Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Those who host lose the most"

I attended a press conference today at the North Patrol Division with Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd and Vicky Ward, a representative of the Northland Coalition to reduce underage drinking.

We were there to spread the message about how seriously we take adults providing alcohol to minors. This came in the wake of felony charges against a Kansas City mother and another woman for providing alcohol to several 13- and 14-year-old girls at a 14th birthday party. The women not only provided alcohol to the girls, but encouraged them to drink it. The mother offered $10 to whoever could drink a glass of vodka the fastest, and the mother’s friend poured rounds of vodka shots for everyone.

In this case, officers were called to the house in the 1600 block of NW 55th Terrace at about 2 a.m. Feb. 22 on a report of a party with teens and alcohol. They found one 14-year-old girl passed out and ordered an ambulance to take her to the hospital because they feared she was suffering from alcohol poisoning. Her blood alcohol content was later determined to be .218. Another 13-year-old girl also was hospitalized to prevent alcohol poisoning. Fortunately, both girls are out of the hospital and recovering.

Officers also found 60 to 70 empty beer bottles in the basement of the house, along with several empty bottles of bourbon, vodka and whiskey. Originally 40 to 50 children were at the party, and all but six girls left. The two adults engaged in the heaviest drinking with these girls.

Our Crimes Against Children and Vice section detectives investigated this incident. They thought it was serious enough to pursue felony state charges. Prosecutor Zahnd agreed, and both women have been charged with felony child endangerment. They are in custody on cash bonds of $25,000 and $20,000, respectively.

The Kansas City Missouri Police Department obviously takes these types of cases very seriously. This time of year, with proms and graduation parties, we are sending a strong message that adults providing alcohol to juveniles and teen drinking will not be tolerated. We want to prevent any senseless tragedies like alcohol poisoning or drunk driving crashes.

The North Patrol Division, in particular, has made stopping house parties where alcohol is served to children a priority.

For some sobering statistics on teen drinking and why we are committed to enforcing the laws associated with it, check out this flyer from the Northland Coalition:

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Homicide victim identified


Police have identified a man killed in the 5500 block of Woodland Avenue on Monday as Mark Ashley, a 27-year-old black male from Kansas City, Mo.

A family member called police to a residence on Woodland at about 10:25 a.m. March 30 on a report of a dead body. Officers found Mr. Ashley inside the home with no signs of life.

No suspects are in custody, and detectives ask that anyone with information in this case call the TIPS Hotline at 474-TIPS (8477).

Friday, March 27, 2009

To KCPD members:

The City Council approved the budget for the city and the police department at Thursday’s legislative session. This budget has a $12,000,000 funding shortfall for the police department. The Fiscal Division staff will now begin the task of identifying options to address the shortfall. This will be a slow, methodical process. I have asked for a complete analysis regarding how much money will be saved and how it will impact the men and women of this organization. The suggestions that many of you provided earlier in the year also will be considered as we go through this process.

I want to thank all of you for all the hard work that you do for this organization and this city everyday. We have some difficult work ahead of us in the next few weeks, months, and year. There have not been any decisions made yet regarding where the cuts will take place. I pledge to you that I will keep you informed regularly as we go through this process. Look for updates here and in the Daily Informant.

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Man shot by officers identified


The man fatally shot by officers the morning of March 26 at 31st and Charlotte streets has been identified as 19-year-old Fritz M. Leandre of Kansas City. He was shot after crashing his vehicle and pointing a gun at the officers when they approached his car. We are investigating to determine if there is a connection between the homicide at 811 East Armour and this suspect.
In that homicide, officers were dispatched to a shooting at 811 East Armour at 1 a.m. March 26. Upon arrival, they found a black male dead in an apartment with several gunshot wounds. If you have any information, call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Text message scam

Since this past Friday, March 20, our Fraud Section has gotten numerous reports from people across the country who have received text messages claiming fraudulent activities have taken place on their bank accounts. The messages purport to come from the Kansas City Missouri Police Department or the Central Bank of Kansas City. This is a scam.

Fortunately, Sergeant Rob Rickett, supervisor of the Fraud Section, said he’s gotten no reports of anyone actually becoming a victim of the fraud, and we’re glad to see people are getting educated about these so-called phishing scams.

Here’s a report of what one woman said the message she received said:

“From: service@kccu.org
Message: Alert From K. C. Police / We apologize to inform you that we have locked your Debit card. For fast re-activation call us now at: 18597594140”

Another fraudulent text message looked like this:
“From: e.reff@centralbankkc.com
Message: Central Bank of Kansas City: VISA CARD LOCKED.CALLTOLL-FREE 888 666 1954”

Do not respond to these. As Sergeant Rickett says, “Banks and police departments do not discuss business by text messages.” If you have any questions for your particular bank, call them using the phone number provided on your bank statement or on the bank’s official Web site.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Mounted Patrol at work

I hope you got a chance to see the Mounted Patrol demonstration this past Friday at the American Royal. The officers and horses do incredible work, and I wanted to share an example that happened the night before the demonstration.

At about 9:30 p.m. March 19, Officers Joe Nelson and Julie Tomasic were on horseback patrolling parking lots around the Sprint Center during the NCAA tournament. Because of the “tower of visibility” sitting atop such a tall animal afforded them, they were able to see over people and cars in the area and caught sight of a young man with a backpack, looking into the windows of cars parked in a lot at 12th and McGee streets. When the man heard the horses, he started walking away rapidly. The officers quickly caught up to him and started asking him questions about what he was doing. The 18-year-old man gave several false names, but the officers eventually got him to reveal his real name. He had two warrants for his arrest for stealing from vehicles. Officers Nelson and Tomasic arrested him on those warrants and searched his backpack. It had nothing inside but juvenile court papers regarding previous incidents of burglary and theft with which the teen had been charged.

The Bike Patrol officers showed up to assist Mounted Patrol and looked into the cars the suspect had been checking out. One had an unlocked driver’s side door with a GPS (Global Positioning System) on the dash and several other valuable items in plain view. The officers weren’t able to locate the owners and presumed they were inside the Sprint Center. The suspect was taken to jail.

Several things were at play here:

* First, I believe the presence of the Mounted Patrol Officers prevented at least one burglary and put a known thief behind bars, plain and simple.

* Second, the fact that they were high on horseback allowed them to see what other officers at street level would likely have missed, which is one of many reasons why they’re a valuable asset to our department.

* Third, this was a great demonstration of how the police presence we have allocated to the Downtown area is paying off. After the Mounted Patrol Officers contacted the suspect, the Downtown Bike Patrol officers arrived to assist them. We have allocated specialized squads like these to protect the city’s investment into the revitalized Downtown area by making it a safe, fun place to visit.

* Finally, it was a good lesson in how people can avoid being victimized. The car the suspected burglar was targeting had an unlocked door and very valuable items in plain view. Thieves are far less likely to target cars with nothing of value visible inside and with locked doors. We also discussed this during the press conference Monday, when we announced the great results from the Metro Patrol Division Property Crimes Task Force. So many of the burglaries those officers investigated could have been prevented had people simply not left things like cell phones, purses, iPods, computers and GPS units sitting in their cars in plain view.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thank you, Sosebee family

Today we gave Certificates of Appreciation to the Sosebee family. They assisted the police department in a remarkable way, and any of us would be lucky to have them as our neighbors. Here's their story:

On January 27, 2009, the Sosebee family saw four unknown people leaving a neighbor’s house with electronics in their neighborhood near the Truman Sports Complex. James Sosebee informed his wife and son, Barbara and John Sosebee, that he thought the three male and one female suspects were committing a burglary. His family agreed, and they saw the suspects get in a white Ford Crown Victoria and drive away. All three of the Sosebees got into their family van with John driving to follow the suspects’ car to obtain a license plate number and get a better description of the suspects.

As they approached 39th and Denton streets, the suspects abruptly stopped, and one person got out and began firing shots at the Sosebees. To avoid being hit by the gunfire, John Sosebee turned his van off the road and crashed it into a ditch. The Sosebees thought the suspects had left the area, but when John Sosebee looked out the window to confirm it, the suspects fired on the family again while they were stuck helpless in their wrecked vehicle. Barbara Sosebee was seriously injured from the accident, and John Sosebee had minor head injuries. No one was hit by the six to seven shots the suspects had fired.

Despite the trauma, the Sosebees were able to give officers an accurate description of the suspects’ car and a partial license plate number. The next day, officers found a vehicle matching their description. Officers lost sight of it but later found it abandoned. Evidence found inside of the car led officers to a house where two suspects were taken into custody. Inside the house, officers discovered two guns and thousands of dollars worth of stolen property from multiple burglaries. One suspect was interviewed and confessed to being involved in the burglary and assault, and he was charged accordingly. Two other suspects were apprehended and charged in juvenile court.

Sergeant Keith Ericsson said the actions of the Sosebee family were vital in capturing the suspects in this incident and leading detectives to resolve numerous other burglaries in which the suspects had been involved.

Sergeant Ericsson said, “Not only did the Sosebee family sustain major damage to their family car during the incident, but they put their lives in harm’s way to help a neighbor.”
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Task force reduces Metro Patrol burglaries by 25%


The Metro Patrol Property Crimes Task Force has made a significant dent in the city’s theft problem, reducing burglaries and auto thefts by 25 percent in a three-month period.

The task force started on December 7, 2008, to combat a growing burglary problem in Metro Patrol and other parts of the city. About eight or nine burglary patterns were active at the time, in neighborhoods from Hickman Mills to Brookside, Blue Hills to Loose Park. The task force took six Metro Patrol officers – two from each of KCPD’s three shifts – and put them on special assignment to partner with the Metro Property Crimes detectives for 28 days.

The task force was only supposed to last through the holiday season, but it was continued because of its positive results. Officers now rotate their time on the task force, serving 28 days with property crime detectives and then going back out in the field.

Through March 20, the task force has arrested 60 suspects on felony charges. This cleared 72 felony warrants and 26 city charges. Up to a fourth of those arrested are known gang affiliates. One had information on three of the city’s unsolved homicides.

Recoveries made by the Metro Patrol Property Crimes Task Force from Dec. 7 to March 20 include 22 stolen vehicles and 16 stolen firearms, as well as dozens of televisions, video game systems and other property. In the course of their work, task force officers also arrested eight people for narcotics offenses and stopped two burglaries in progress.

The task force isn’t finished yet. They will continue their work as long as they have the resources to do so. They have identified multiple people possibly connected with multiple burglary patterns that they will continue to pursue.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Come meet the Mounted Patrol


Some of the largest members of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department will be strutting their stuff for the public Friday evening.

The Mounted Patrol Section will put on a free demonstration of its police horses at 7 p.m. March 20 at the American Royal Center, Scott Pavilion, 1701 American Royal Way. The public is invited to attend.

Officers will demonstrate some of the methods used in training the police horses. They also will perform crowd control formations and demonstrate arrests made from horseback. Attendees can meet the Mounted Patrol officers and their equine partners and ask them questions.

The officers and horses have been busy lately with crowd control at St. Patrick's Day festivities and the NCAA tournament, but they're looking forward to sharing how their unique animal-human partnership helps keep residents of and visitors to Kansas City safe.

The demonstration will be conducted inside Scott Pavilion, which is the building just west of the Governor’s Building at the American Royal Complex. Parking will be available in Lot A.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

KCPD at St. Pat's parade

Because so many meetings with police tend to be under bad circumstances, we look forward to the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade as a great opportunity for our officers to interact with the public in a positive way. They keep everything in order, but they get to have some fun and meet people while doing so. Here are just a few pictures from the event, including the Grand Marshal: Officer David Magruder, his family, and his canine partner, Soty. (Click on the picture to see a larger version.)

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Preparing for St. Patrick's Day

Excitement is brewing over Kansas City’s 36th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and its associated celebrations tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous, and a new route through Midtown makes it all the more interesting. Many people have asked what KCPD is doing to prepare for this event, and I can tell you that it’s a lot.

First, our officers have been meeting for months with parade organizers, Westport business owners and neighborhood associations near the parade route to work out how to keep the community as peaceful as possible while fostering a fun environment.

The department’s physical work on the parade route starts tonight when Parking Control officers will put up signs advising anyone parked on the parade route (along Broadway, from Linwood to 43rd St.) to move their cars. If they’re not gone by 6 a.m. tomorrow, we will be forced to tow them. Officers will begin setting up the parade route by 8 a.m. and closing off streets. The actual parade begins at 11 a.m.

The biggest difference for us between having the parade Downtown and having it in Midtown will be the lack of concrete barriers. Police officers will be charged with keeping parade-goers out of the streets while the parade is in progress. As always, Kansas City’s no-public-drinking ordinance will be in effect, and officers will have no tolerance for those who break that or any other law. In addition to uniformed officers, several under-cover officers will be in the parade crowd, as well, ensuring that no illegal activity is taking place that could ruin the fun for everyone else.

We know the revelry will continue after the parade, and we encourage everyone to celebrate, but to do so responsibly. To keep the peace, we’ll have a command post set up in Westport and 40 additional officers assigned to the area throughout the day. The Mounted Patrol will be out and about all day, and our Homeland Security Unit will oversee all the events to ensure the safety of everyone.

And let’s not forget the two KCPD officers who have been preparing for this more than anyone else on the department: Officer David Magruder and his canine partner, Soty. The team will be co-grand marshals of the parade, along with Kansas City Firefighter “Scooter” Martin. They’ll lead the parade in convertibles, and I give them my hardy congratulations.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

A troubling statistic

Some statistics get talked about more than others. The homicide rate, for example, is a frequent topic of discussion in our department, in the community and in the media, as well it should be.

But there’s one number I haven’t heard much about that deserves similar attention: the number of fatal auto crashes so far this year. We have had 128 percent more people die in car accidents in 2009 than we had at the same time in 2008: 16 as of March 11 this year, compared to seven on March 11, 2008.

It’s important to talk about how preventable some of these deaths are. We know that alcohol was involved in the deaths of eight of this year’s accident victims. Of the 14 people killed in vehicles (two of those who died were pedestrians), our investigators have determined that eight were not wearing their seat belts. Another two people were ejected in crashes in which seat belt usage has not officially been determined, but ejection usually means there was no seat belt involved.

The deaths of the people killed in car crashes so far this year largely could have been avoided with such simple actions as clicking a seat belt or designating a driver who hasn’t been drinking alcohol. As a community, we must have as much fervor about ending these needless deaths as we do about ending homicides. Refuse to let anyone who’s been drinking behind the wheel of a car. Buckle up when you drive and demand that all your passengers do, too. Vigilantly watch for pedestrians. Taking these steps may not prevent all vehicle fatalities, but it will stop the vast majority.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Amber Alert cancelled

The Kansas City Missouri Police Department is cancelling the Amber Alert for Allyson Coralles. The department will continue searching for Allyson and her father Luis but the alert has been lifted. Anyone with information regarding either Allyson or Luis is asked to call the Tips hot line at 816.474.8477.

The alert is being lifted because it is believed that it loses effectiveness if it is kept in place for more than 24 hours. The lifting of the alert does not affect any of the investigation that is still ongoing.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Amber Alert/homicide update

A person of interest is being sought in regard to the homicide/abduction investigation. Luis F. Coralles is the biological father of Allyson and has not been located. He is described as being a 31-year-old Hispanic male, 5’5, 150 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes. Above is a three-year-old photo of Luis and Allyson. He reportedly has family in Houston, Texas, and Manassas, Va.

Please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477) if you have information in regard to his whereabouts.


UPDATE: The missing family vehicle is a 1999 Kia Sportage with Missouri license plate number PB1-R3R.

ORIGINAL: Officers are at the scene of a possible homicide at 4023 Harvard Circle. We were called to the address at 9:15 a.m. today to investigate a death. When we went into the residence, we found a 27-year-old female dead inside her apartment. The woman's 4-year-old daughter, Allison Corrales, Hispanic/female, is missing from the scene. The family vehicle, a red 2001 Kia Sephia, with a Missouri license plate is also missing. We do not know at this time when this may have occurred. Anyone with information regarding any of this is asked to call the TIPS hotline at 816-474- TIPS (8477). We are issuing an Amber Alert for her at this time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

K-9 cop named parade co-grand marshal


A decorated canine officer will serve as co-Grand Marshal of Kansas City’s 36th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Parade organizers wanted to honor the strong Irish heritage in the Kansas City Police and Fire departments, so they asked each organization to pick someone they felt best represented them (Irish or not). For his numerous acts of valor and excellent police work, KCPD selected Officer David Magruder. He and his canine partner Soty will lead the parade March 17, along with Firefighter Louis “Scooter” Martin, on its new route through Midtown.

Officer David Magruder joined the Kansas City Missouri Police Department in March 1997 after serving 10 years in Missouri sheriff’s departments. Officer Magruder has won numerous awards during his time with the KCPD. Some of his most recent awards include:

* A Certificate of Commendation in June 2007. In that incident, a man wanted in a murder and car-jacking fired 30 rounds at a Kansas City police officer, wounding him during a traffic stop. The shooter fled on foot. Officer Magruder and Soty found and arrested the suspect.

* In August 2008, Officer Magruder earned one of KCPD’s highest honors, the Distinguished Service Medal. Officer Magruder witnessed a teenager crash his car off the side of a bridge over a major highway. The car was engulfed in flames and dangling over the highway, hanging onto the bridge by one tire. Officer Magruder helped put out the fire and rescue the teen.

* Then in September 2008, Officer Magruder earned another Certificate of Commendation. This time, he and Soty found a suspect who had killed his girlfriend in Independence and kidnapped her 4-month-old baby.

Officer Magruder and Soty are certified by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the pair won the 2007 National Police Dog Association’s Bomb Dog Competition, making them the best canine bomb team in the nation. In 2008, the German Shepherd Club of Greater Kansas City honored them as the K-9 Team of the Year.

For more information on Kansas City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, visit

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Officers awarded medals for heroics

Our officers do heroic things every day you may never hear about. We just gave one of the department’s highest honors – the Distinguished Service Medal – to the officers involved in a perilous incident that happened August 5, 2008. At about 9 p.m. that night, a teenager was trapped in a burning car that was dangling off a bridge over a highway. Here’s the story:

Officer David Magruder was going west on 63rd Street past 71 Highway when he heard what sounded like a loud crash behind him. He turned around and saw a car hanging off the bridge at 63rd Street over 71 Highway. The car’s engine compartment was on fire. Officer Magruder asked for additional officers, then grabbed his fire extinguisher and climbed down the embankment to get below the car to try to control the fire.

Officers Jon Krueger and Mike Satter were the next to arrive on scene. Officer Krueger joined Officer Magruder below the dangling car and attempted to put out the fire. Officer Satter jumped onto the rail of the bridge to contact the vehicle’s only occupant – a teenage male driver. The boy was hysterical, and Officer Satter tried to calm him because he feared his movements inside the car might make it fall off the bridge. The smoke was so thick inside the vehicle that Officer Satter could not see the driver’s head.

Officer Zach Weinzatl arrived next and began to fight the car fire with Officers Krueger and Magruder. All the while, the officers were below the flaming car, knowing it could fall on them. The car was hanging from the bridge by one wheel.

Sergeant James Knueppel came on scene and ordered 71 Highway northbound shut down in case the car fell off the bridge. At about this time, the teen driver could no longer take the smoke inside the car and tried to get out. Fearing the boy would tumble onto the highway below, Officer Satter leaned over the bridge and pulled the teen out of the car to safety. MAST ambulances arrived and treated the driver for smoke inhalation and took him to a nearby hospital. Fire department crews then came on scene and put out the car fire.

Without these officers putting their own lives at risk to stop the fire and pull the driver from the car, that young man could have died that night. Fortunately, he did not, and none of the officers was injured.

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