Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Police announce changes to combat violent crime


The Kansas City Missouri Police Department has made numerous changes recently to combat violent crime.

Chief Darryl Forté has moved more than 40 people from units across the department into the Violent Crimes Division to reduce violent crime and hold accountable those who perpetrate it. The changes are designed to build community relationships, provide more intelligence and information about those who commit violent crimes, increase the arrest and prosecution of prolific criminals, predict and prevent violent crime, and increase departmental communication and efficiency.

The Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA), which also recently moved under the Violent Crimes Division, is working with patrol officers and detectives from throughout the department to ramp up its efforts to identify criminals and the groups or gangs with which they associate. Quarterly, NoVA calls in members of these groups and notifies them that if a violent act takes place among their associates, the full force of law enforcement will be on the members of their group. At their last quarterly meeting, police identified several hundred people involved in violent criminal activity in more than 35 groups.

Chief Forté has assigned 28 uniformed personnel to the Violent Crime Enforcement Unit (formerly known as the Area Command Unit), another new part of the Violent Crimes Division. This is the first time in memory such a large contingent of uniformed personnel has been moved to combat violent crime in an investigative element. This unit serves as the Violent Crime Division’s enforcement arm. Should an act of violence take place involving one of the identified groups, Violent Crime Enforcement Unit officers will enhance their enforcement activities against that group’s members with everything from minor ordinance violations to federal cases. This already took place in the first quarter of 2014 when a homicide occurred within one of the identified criminal groups. Violent Crime Enforcement Unit officers, along with the Narcotics and Vice Division and their federal partners, effectively dismantled the group by arresting its members on multiple federal firearms and narcotics trafficking charges.

The Fugitive Apprehension and Arraignment Unit also moved under the Violent Crimes Enforcement Unit so all elements tracking down violent criminals will be in the same chain of command.

A new Violent Crime Administrative Squad within the Enforcement Unit will handle the majority of federal cases regarding felons in possession of firearms and other weapons violations. The Robbery Unit previously handled those cases. This will lighten the Robbery Unit’s caseload, allowing for more thorough robbery investigations. Likewise, detectives on the Administrative Squad will be able to dig deeper into federal firearm violation cases to uncover possible trafficking rings and the violent crime that surrounds them.

On the advice of experts in academia and law enforcement, Chief Forté and Violent Crimes Division Major Ronald Fletcher also have created a Violent Crimes Intelligence Squad. Incorporating experienced gang, homicide and narcotics detectives, this group will work openly (not under-cover) to gather information from the community and patrol officers about gang/group feuds, retaliations and trends. With the help of the Law Enforcement Resource Center, this information will be analyzed and distributed department-wide from homicide detectives to street-level officers. The goal is to prevent violent crimes among gangs and groups before it takes place.

KC NoVA also has provided numerous social services to those who seek a way out of the criminal lifestyle. The people with whom they’ve worked have been identified as being 100 times more likely to be a murder victim than the average Kansas City resident. KC NoVA’s Social Services component has assessed 98 clients as of March 21, 2014. In partnership with numerous community resources, they have provided 29 clients with substance abuse treatment, 18 with employment assistance, 14 with housing services and many others with services ranging from anger management courses to mental health treatment. Many clients cannot read or write, and 10 have received literacy and education assistance.

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