shooting.

• Paul Nelson: 23-year-old Paul Nelson was found dead in the park at Linwood and Park at about 11:27 p.m. June 29, 2011, from an apparent gunshot wound.

• Keith Handson: 33-y.o. Handson was found suffering from apparent stab wounds at Independence and Bales at about 11:36 p.m. July 7, 2011.

Anyone with information on these cases is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Federal agencies who participated in the operation include: the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Marshals Service; United States Postal Inspection Service; Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service. The Jackson County Prosecutor’s and U.S. Attorney’s offices and Clay County Sheriff’s Department also assisted in the operation.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

PAL & Upper Room Inc. celebrate partnership on Academic Summer Camp with graduation


The Kansas City Police Athletic League will celebrate the academic success of more than 100 inner-city children through their new partnership with the Upper Room program at a graduation ceremony Friday.

The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. August 5 at the Police Athletic League (PAL) Center at 1801 White. Students going into first through eighth grades will be honored for their intensive work to raise their reading levels over the summer.

This is the first year PAL has partnered with the Upper Room, whose eight-week Summer Academic Camp meets at 26 other locations throughout urban Kansas City.

“We wanted them here for the kids in the PAL community,” said Sergeant Martin Cobbinah, a supervisor of KCPD’s PAL program.

A PAL Board member suggested bringing the Upper Room to PAL, and the idea caught on quickly. They decided to originally cap registration at 100 children, but interest was so great that a total of 107 registered for the program.

The Summer Academic Camp runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each weekday. Students spend the first part of their days working with certified teachers and volunteer tutors on reading and some math. After a provided lunch, children engage in a variety of fun and cultural activities. Most children in the Upper Room Summer Academic Camp increase their reading skills by one to two grade levels, Sergeant Cobbinah said.

Graduates who have missed fewer than two days of the program and averaged an 85 percent or higher score on their reading exams receive a monetary reward.

The program is funded by the Upper Room, which is a non-profit organization providing high-quality out-of-school education programs to low-income families in the urban areas of Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Boots to the ground tomorrow

Our much-anticipated Foot Patrol Project begins at about 10 a.m. tomorrow with 14 brand new officers taking to the streets of the city's most crime-ridden areas. These officers have successfully completed their 10-week "break-in" training period with a field training officer after their graduation from the Kansas City Regional Police Academy in June. Please read my earlier blog post for some background on this project and a map of the areas where the Foot Patrol Project will be.

The officers will work in pairs or trios in two shifts from Tuesday through Saturday. The shifts will start at about 10 a.m. and wrap up at about 2 a.m. They've had some special equipment issued to them, like Camel Back water containers (which will be especially needed in this heat). They also will receive department-issued cell phones, and we expect them to give those numbers out to residents in the communities they will patrol. We want the good citizens and business owners of these neighborhoods to be able to reach the officers directly if they have a question, want to share a tip or just invite them over for a snack. The officers also have been assigned a car to park centrally in the area they patrol so they can have access to the in-car computer to write reports and other resources in the vehicles, like emergency equipment.

The officers also have received some additional training to prepare them for their unique assignment. In addition to hearing from foot patrol officers with the Philadelphia Police Department (whose program we're modeling), they received information from a number of our specialized and investigative elements to learn about the types of crime and narcotics activity specific to the areas they'll patrol. Their field training officers also spent additional time with them on skills such as pedestrian checks. And because of the heat, regular patrol officers in the area will be keeping an extra close eye on them. 

We're looking forward to seeing what these young officers can accomplish in the next 90 days of the project and hope the residents of the neighborhoods they'll serve look forward to it, as well.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org