Friday, July 31, 2009

Police seek woman missing since Wednesday

UPDATE: Ms. Beeks was located early Saturday morning. She told officers she is in good health.

Police are looking for 40-year-old Jossette J. Beeks, a black female who is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 156 pounds. She has black hair, brown eyes and was last seen wearing a light-blue T-shirt, blue and white checkered shorts and flip flop shoes. She was driving a gold 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee with temporary tags. She left the area of 12th and Woodland at 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, to go to Speedy's at 9th and Prospect. She hasn't been seen since.

Ms. Banks is reported to suffer the effects of several strokes and may appear confused or dazed. If you know where she is, call KCPD's Missing Persons Section at 816-234-5136, Ms. Banks' family at 314-243-3695 or 911.

Public invited to National Night Out Against Crime events tomorrow


The Kansas City Missouri Police Department and its community partners will present two, fun-filled National Night Out Against Crime events in different parts of the city tomorrow, Aug. 1. Everyone is invited to attend.

For the first time, the Police Athletic League is sponsoring a Night Out Against Crime event and open house from 2 to 7:30 p.m. at the PAL Center at 1801 White Ave. And KCPD’s two north-of-the-River patrol divisions are joining with Northland Neighborhoods Inc. for the Fifth Annual Night Out Against Crime extravaganza from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Oak Grove Park, 76th and North Troost, Gladstone. The events are part of the National Night Out Against Crime effort, which aims to unite communities in fighting crime and partnering with law enforcement.

PAL EVENT – 1801 White
The public is invited to stop by the PAL Center to check out the new computer lab and community room and enjoy a pasta dinner from 5 to 7:30 p.m. catered by Cosentino’s, Accurso’s Italian Restaurant and Mendolia Sausage. Donations will be accepted to support PAL programs.

In addition to the open house and dinner, the free event will feature:
* Crime prevention, emergency preparedness and information booths by: MAST, CSL Plasma Center, East Patrol Division, Kansas City Missouri School District, ADT Security, Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, D.A.R.E., Salvation Army and C.O.M.B.A.T.
* Police Department displays – Helicopter, Bomb and Arson, Canine, Mounted Patrol and Tactical Squads
* Kansas City Fire Department – Fire safety booth and display
* Free health screenings from the Kansas City Health Department
* Guest speakers – Alvin Brooks and Ossco Bolton
* Carnival games and inflatable attractions from Carnival Times
* Entertainers – Local band, poetry, positive rap and PAL cheerleaders

For more information, call the PAL Center at 241-6816. Other community partners for the event include the Kansas City Crime Stoppers, Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, Farmers Insurance and Kansas City Parks and Recreation.

NORTHLAND EVENT – 76th and North Troost
The 5th Annual Northland National Night Out Against Crime Kick-Off event is a unique crime and drug prevention event that involves the community, businesses and law enforcement together in fighting crime. All aspects of the event are free:

* Food – hot dogs, chips, drinks, snow cones, ice cream, pop, popcorn and cotton candy
* Prizes – a Prize Cube with more than $4,000 in prizes for adults and kids
* Entertainment – classic rock by Midnight Station, clowns, story-telling
* Crime prevention booths: Ident-A-Child, Ident-A-Senior, Fire Department, KCPD Helicopter, Canine, Bomb and Arson and Mounted Patrol units
* Law enforcement officers from: Kansas City, Clay County, Gladstone, Liberty, Claycomo, Pleasant Valley and Riverside

For more information on the Northland event, call 454-2000. In addition to Northland Neighborhoods Inc. and KCPD, other sponsors of this event include Burns Printing, Gladstone Parks and Recreation, Pepsi, Sam’s Club, Target and Wal-Mart.

Last red-light camera goes up today

Just a reminder that the last of the red light cameras installed by the city becomes operational today, July 31.

That camera is at Wornall Road and I-435

There are now a total of 30 cameras at 18 intersections throughout the city. To see the full list, go to the Public Works web site:

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Recognizing the work of the Domestic Violence Section

Last week, I presented our Domestic Violence Section with a Special Unit Citation and two of their leaders, Captain Mark Folsom and Sergeant James Trout, with Meritorious Service Awards. The award specifically covered their accomplishments from 2007 to 2008, but they haven't slowed down. This June, they implemented the Lethality Assessment Program, and they're undertaking other initiatives now in addition to the day-to-day investigation of cases. But here's a description of what they did in 2007 and 2008 that merited them the awards:

These two years were full of major accomplishments for the Domestic Violence Section, all of which aimed to better protect Kansas City’s victims of domestic abuse.

Three additional detectives joined the Domestic Violence Section during this time. Two were in response to a manpower study that said more detectives were needed on Watch I. The third was part of a $250,000 grant the Section secured in 2007 from the federal Office of Violence against Women. It not only paid for a detective to proactively work on domestic violence issues but also funded a bilingual victim advocate from the Rose Brooks Center to come work in the Section.

Another major project the Section completed was a study with the Kansas City Community Health Improvement Program to determine the cost of domestic violence in Kansas City in one day. This study revealed that about $58,000 is spent per day, including law enforcement hours and shelter housing.

Sergeant James Trout and Captain Mark Folsom also realized that photographic evidence for domestic violence cases was decreasing, and prosecutions suffered. So in 2008, they led the charge to outfit all patrol cars with digital cameras to better document evidence of domestic abuse. The cameras also will serve to collect evidence on other types of investigations, as well.

Captain Folsom and Sergeant Trout also helped write a new city ordinance that the City Council passed in October 2008. The Violation of Order of Protection Ordinance required a great deal of coalition building and getting support from all domestic violence shelters and service organizations, city and county prosecutors, judges, and the City Council. The ordinance allowed city prosecutors to charge violations of orders of protection instead of submitting the cases to state prosecutors, where they often slipped through the cracks. Before the ordinance, just 27 percent of violations of full orders of protection cases were prosecuted. Prosecution rates are now up to 69.4 percent. Perpetrators are now found guilty about 64 percent of the time, with the most common sentence being 180 days in jail plus two years of probation.

In addition to all of these projects, members of the Domestic Violence Section have cut down the time it takes to complete a case in which suspects were not arrested at the time of occurrence to less than 90 days, despite the fact that their number of cases has increased by about 1,200 per year over the past two years. They also meet regularly with domestic violence service organizations and are researching best practices for investigating elder abuse cases.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Victim identified in E. 29th St. homicide

On Tuesday, July 28, at about 10:15 p.m., Kansas City police were called to the 2300 block of East 29th Street in regard to a shooting. Upon arrival, the victim was located in the apartment hallway with no signs of life. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim has been identified as 34-year-old Tyrone L. Collins of Kansas City, Mo. Witnesses say a white male fled the scene in a white Ford Taurus immediately after the shooting.

There are no suspects in custody and detectives ask anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816.474.8477.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

KCPD receives $8.3 million grant to hire officers


Today, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department was informed that it will receive $8.36 million to hire up to 50 police officers from the COPS Hiring Recovery Program.

“This is an incredible relief,” Chief Corwin said. “We can now retain the 28 recruits who are set to graduate from the Police Academy on August 6 and hire more officers beyond that.”

The grant funds the pay and benefits of 50 officers for three years, with the Department agreeing to retain those officers after the grant expires. Only a few other cities in the country received their full request for funding for 50 officers.

Vice President Joe Biden announced the $1 billion in grant awards this morning. They come from the federal stimulus bill to create and/or preserve nearly 5,000 law enforcement positions. Nearly 7,300 applications requesting more than 39,000 officers and $8.3 billion in funds were submitted to the COPS (Community-Oriented Policing Services) Office of the U.S. Department of Justice. Up to $1 billion in grant funding was appropriated for this initiative through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“I’m very pleased the Department of Justice recognized Kansas City’s need to keep law enforcement officers on the street,” Chief Corwin said. “Crime rates and response times have fallen dramatically in recent years in response to a larger police force, and we want to continue to move forward.”

To make up for an $85 million total shortfall in the city budget, the Kansas City Council cut $15 million from the police department budget. This prompted KCPD to implement a hiring freeze and offer early retirement incentives, which reduced the force by 61 officers from this point last year.

For more information, check out the COPS Web site.

Be part of the Citizens Police Academy

Have you ever wondered what it’s like inside of a Tactical Squad armored vehicle? Or how crime scene investigators dust for fingerprints? Or what kind of firearms training officers go through? Or do you just want to know more about how the Kansas City Police Department works? Then you should sign up for the fall session of KCPD’s Citizens Police Academy.

This free, 10-week course starts Sept. 10 and meets every Thursday evening for a few hours at our state-of-the-art police academy at 6885 NE Pleasant Valley Road. Participants also take field trips to places like the Helicopter and Canine Units, Bomb and Arson Unit and the Kansas City Regional Crime Laboratory. Experienced police officers and instructors offer briefings, demonstrations, and engage in frank discussions about police operations with class participants. All participants also will go on a ride-along with a patrol officer.

Topics covered during the Citizens Police Academy include overviews of our department structure, information on police recruiting and training and hands-on workshops in various areas. Some of the areas explored include:

Accident Investigation

Bomb & Arson
Criminal Investigations
Firearms Training
Helicopter Unit
Hostage Negotiation
K-9 Unit
Narcotics Investigations
Police Dispatch - 911 Service
Tactical Response Teams
Vice Investigations

The Citizens Police Academy operates on the premise that informed, educated residents will be more supportive of police officers and promote safety in their communities. Admission to the program is open to anyone 18 or older who has a good standing in the community and is a resident of or works in the City of Kansas City, Mo. Each applicant must pass a thorough background investigation.

I encourage you to apply now because the class fills up quickly. You can download the application
HERE and follow the instructions for submitting it on the form.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Homicide at 31st and Agnes

At approximately 3 a.m. Sunday, July 26, police were called to the area of 31st and Agnes in regard to a shooting. Upon arrival, a black male shooting victim was located in a vehicle with no signs of life. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses say the suspect is a black male who was last seen running southbound on Agnes.

The victim has been positively identified as 35-year-old Aaron R. Powell of Kansas City, Mo. There are no suspects in custody and detectives ask anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Thank you, MODOT Motorist Assist and Emergency Response

On Friday, I gave a Certificate of Appreciation to some folks who have saved police hundreds of thousands of man-hours and kept area drivers safe. You've probably seen them around on area highways, helping motorists stuck in a bind. The responsiveness of the Missouri Department of Transportation's Motorist Assist and Emergency Response crews has been invaluable to KCPD.

Motorist Assist crews routinely handle calls that would otherwise necessitate a police response, such as stranded motorists and road obstructions. Sergeant William Mahoney said officers also rely upon them to assist police and help with traffic control at crash scenes. In 2008 alone, MODOT’s Motorist Assist program handled 12,141 calls for service in Kansas City. That's just amazing.

Emergency Response crews have saved the department countless hours by responding to major crash scenes in place of officers. Sergeant Mahoney said they also bring superior lighting and warning equipment to improve the margin of safety at crash scenes. They responded to 1,616 incidents on Kansas City highways last year.

Leading these efforts is Kansas City Region Incident Coordinator William "Rusty" James. Sergeant Mahoney said, “Rusty James has set the current tone of cooperation and helpfulness for which these MODOT crews have become known.”

So thank you, MODOT Motorist Assist and Emergency Response Crews. Kansas City highways and the people who drive them are much safer because of the work you do.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

KCPD to change take-home car policy as result of internal audit


The Kansas City Missouri Police Department will revise its take-home-car policy and revoke the take-home status of 60 vehicles in response to an internal audit released at today’s Board of Police Commissioners’ meeting.

The Department’s Internal Audit Unit does an annual review of take-home cars to determine who is using them, how much fuel they used and whether they are being used according to policy. The last audit, completed in August 2008, revealed a 7.3 percent increase in the take-home fleet from 2007 to 2008. It also showed some of those vehicles had fuel usage that was above the Department average. Auditors began to examine the reasons for the increase and found that the self-reporting process for take-home cars is flawed, and not all vehicles being operated as take-home cars were being properly reported.

In response to this audit, Chief James Corwin asked the Internal Audit Unit to physically verify the location of all the department’s 1,000-plus vehicles, including bicycles, trailers and specialty vehicles like Tactical Unit tanks. This audit was released at the Board of Police Commissioners’ July 9 meeting and is available at Chief Corwin wanted that audit completed before the release of the August 2008 Take-Home Vehicle Audit, which is now available on the department’s Web site.

In response to both of the audits, Chief Corwin ordered that 60 of the take-home vehicles have their take-home status revoked. This will save an estimated $178,080 to $179,400 a year. He also ordered the policy regarding take-home vehicles to be revised, a task which is now underway. He further has requested a follow-up audit in February 2010 to ensure the reductions in the take-home fleet and conformity to the Department’s policy.

“I’m grateful to our Internal Audit Unit for seeing that a problem existed with take-home vehicles and doggedly working to find out why,” Chief Corwin said. “This is an excellent example of our commitments to be transparent and to be good stewards of taxpayers’ money. When we have a problem, we let the public know about it, and we fix it.”

The full audit report is available here.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Police horses cheer hospital-bound girl

Staff from Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics joined with officers from KCPD’s Mounted Patrol Section to bring a patient some much-needed joy this morning.

For six weeks, 12-year-old Jordan Bunnell from Dodge City, Kan., has been awaiting a liver transplant at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, Mo. The Children’s Mercy Child Life Staff quickly learned Jordan was an avid horse lover and missed her horse in western Kansas. To help, the staff helped her decorate her hospital room with pictures of horses. But they wanted to do more.

“She misses playing with her horses, so our Child Life staff brainstormed ways to make this wish come true,” said Jessica Salazar, Children’s Mercy’s Media Relations Manager.

They soon learned about KCPD’s Mounted Patrol Section. Sergeant Joey Roberts said he jumped at the chance to bring some of the Section’s horses to the hospital to let the patient interact with them. Hospital staff cleared the visit with the patient’s medical team, and Jordan met three Mounted Patrol officers and their horses at 10:30 a.m. today. Jordan's dad said the event brought her joy and was the next-best thing to seeing her own horse.

Sergeant Roberts invited Jordan and her family to come visit the Mounted Patrol stables to meet all nine of KCPD's horses as soon as she feels up to it.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Victim identified in 3300 block of Jackson homicide

At about 8 p.m. July 21, police were called to a residence in the 3300 block of Jackson. Upon arrival, officers located a man lying in the front yard suffering from an apparent gun shot wound.
The victim has been positively identified as 29-year-old Marcus Yarbrough, a black male of Kansas City, MO.

Witnesses said the victim and an elderly man were inside the residence involved in an argument prior to the shooting. Yarbrough and the elderly man (who is in his 80's) lived together in the home, but are not related. Apparently the two were arguing, and witnesses were unable to diffuse the situation that led to the shooting.

Update on motorcycle fatalities

Another motorcycle fatality yesterday means we're now at our highest death rate for motorcycle accidents this decade, and the year is just barely half over. I blogged about it last week. Ten people have now died in Kansas City motorcycle crashes.

A 53-year-old Kansas City man crashed at 3:39 p.m. July 21 at 112th St. and North Congress. Investigation revealed that the victim had been southbound on Congress on a motorcycle when the driver of an SUV pulled out eastbound from a stop sign in an attempt to turn left onto northbound Congress. The victim struck the left side of the SUV, and was transported to an area hospital with critical injuries. He died a short time later.

As a motorcycle rider myself, I urge you to please be careful out there.

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Agenda for Friday's Board of Police Commissioners Meeting

Board of Police Commissioners Meeting
Agenda – Friday, July 24, 2009

9:00 a.m. – 6th Floor, Board Room

1. Call to Order – Invocation – Pastor John Miles.

2. Awards and Commendations.

Certificate of Appreciation
MODOT Motorist Assist and Emergency Response

Ceremonial Baton
William “Rusty” James
MODOT Incident Coordinator

Life-Saving Award
Officer Bryan Gregory

Special Unit Citation
Domestic Violence Section

Meritorious Service Award
Captain Mark Folsom and Sergeant James Trout

Meritorious Service Award
Officer Jay McCune

3. Crime Stoppers Report.

Chief Richard Easley

4. Kansas City Parks and Recreation.
Mr. John Fierro
Mr. Mark McHenry

5. Approval of Minutes
a. June 10, 2009 Business Session.
b. June 23, 2009 Board Meeting.

6. Mr. Gary White, City Auditor

a. Monthly Status Report.
b. Citizen Survey Begins.
c. General Discussion.

7. Councilwoman Cathy Jolly - Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhoods.

8. CIMO Report.
Mr. Eric Bosch

9. Ms. I. Pearl Fain – Office of Community Complaints.

a. General Discussion.

10. Chief James Corwin
a. Blueprint for the Future.
b. Budget Update FY 2010.
c. General Discussion.

11. Deputy Chief Nick Nichols – Executive Officer.

a. Monthly Report OCC Investigations.
b. Take Home Car Audit, Mr. Tom Gee.
c. General Discussion.

12. Deputy Chief Cyril Ritter – Patrol Bureau.

a. Crime Summary
b. Performance Report.
c. General Discussion.

13. Deputy Chief Kevin Masters – Investigations Bureau.
a. Arrest Summary.
b. General Discussion.

14. Deputy Chief Rachel Whipple – Administration Bureau.

a. Personnel Summary.
b. Attorney General “Vehicle Stops Reports.”

15. Deputy Chief Darryl Forte´ – Executive Services Bureau

a. Board Resolutions and Signature Cards.
b. Acceptance of the Kansas City Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force 2010 Grant.
c. MCSAP 2008 Contract Amendment.
d. U.S. Marshal Fugitive District Task Force Grant.
e. Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Donation.
f. Supplemental Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2009-10.
g. Budget Summary Report for the Month of June.
h. FY 10 Budget Implementation Timeline.
i. Jail Consolidation.

16. Ms. Lisa S. Morris.

17. Retirement Study Survey.

18. Public Comments*

19. Scheduled Meetings:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
9:00 a.m., 6th Floor, Board Room

Business Session:

Thursday, August 13, 2009
8:30 a.m., 6th Floor, Board Room

20. Audit Committee Report.

21. Jennifer Atterbury.

22. Chief James Corwin.

23. Mayor Mark Funkhouser.

24. Commissioner Patrick McInerney

25. Commissioner Karl Zobrist.

26. Commissioner James B. Wilson.

27. Commissioner Mark C. Thompson.

28. Motion to go into Closed Session.

29. Informational Items:
a. Status of Public Safety Sales Tax at the end of
b. Donated Property Summary Report.
c. Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) and COPS Hiring

Recovery Program (CHRP) Application Status.
d. KCPD Grant Summary 07/10/09.
e. June 2009 News Coverage.
f. Facility Usage August 2009.
g. PAL/D.A.R.E. Program and Event Calendar.
h. The Police Chief article entitled, “Data-Driven

Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety.”

*The Board will hear Public Comments between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m. unless other matters are required to be considered at that time. Anyone wanting to speak during the Public Comment portion of the meeting is requested to sign in on the “Public Comment Sign-In Sheet” located at the Board room entrance. The Board will hear from members of the public in the order in which they sign the “Public Comment Sign-In Sheet.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Beware of rental scam

Our Fraud Unit is starting to see more of a disturbing scam that is bilking renters and property owners alike, and we want the public to be aware of it so you can ensure your rental agreements are legitimate.

The scam starts with legitimate property owners posting a for-rent listing on real estate web sites or community bulletin board-type sites. Bad guys take the information from the ad and then repost it with their own contact information. Potential tenants end up contacting the bad guys instead of the real property owners. The bad guys arrange for the victims to actually move into the home and collect a deposit and rent from them. When the real landlord shows up to check on property they assume is vacant, they are surprised to find someone living there. The victims tell the legitimate landlord that they signed a contract and paid rent by cash or check to the individual who leased them the property originally. When the property owner contacts the police to find the fake landlord, the bad guy is long gone – with the tenants’ money. So the real property owner is stuck with tenants who aren’t paying them any rent, and the tenants could face being evicted from their home through no fault of their own.

We’ve received reports of these fake landlords breaking windows to get into homes and changing locks so they can show them to potential tenants as if they were the real owners. Some victims have reported that they showed up at a rental house, and the scammer claimed to have forgotten the key and only showed them pictures of what the inside of the house was supposed to look like. Yet the victims still agreed to rent the property.

To avoid being scammed like this, our Fraud Unit offers the following tips:

* Deal only with reputable rental or real estate agencies.
* Sign any contracts at an office, not in the front yard of the rental residence.
* Don’t trust everything you see on the Internet. Have a healthy skepticism about deals that could be potential scams.
* Property owners should check on their properties regularly or hire someone to do so if they don’t live in the area.
* Report any suspicious behavior to the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

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Monday, July 20, 2009

The information we need to commit to a regional jail

Today I delivered a request for proposal to City Manager Wayne Cauthen and Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders about the new regional jail. This document outlines the needs of the KCPD in a new jail and requests the information we’ve been asking for all along – like who the project manager is supposed to be. You can see my letter to the City Manager here, and the request for proposal here.

Some city and county officials have said the police department has unnecessarily stalled the regional jail project, and the Jackson County Legislature voted last Monday to move the project forward without our involvement. I can assure you that our reticence on this matter is not over trivial details. It is about effectively protecting the people of this city from violent criminals who should be in custody.

Nearly everyone who goes to jail in Kansas City comes through the police department’s detention facilities first. It is our duty to assure that these inmates are kept securely and that their physical needs are met. We also are responsible for booking all inmates, assuring they are safely transported to court and other facilities and assuring that investigators have access to inmates to question them. To date, no one has told us how any of this will be handled in the new jail. Our request for proposal asks for things as basic as a flowchart showing how an inmate will be booked, secured and transported. Because if this is not done correctly, public safety could be jeopardized, and the police department will be held responsible.

I hope you understand why it is absolutely vital for us to know the answers to these questions. It is not a matter of being uncooperative or trivial; it is a matter of safety. As much as I want to get out of the jail business, I cannot, with good conscience, jump into a project like this without knowing things as simple as whether the new facility can handle as many arrests as KCPD’s current facility or whether there will be enough computers for officers to book inmates.

I invite you to read our request for proposal for yourself so you can see the kinds of questions we need to have answered before joining in the regional jail project. We have requested responses from the County and the City by Sept. 4.

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Stray bullet kills woman at 34th and Troost

UPDATE: The victim has been identified as 38-year-old Lynn Glover of Kansas City, Mo.

Officers were called early Sunday morning at about 1:21 a.m. to 34th and Troost to investigate a shooting. Upon arriving, officers discovered two people who had been shot (a male and a female in their early 30's). The female was pronounced dead at the scene and the male was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries. The initial report is that two vehicles were driving south on Troost shooting at each other. In the area of 34th Street and Troost, the male and female were hit by the stray gunfire.

There were a few calls about gunfire in the area prior to the homicide. Those calls were locations near where the victims were found. Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hot Line at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Woman killed on way home from theater

Officers were called to the area of 59th and 71 Highway at about 11:24 p.m. Friday, July 17, to investigate the sound of shots being fired. While they were on the way to the call, the officers received a call about a shooting at the same location. When the officers arrived on the scene, they discovered a female in her 40's who had been shot. The female was riding in a gold Dodge Durango on 71 highway. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. It appears the woman may have been shot by a stray round from the original shots fired call.

The victim has been identified as 45-year-old Deanna Lieber, a white female of Lawrence, Kan. The victim (driver) was traveling home to Lawrence with her 13-year-old daughter in the front passenger seat and mother in-law in the back seat. They had just attended a show at Starlight Theater. It appears she was struck by the random gunfire that had been reported in the area. Calls about the shots came from as far away as 59th and Walrond.

There is no suspect information and anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Two homicide victims found in car with loud music identified

Officers were called Friday morning at 12:05 a.m. to the area of 10th and Garfield to investigate the sound of loud music coming from a car. When the officers arrived, they located the vehicle near 11th and Garfield in the parking lot of an apartment complex. When the officers looked inside the car, they found two males dead.

The victims have been identified as 19-year-old Richard Sanders (bottom picture) and 20-year-old Kevin Todd (top picture), both of Kansas City, Mo.

The car they were found in is a gray, late 80's early 90's, Ford Crown Victoria. Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS hotline.

"De-Civilianization" hurts policing

The Police Executive Research Forum put out a great article in their June newsletter with arguments that echo many of the same ones we made during budget discussions earlier this year.

I hope you can peruse the whole article, “De-Civilianization of Policing: A Big Step Backwards,” here (it’s on p. 2):

I wanted to mention some of the highlights that PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler writes in this column:

“I don’t know how many newspaper stories I have seen about city councils and mayors saying to their communities, ‘Unfortunately, the economy is so bad, we even need to cut our police department. But don’t worry, we won’t lay off any officers – just civilians.’

“What a lot of politicians may not realize is that this amounts to reversing one of the long-term trends in the professionalization of policing.”

Wexler also says, “What will happen when civilian positions are eliminated, as most chiefs will tell you, is that the work that was done by these civilians will not go undone. Chiefs will end up taking officers or command-level personnel off the street and putting them where civilians were.”

The KCPD is down 57 civilians from where we were at this point last year.

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Red light cameras go live at two intersections today

Just a reminder that red light cameras will become operational at two intersections today:

* U.S. Highway 71 and Red Bridge Road
* Bannister Road and I-435.

For more information on the program, check out:

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Police Athletic League and Concentra partner to offer free physicals to kids


The Police Athletic League (PAL) and Concentra Medical Centers will team up Saturday to offer free physical examinations for inner-city children.

About 80 PAL members ages 8 to 18 are expected to be seen by two doctors and about eight other Concentra staff members from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at the medical center at 200 Southwest Boulevard. Children will be transported from the PAL Center at 1801 White to Concentra. All current PAL members and any children who want to join PAL are welcome. Those interested in joining can call 816-482-8792 to sign up.

Concentra is donating its services. The physicals they will receive typically cost about $25 each. The physicals will conform to the standards of the Missouri State High School Activities Association and can be used for participation in those activities. Each child will be seen by a physician and have a medical history and vital signs taken. The PAL children also will have their height and weight measured, receive vision tests and other medical examinations.

Concentra is the Kansas City Police Department’s occupational healthcare provider. Steven Thompson, Concentra’s Downtown Center Operations Director, said he thought donating physicals to the children served through the Police Athletic League would be a great opportunity to serve the community.

“I’ve been familiar with PAL for a long time, and it’s a great program,” Thompson said.

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Deadly year for Kansas City motorcyclists

Nearly one-fourth of Kansas City’s traffic fatalities this year have involved motorcycles – 24 percent, to be exact. This statistic is especially troubling considering that there are 39 passenger cars or trucks for every one motorcycle registered in this state, according to the Missouri Department of Revenue. So why are motorcyclists making up such a disproportionate number of our traffic deaths? That’s a question I wish I had an answer to.

Our latest motorcycle fatality happened just after midnight Tuesday on Southwest Trafficway at Westport Road. A 32-year-old man was found dead in the median after his motorcycle had apparently hit a light pole. His is the ninth Kansas City motorcycle death this year, which puts us on track to have the most motorcycle deaths in a decade. The year 2003 had 10 deaths for the entire year and had been the highest one (see above graph).

Amazingly, all but one of these deceased motorcyclists this year was wearing a helmet. One, however, was wearing a small, skull-cap-type helmet that was not approved by the Department of Transportation. Even with helmets, however, motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than regular vehicles. Per mile traveled in 2006, a motorcyclist was 37 times more likely to die in a crash than persons riding in a passenger car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And in Missouri, 80 percent of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death.

Our traffic investigators have determined the following factors in this year’s motorcycle fatalities so far:

Speed – a factor in five crashes
Car failed to yield to motorcyclist – a factor in two crashes
Motorcyclist’s inattention – a factor in one crash.

Some of these overlap, such as one in which a speeding motorcyclist ran into a car that failed to yield. Not all causes have yet been determined, and results of DUI tests are pending on some.

We urge motorcyclists to please be careful. Your life is at stake. And we urge all drivers to keep an eye out for these motorcycles. You outnumber them 39 to 1. Please go to this link for some great safety tips:
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

20-year-old missing

Police are looking for 20-year-old Derrick A. Cooper, who was last seen at 2306 Montgall Ave. yesterday, July 14. He left that address on foot between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m., and his destination was unknown. Derrick is a black male with black hair and brown eyes who is 6 feet 1 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black shirt, red shorts and black shoes. Derrick reportedly is unable to care for himself and may become violent without medication. If you have any information about Derrick's whereabouts, call KCPD's Missing Persons Section at 816-234-5136 or 911.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homicide at 59th and Indiana

Officers were called to the area of 59th and Indiana at about 12:12 a.m. today to investigate a shooting. When the officers arrived, they discovered a male in his 20's dead in the street. The male had been shot and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim has been identified as 20-year-old Dominique Nelson of Kansas City, Mo. Detectives are following up on leads and ask anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816.474.8477.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

The question of local control

Since 1939, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department has been governed by a Board of Police Commissioners appointed by the governor. The system has worked well ever since, but occasionally the media and others cry out for the police department to be governed by the City, a move they erroneously call “local control.”

I say it’s erroneous because we already have local control. The Police Board is composed entirely of residents of Kansas City – four commissioners appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Missouri Senate – and the Mayor. Most of the commissioners are life-long residents of this city. So, the idea that there's "state" control of the KCPD is wrong. What we do not have is local control by elected politicians who are typically looking to be re-elected or run for higher office and are looking for sources to raise campaign funds.

Except for the Mayor, the four commissioners take an oath of office that removes them entirely from the political process, just like all KCPD employees, who also swear to be removed from politics. We have the best of all worlds – a highly trained police force in which our officers and civilians are barred from engaging in political activity and are governed by a Board that is similarly barred from engaging in political activity. As a result, decisions are made in the best interests of the Police Department and not as a result of political deals.

Similar to the U.S. Armed Forces, Kansas City's law enforcement body is a professional civil service type organization that is respected by all political elements because it is separated from those elements. As a result, both today and in the past, the Department and the Board are not involved in the various political disputes that always seem to involve the City Council, the Mayor and the City Manager. It also allows the Chief of Police to call attention to things that he thinks could be a misuse of police department funds, like when the city’s Capital Improvements Management Office quietly siphoned money from the Public Safety Sales Tax fund to settle a Public Works lawsuit.

I am responsible for the entire police operation, including HR functions, budget, purchasing, and the day-to-day issues of the department. If something is not working, the Chief of Police cannot blame another department head for not providing what he needs. This also makes the system more efficient because I have everything I need to get the job done. Also, few directors of other city departments spend six to eight hours a month in front of their bosses – the City Council. If they do, it’s usually about a specific ordinance that is being discussed. I spend six to eight hours monthly before the Board of Police Commissioners talking about the operational issues of the police department. The board members ask questions and require additional work about many of the issues brought before them.

A common argument against our governance system is that we are one of only two major city police departments in the country to operate this way (St. Louis is the other). Does that mean our system is somehow inadequate? Absolutely not. Our mothers would tell us, “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” Just because everyone is governed in a different way does not make our model bad. Changing the method of governance is a difficult process. A politician who has control of the police is not likely to give up that control. Our corporate governance insulates the Department from much of the politics that plague and paralyze other police departments around the country. As a result, we have been a national model.

Another common argument is that the Board of Police Commissioners was put in place during a time of rampant corruption – the Tom Pendergast era – and that it is no longer necessary because no such corruption exists today. I beg to differ. Since 1990, five Kansas City Council members have been federally indicted while in office on charges such as taking bribes, violating campaign finance laws, and most recently, mortgage fraud. No Kansas City police commissioner ever has been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

While we are not governed by the city, the city does provide the department with funding, and we work very closely with city staff and City Council members to do what is in the best interest of the community we jointly serve. The Mayor sits on the Board of Police Commissioners, and the chair of the City Council’s Public Safety and Neighborhoods Committee has a spot on the agenda at every Board meeting. Police commanders and others regularly attend city meetings and work on joint projects. Some areas in which we have consolidated functions include radio maintenance, parking control, dispatching, and information technology. The city does control the police through the budget.

We are exceedingly transparent: all purchases are public record, and any expenditure $100,000 or higher must be approved by the Board of Police Commissioners in a public meeting. The Board also is the policy-making body. All of these policies are approved in an open meeting and occasionally have public input (such as our Taser, car chase, and medical care policies). No other city agency has such a system of allowing the public to comment and be part of the policy-making process. And unless it could impact an investigation, our crime records are open, too.

Our system has served Kansas City well for more than 70 years. It’s a system that provides the best of all worlds: local control by local residents, accountability to a local government and freedom from politics.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Police seek man missing since Wednesday

Police are looking for 37-year-old Jose L. Velasquez. He left his home near 8900 Manchester Avenue at about 2 p.m. July 8 to run an errand and hasn't been seen since. He could possibly have been headed to around 87th and Blue Ridge. His family fears for his safety.

Mr. Velasquez is an Hispanic male with black hair and dark eyes. He is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds. He was last seen wearing work clothes and driving a 2002 blue Chevy S-10 pick-up truck with Missouri license No. 2PB 265.

If you have any information on Mr. Velasquez's whereabouts, call KCPD's Missing Persons Section at 816-234-5136 or 911.

Mounted Patrol and PAL team up for riding program for inner-city children

This is an article from our monthly Informant newsletter about a fun program we started last month. You can check out the rest of the newsletter at :

Marissa Simons, an 8-year-old who attends Garfield Elementary School, had been near a horse only one time in her life.

“It was a few years ago at a county fair,” she said.

But that changed in June. She chose to participate in the Police Athletic League’s new partnership with the Mounted Patrol that aims to teach inner-city kids how to ride horses.

“I like it,” she said. “They’re really gentle and nice.”

PAL and Mounted Patrol launched the program June 10. More than a dozen children come out to Mounted Patrol’s stables for two hours every Wednesday morning to learn the basics of horses and how to ride them.

“Most of these kids have no exposure at all to horses,” PAL Officer Shawnie Nix said. “ … They really like it. Some are a little scared because the horses are so big and they’re not used to them.”

A different group of children is supposed to come every week, but some kids, like Marissa, loved it so much they begged to come back.

Mounted Patrol’s stables are located in the Lake of the Woods area of Swope Park. When the facility was constructed in 1999, the grant used to build it stipulated that the occupants would have to offer riding programs to inner-city children. The Mounted Patrol took over the facility in 2006, and the terms of the lease continued to mandate the riding programs, said Sergeant Joey Roberts, supervisor of the Mounted Patrol Section. He said they tried some classes with Parks and Recreation, but they never really took off. So this year, they decided to partner with the children served by the department’s own Police Athletic League.

Mounted Patrol officers first brought the PAL officers over to teach them about horses and horse safety so they could assist the children. The children spend about an hour in class learning horse basics, like how to approach them safely, how horses see (they can't see anything right in front of their faces) and more. They spend the next hour actually riding police horses.

This is just a prelude to a bigger program, Sergeant Roberts said. The PAL officers will pick the 10 children they think show the most interest and aptitude to participate in a more advanced horsemanship course this fall. Through eight lessons, those children will learn about how to care for and ride a horse. Their instructors will be Mounted Patrol officers.

“We’ll start from the ground up,” Sergeant Roberts said. “We’ll teach them how to tack a horse. We’ll teach them how to walk and trot. Some may even be able to canter.”

Officer Nix said she hopes the program has a positive impact on the children.

“We always say, ‘If you can reach one kid,’” she said. “If one kid comes out of this and turns out to want to be a veterinarian or something like that, it’s worth it.”
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Thursday, July 9, 2009

South Patrol, Hickman Mills Prevention Coalition host Ruskin meet and greet Friday


Officers from the South Patrol Division, other KCPD units and members of the Hickman Mills School District’s Prevention Coalition will meet with residents Friday to get to know them and talk about current crime trends and safety tips.

The event will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 10, at Ruskin Way Park, 113th Street and Ruskin Way. In addition to officers from the South Patrol Division, officers and their animal partners will be present from the Canine and Mounted Patrol sections. Bomb and Arson Section personnel also will be there.

The meet and greet is happening to address ongoing crime trends in the Ruskin area. Officers want to get acquainted with area residents and business people, as well as pass out information and tell residents how to stay safe and take back their neighborhood.

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Kansas City Police release audit on vehicle fleet


The Kansas City Missouri Police Department’s Internal Audit Unit released an audit today of the status of the department’s vehicle fleet.

Internal auditors were tasked with finding where all 1,030 department vehicles were assigned and their condition. This audit included bicycles, motorcycles, trailers, leased under-cover vehicles, specialty vehicles and more.

Auditors found several record-keeping problems that arose from low-level self reporting, redundant paper-based systems and a frequent reassignment of vehicles.

The audit found the average life span of a KCPD vehicle is eight years, and the average KCPD vehicle has 140,000 miles on it. It also stated that the fleet’s condition is not as good as previously believed.

“The ability of the Fleet Operations Unit to extend the average service life of the vehicle fleet has created an externally overly optimistic view of the fleet’s condition,” the audit states in its “Findings” section.

Chief James Corwin requested the fleet status audit after he reviewed the 2008 annual take-home car audit. That audit is still being studied by department commanders and will be released at a later date.

The full audit report is available online at

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Decomposed body in van ruled homicide victim

UPDATE: (07/15/09)The victim has been identified as 50-year-old James L. Rodgers of Kansas City, Mo. Police are still seeking information in the case and ask anyone who has some to call the TIPS Hotline.

At 8:46 a.m. Monday, July 6, officers were called to 40th & Norton in regard to an ambulance call. The caller advised a van had been parked there for several days, and there was a foul odor. Officers responded and observed a decomposing body inside the abandoned van. They originally investigated the incident as a death, but it has now been ruled a homicide. Detectives are still working to identify the body. The victim is a black male in his 50's.

Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline 816.474.8477.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More red light cameras coming

The City of Kansas City, Mo., Public Works Department announced Thursday that July 17 is the target date for activating additional red-light safety cameras at the following intersections:
U.S. Highway 71 and Red Bridge Road
Bannister Road and I-435.

July 24 has been announced as the target date for activating additional red-light safety cameras at the intersections of:
N.E. Barry Road/Missouri Highway 152 and North Flintlock Road
23rd Street and I-435
Bannister Road and U.S. Highway 71.

It is anticipated that three more red-light safety cameras will be activated in late July, bringing the total number of active red-light cameras to 30 and the total number of program intersections to 18. After July, no additional red light cameras are scheduled to be constructed. For more information, go to

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Agenda for Board of Police Commissioners Thursday

1. 8:30 a.m. Business Session
Thursday, July 9
6th Floor Board Room, Police Headquarters
1125 Locust St.

10 a.m. Audit Committee meeting

Thursday, July 9, 2009
same location

2. Ms. I. Pearl Fain – Office of Community Complaints.
a. General Discussion.

3. Chief James Corwin.

a. Blueprint Discussion.
b. FY 10 Budget Implementation Update.
c. General Discussion.

4. Deputy Chief Nick Nichols – Executive Officer.
a. General Discussion.

5. Deputy Chief Cyril Ritter – Patrol Bureau.
a. General Discussion.

6. Deputy Chief Rachel Whipple – Administration Bureau.

a. Performance Standards Agreement, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas City.
b. Attorney General “Vehicle Stops Reports.”
c. General Discussion.

7. Deputy Chief Kevin Masters – Investigations Bureau.
a. General Discussion.

8. Deputy Chief Darryl Forte - Executive Services Bureau.
a. Adjustments to Special Revenue Accounts for Fiscal Year-2009-10.
b. Jail Consolidation Update.
c. General Discussion.

9. Lisa S. Morris – Office of General Counsel.

10. Retirement Study.

11. Future Business Meeting Agenda Items.

12. Ms. Jennifer Atterbury.

13. Chief James Corwin.

14. Mayor Mark Funkhouser.

15. Commissioner Patrick McInerney.

16. Commissioner James B. Wilson.

17. Commissioner Karl Zobrist.

18. Commissioner Mark C. Thompson.

19. Motion to go into Closed Session.

14-year-old killed July 5 identified

At approximately 9:20 p.m. July 5, Kansas City police were called to the area of Linwood and College in regard to a shooting. Upon arrival, officers located a black male in his teens deceased from an apparent gunshot wound. The victim has been identified as 14-year-old William L. Parker, of Kansas City, Kan.

Witnesses say they observed the victim in the driveway and called police. There are no suspects in custody. Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816.474.8477.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Get Me Out of Jail!

I want to get out of the jail business. That is something I have said since I became police chief. Even more important than getting out of the jail business is getting out of the jail business with a plan. No one would begin a large scale project like getting out of the jail business without a plan, yet that is what I am being asked to do.

Talk of a regional jail has been ongoing for some time. The discussion began in earnest in March of 2008 but did not include the police. The initial plan did not include any discussion of the elimination of the jail at Police Headquarters. These plans continued to progress and during the budget discussions in January of this year, it was reported the savings to close the Municipal Correctional Institute (MCI) and house prisoners at the Jackson County Detention Center would save $1 million. Again, no mention is made of closing the jail at Police Headquarters. When the manager submitted his budget to the City Council, no mention was made of closing the jail at Police Headquarters.

Over the next few months, the Public Safety and Neighborhoods committee met several times. During these meetings, the Police Department’s Headquarters detention facility is either not mentioned at all or mentioned only as a passing issue. The newspaper coverage does not make any mention of closing the facility at Police Headquarters. In all of the discussion about the jail issue, the closing of MCI was the issue, not closing the police facility.

Recently, there has been a rush to get a decision from the police to get involved with this project. Currently, we can “house” people in the police facility for close to what we would be charged by Jackson County so our savings would be minimal. We have not been provided with a plan that provides adequate protection of the police interest. We are simply being told to get on board because they claim it will save money. The costs for this project have gone from $1.4 million to $2.1 million and are now at $3.3 million. I believe that in these tough budget times, I owe it to the tax payers of this city to question this project. I would never think of going into business with someone with out a plan. Yet, that is what is being asked of the police department.

The City has already taken $1.5 million from the Capital Improvements Sales Tax fund without the approval of the Board of Police Commissioners and without the knowledge of the police department. Now we are being publicly pressured to join in this partnership and give more money without a concrete plan. What’s worse, we are being blamed for a delay to a project that we were only recently asked to join.

We do not want to dive head first into an empty pool. We just want some water in the pool before we make a big commitment with the tax payer trust and money. Is that too much to ask?

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Reminder: Fireworks not allowed in Kansas City

Independence Day is Saturday, so it’s time to remind the residents of Kansas City, Mo., that fireworks are prohibited in city limits. City Ordinance 26-3309.1 states, “Except as hereinafter provided, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess, keep, offer for sale, sell at retail, use or explode any fireworks in the city.”

The exception stated in that code is for permitted, professional, public displays, of which there will be several for you to enjoy. The Kansas City Star has rounded them up from all over the metro here:

There is a very good reason the city does not allow the personal use of these explosives. Within the last couple of weeks, KCPD already has responded to two fireworks casualties. One involved a young adult who lost at least one finger. In the other, an adult taped several powerful explosives together and threw them into the air while they were lit. They came apart, and one fell down and hit an 8-year-old child in the face. The boy may lose sight in one eye, and his ear drum burst, which could leave him with permanent hearing loss. He also will likely have scarring from the burns.

In 2008, the Kansas City Fire Department reports that it responded to 11 fireworks-related incidents. Ten of them were between June 29 and July 9. One caused $400,000 in damage. Several people lost $25,000 worth of property from fires caused by fireworks. These happened in all kinds of areas – occupied and vacant homes and apartments, detached garages and in open spaces.

Even seemingly innocent things like sparklers can have huge consequences. They burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about six times as hot as the temperature needed to boil water. That can cause serious third-degree burns. The National Fire Protection Association has more information about the dangers of fireworks here:

Police called to fireworks complaints this weekend will confiscate fireworks, and our Bomb and Arson Unit will destroy them.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Police vehicles: purchase and storage

The average Kansas City Police Department vehicle has 140,000 miles on it, according to an internal audit of our fleet conducted in February. And those are 140,000 hard, stop-start, sirens-blaring miles. Many people trade in their cars long before they reach that point. In fact, many police agencies auction off their vehicles at 77,000 miles. But we feel it’s fiscally responsible to keep ours for as long as possible. Many are well over the 200,000-mile mark. We must be in a constant cycle of replacing these vehicles so that officers can respond to 911 calls as quickly as possible in a functioning, safe and reliable car. The safety of the community is dependent upon our fleet’s reliability.

In the 2008-09 fiscal year, the police department requested $4.5 million from the city to begin replacing our aging, high-mileage fleet. The city gave us $1 million. So we bought what we could. But then a pleasant surprise happened. Gas prices dropped precipitously. Near the end of the 08-09 fiscal year, we realized a savings of close to $1 million. We notified the city’s Budget Office of these anticipated savings and informed them we would be using the money to purchase more vehicles (at the cost of about $21,000 each), with the approval of the Board of Police Commissioners. We knew the budget would be grim for this FY 09-10 fiscal year and that purchasing any cars at all would be unlikely. So we wanted to use what money we had to get the cars when we could. The money could not be carried over into the next fiscal year and thus could not fund the salaries of any officers. We did not return this money to the city because they under-funded our vehicle purchase budget by $3.5 million in the first place.

The members of the Board of Police Commissioners unanimously approved these vehicle purchases in their public meeting. The purchase was an item on the agenda sent to all media outlets and posted on the department’s Web site, There was nothing secretive about it. An article on the front page of the Kansas City Star today states that the Board of Police Commissioners’ president was unavailable for comment. However, that reporter did interview the Board’s vice president, Karl Zobrist. Mr. Zobrist indicated that he and all of his fellow board members did indeed approve of the vehicle purchase. He told the reporter it was “good management.” The reporter chose not to put this in his story, and we feel it was an important omission.

The reason the new cars are in storage is because city budget cuts have reduced our Communication Support Section’s staff by almost 50 percent. This section is in charge of installing all equipment on police cars, including radios, computers, light bars, rifle racks and more. Nearly half of the employees there retired in May through an early retirement program we were forced to offer due to our budget being cut $15 million. Due to our hiring freeze, we cannot fill their positions. Communication Support technicians can now only outfit three to four cars a month with all of their needed police equipment. They pull them out of the storage facilities as soon as they can get to them, and the vehicles are deployed to the fleet as soon as they’re ready. Communications Support technicians also have to handle all repairs to equipment for the entire city including our fleet, the Fire Department, Public Works, the Airport and other non-public safety agencies within the city.

We did not authorize photos to be taken of the cars in storage because they are in a non-public area, and we are concerned about the safety of our assets. Many areas of the police department are not accessible to the public for safety reasons, including the Crime Lab, jail, under-cover operations and other areas. This was a similar situation.

In conclusion, this police department is committed to transparency. It’s one of our Critical Values. The purchase of these vehicles and the reasons for doing so were very public. We also are committed to the safety of this community. Reliable cars are a big – though rarely thought about – part of that.

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