Thursday, April 29, 2010

Red light camera tickets - then and now

An interesting report was given to our Board of Police Commissioners on Tuesday as an informational item that outlined how many tickets have been issued at intersections with red light cameras during their first three months of operation compared to their most recent three months of operation. The table is below (keep in mind that they started at different times, which is noted). The cameras at 39th Street and Southwest Trafficway have been running the longest - more than a year now - but people continue to get tickets there at about the same rate they did a year ago. Compare that to 169 Highway and N. 68th St., which has seen a 93 percent drop in tickets issued.

Overall, though, the cameras seem to be having an impact on red light-running behavior. Tickets have dropped by 58 percent total.

Camera Location
1st Quarter tickets issued
Last quarter tickets issued
(1-10-10 to 3/31/10)
Percent change
39th & Southwest Trfwy
1,681 (2/1/09 to 4/30/09)
19th & Walnut
51 (6/1/09 to 8/31/09)
27th & Southwest Trfwy
181 (6/1/09 to 8/31/09)
39th & Main
350 (6/1/09 to 8/31/09)
63rd & Prospect
1,003 (6/1/09 to 8/31/09)
79th & Wornall
724 (6/1/09 to 8/31/09)
55th & 71 Highway
6,929 (6/1/09 to 8/31/09)
59th & 71 Highway
1,701 (6/1/09 to 8/31/09)
Gregory & 71 Highway
2,625 (6/1/09 to 8/31/09)
Vivion & N. Oak
451 (6/1/09 to 8/31/09)
Winner Rd. & I-435
927 (6/1/09 to 8/31/09)
23rd & I-435
692 (6/1/09 to 8/31/09)
68th & 169 Highway
2,122 (6/1/09 to 8/31/09)
Red Bridge & 71 Hwy.
3,355 (8/1/09 to 10/31/09)
152 Hwy & Flintlock
1,993 (8/1/09 to 10/31/09)
Bannister & 71 Hwy.
1,597 (8/1/09 to 10/31/09)
I-435 & Wornall
1,070 (8/1/09 to 10/31/09)


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Victim shot Tuesday in 2600 block of Bellefontaine dies

On Tuesday, April 27, at 3:45 p.m., officers were called to the 2600 block of Bellefontaine on a shooting. When they arrived, officers observed one victim lying in the street and one in front of a residence - both suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. Both victims were transported to local hospitals. One victim suffered non-life threatening injuries and the second victim's injuries were considered life-threatening. That victim has now died. He has been identified as 29-year-old Charles Henderson of Kansas City, Mo.

The victims and the suspect were engaged in an altercation shortly before the shooting occurred. The suspect was taken into custody at the scene.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Victim of fatal car crash on 71 Highway identified

At about 2:45 a.m. today, 27-year-old Jermaine T. Banks was one of two people who was traveling in a Pontiac Trans Am, northbound on 71 Highway approaching Red Bridge Road. The Trans Am was apparently traveling at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control of the vehicle, slid across three lanes of traffic, off the east side of the roadway, and then impacted a metal guardrail. Another man in the Trans Am, a 33-year-old man, was ejected from the Trans Am upon impact with the guardrail.

The Trans Am then traveled about 200 to 250 feet before coming to rest in the #2 lane of five northbound lanes at that location. A northbound Mazda 626 rear-ended the disabled Trans Am, causing a second accident at that location, ejecting the listed victim from the struck Trans Am. The two occupants of the Trans Am were taken to an area hospital in critical condition by an ambulance. The driver of the Mazda had minor injuries but refused medical attention. The listed victim Jermaine Banks was later pronounced dead at an area hospital at 3:44 a.m. The 33-year-old man remains in critical condition. This is Kansas City's 16th traffic fatality of 2010 compared to 24 at this date in 2009.

New members appointed to Board of Police Commissioners

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has appointed, and the Missouri Senate has confirmed, two new members for the Kansas City Missouri Board of Police Commissioners. These members will be sworn it at an upcoming board meeting and will replace Karl Zobrist and Mark Thompson, whose terms have expired. The new members are:

Lisa T. Pelofsky: Since 2004, Pelofsky has been the CEO of Pelofsky and Associates, which provides development consultation to local and national non-profit organizations. Previously, she served as director of development and alumni affairs for The Barstow School, and as director of development for the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City. The Governor has appointed her to a term ending March 7, 2012.

Angela Wasson-Hunt: Wasson-Hunt is currently the senior vice president for commercial lending at Lawson Bank, and was director of the Clay County Economic Development Commission from 1998 to 2005. Wasson-Hunt is the founding member of the Police Foundation of Kansas City and a trustee for the Kansas City Police Employees Retirement System. The Governor has appointed her to a term ending March 7, 2014.

Dispatches from Mexico: First week in Morelia

Ten KCPD officers continuing their Spanish immersion in Mexico are now in the city of Morelia, where they will spend the rest of their time taking classes, staying with host families and learning the culture. Here are the latest updates from Sergeant Lionel Colon:

April 22
"We met at the school for a walking tour of Morelia Central. Didn't think Lucia (our professor) could actually walk that fast, only to find out she is fast out of the gate but soon wears out. We passed through the famous water aqueducts, the local cathedral and then to the main cathedral. We also stopped by the partner English Immersion school. The architecture is amazing. We then stopped in the plaza park next to the main cathedral for a rest. After some people-watching, we paid a visit to a nearby hotel top floor to get a bird's-eye view of the center. What a peaceful and relaxing experience. Lucia then flagged taxis for a ride back to the school. Our taxi driver wasn't at all interested in conversing with us in that he refused to respond to any of our salutations. Later we met up again with our host families for a welcome banquet. It was a pleasant time with the host families and other special guests.

People watching.

April 23
"Today, Friday, was our first official day of class. We all walked with our heavy backpacks (and some with the added weight of laundry). We did 2 hours of workbook, 2 hours of converstation, 1 hour of a special speaker from law enforcement. The breaks were scarce, the homework ample, and many of us had to run back to the cell phone store due to complications. So the 2:30 to 3 p.m. lunches were much needed and welcomed. Tonight, we are all undecided on what to do. The concensus is something peaceful at a locale to people watch.

April 24
"Saturday, the team went to Santa Clara, known for its copper artisans. We watched as the elder artisan prepared a block of copper into the first stages of a plate. We also observed a vase in mid-prep. Afterward, we shopped in his store and found some amazing and ornate pieces. Then we spent a little time in the nearby plaza. It was beautiful and relaxing as we mingled among the people.

Watching the copper artisan at work.

Soon thereafter the team set off to Patzcuaro. It was a bit larger and there were many vendors and townspeople about. This area was known for its ice cream. and of course we had our fair shares. Again, as with the former excursions, the architecture was amazing. What was most appreciated in these smaller towns was the peaceful ambiance. Many of us felt the culmination of the lack of rest from travel and found ourselves resting in the plazas and people watching.

Saturday evening we met at the school with Lucia's niece, Sandra, for a taste of World League futbol. The stadium was packed, and the energy was electric. One section bounced and sang to the beat of huge drums for most of the two-hour event. The riot police were in full view, but I didn't see one scuffle. In fact, I witnessed opposing fans talking in a friendly manner and even exchange pleasantries. One thing i did find in common, they know how to tailgate. We made friends in the stands. We stood out and many went out of their way to welcome us and ensure us not to worry because they liked Americans and that the media magnifies negative reports. We practiced our spanish and they their English. that in itself was quite a game, as well.

At the futbol game.

April 25
"The last couple of days were pretty normal. On Sunday, some attended church with their families. Others spent the day relaxing. A few made it to the shopping malls and Wal-Mart to stock up on a few things for the month. All of us at some point completed our tarea - homework, whic consisted of vocabulary exercises and composition.

April 26-27
"Classes on monday and tuesday were action-packed with the introduction of numerous new words, expressions and dialogs. Tuesday afternoon/evening was spent with the Conversation CCL class. The first portion of class was spent rotating with numerous students in their native Spanish language. The second portion was spent speaking English with the students to afford them the same benefit we had with them in the previous conversations. It was time well-spent because there was a wide range of topics discussed. There was a peace in the communication because both their students and ourselves were in the same boat in regard to learning of a second language."

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Woman killed by stray bullet in home identified

At about 9:52 p.m. Monday, April 26, police were called about gunfire in the 11600 block of Holiday in south Kansas City. While they were canvassing the area, they got more information that someone had been shot in the 11800 block of Holiday. Officers fournd 38-year-old Helen Ragan of Kansas City, Mo., dead in her home at 11815 Holiday. Several shots were fired outside Ragan's residence, and detectives believe a stray bullet from that shooting went inside Ragan's home and killed her. Homicide detectives ask anyone with information about the case to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477) or the Homicide Unit at 816-234-5043.

Officer receives Medal of Valor for bravery during acid spill

Officer Jason Findley was driving home from his overnight shift the morning of November 30, 2009, when he came upon an environmental disaster.

It was a little after 7 a.m., and Officer Findley had changed out of his uniform and into street clothes. He was driving his personal car north on Interstate 35 after completing his shift at East Patrol Division. Traffic started coming to a stop as he approached the curvy, temporary lanes in the Paseo Bridge construction zone near Front Street.

Officer Findley saw an overturned tanker truck a short distance in front of him, blocking all lanes of traffic. He called dispatchers and told them a significant traffic jam was possible. He got out of his car to see if he could help the truck’s driver out of the cabin when he saw a vapor cloud coming out of the truck’s tank. He then saw a black sticker on the tank saying the chemicals inside were hazardous. They were later determined to be hydrochloric acid. He realized the chemicals were likely leaking on the ground and creating the vapor, so he called dispatchers to warn emergency responders about the hazardous materials present so they could properly prepare for the spill and take safety precautions.

Despite the danger of being close to the chemicals, and despite being off duty and not in uniform or a police car, and despite having no police equipment available, Officer Findley realized he had to get innocent motorists out of the way so they wouldn’t be harmed by the vapors. Working outside in the chemical’s vapors with no protection, Officer Findley was able to get nearby cars moved out of the way. He began redirecting traffic by putting out and rearranging some of the construction cones located in the area. Then, he cleared a path for responding rescuers so they could get the truck driver out of the truck and to a hospital and begin clean-up of the spill.

After he was relieved by on-duty officers who arrived, Officer Findley left the scene in his car, intending to drive home. But after driving a very short distance, he began to have trouble breathing and swallowing and stopped the car. An ambulance transported Officer Findley to nearby North Kansas City Hospital, where he needed to be decontaminated and treated for respiratory damage caused by the hydrochloric acid fumes. He is now nearly fully recovered from his exposure.

Sergeant Timothy Teague said Officer Findley had nothing available to him at the time of the incident but his training and a take-charge persona. He said, “At any time, Officer Findley could have removed himself from the scene and continued on home using an alternate route without risking his own personal safety. Instead, he exposed himself to potentially debilitating injury to ensure the safe evacuation of innocent people.”

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dispatches from Mexico 2.0

Last year about this time, I told you about a group of six officers who graduated from our 10-week Spanish Immersion program who went on to continue their studies for another five weeks in Mexico. Our latest Spanish Immersion graduation took place April 9, 2010, and this time we were able to send 10 officers to Mexico. They'll be staying with Mexican families there and attending another two college semesters' worth of Spanish courses (they already completed four semesters) in Morelia - Kansas City's sister city in central Mexico. They'll also spend some time with the police there to get a feel for how they operate.

With a growing population of Spanish speakers in Kansas City, it's vital that our officers be able to communicate with them. I've said before that bilingual officers are not a luxury, they're a necessity. Cultural fluency is a must, as well. That's why we do the Spanish immersion program.

Sergeant Lionel Colon will be providing these Dispatches from Mexico updates. He is assigned to our Special Victims Unit. The group flew into Mexico City last Monday, the 19th. They started their visit by taking in some sights around Mexico City with their professor, Lucia:

"Landed safely and have begun our journey. After filling the shuttle with more than enough luggage, we set off to the heart of mexico city to check in to our hotel. After figuring out how to activate the electricity in our rooms, we gathered in the lobby to begin our walking tour. First on the agenda was to sample food at the House of Tiles. The name pretty much says it all - a several-hundred-year-old tile structure with dining and shops. After tantalizing our taste buds, we set off to enjoy the sights and sounds within the downtown district. Probably the most impressive structure was the Cathedral. A reverent place, it was filled with ornate decorations and a solemn atmosphere. We returned for a much needed two-hour siesta before dinner. Or maybe it was just Lucia needing a break from being a transit cop watching our steps while crossing streets..."

Arriving in Mexico City.

Exploring downtown.

The officers at the Pyramid of the Sun.

Then last Tuesday, the 20th, Sgt. Colon sent this update:

"Just spent the day at the Basilica de la Virgin de Guadelupe. that was impressive after having it as a topic in our Spanish class. Then we went through grid-lock traffic to the pyramids. Our guide was a friend of our teacher, and he is the guide to the stars and other VIPs. Afterward, we went to his house to eat. Wow, it was better than the restaurants. After a few demonstrations at the house (the family is that of Indio tribal leaders) we headed back to the hotel. We are beat and ready for rest. Tomorrow I believe we go to the presidential palace, then to a high-level law enforcement academy, then on the 3-hour ride to Morelia."

Basilica de la Virgin de Guadalupe

Officers participating in an Indio ceremony at their guide's home.

Look for more Dispatches from Mexico and photos this week!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Police Athletic League Center gets makeover from Honeywell volunteers Saturday


The Kansas City Police Athletic League (PAL) Center will get a big makeover Saturday thanks to about 150 volunteers from Honeywell International.

Honeywell is partnering with the Christmas in October organization to make repairs to the PAL Center at 1801 White Ave. from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 24. They will repair restrooms, build a concession stand, landscape and improve drainage, make the steps more visible and add railings.

“These repairs are much-needed, and we really appreciate all the people from Honeywell who are coming out to make them,” said Capt. Rex Tarwater, commander of KCPD’s Youth Services Unit.

The PAL Center was constructed in 1960 for the St. Paul School of Theology. The School later sold it to the City, which used it as a community center. When police leased the building in the late 1990s, it was vacant and about to be demolished. PAL raised donations to repair the roof, gym floor and some other items, but a lot of work still remains.

The mission of PAL is to offer youth the opportunity to interact with police officers in a positive setting while participating in cultural, mentoring and sports programs, with the main emphasis placed on academics. At the 1801 White PAL Center, inner-city children participate in everything from tutoring to basketball to boxing to computer classes, all for little to no cost. PAL is a nonprofit organization supervised by KCPD officers.

Honeywell volunteers are part of the company’s community outreach initiative, Honeywell Hometown Solutions. Hometown Solutions focuses on four societal needs that align with Honeywell’s heritage: Family Safety and Security; Housing and Shelter; Science and Math Education, and Habitat and Conservation.

Victim of homicide at 3200 Linwood identified

At about 11:40 a.m. yesterday, April 22, officers were called to 3200 Linwood on a shooting. They found 22-year-old Christopher J. Harris of Grandview, Mo., dead inside the apartment building. Another shooting victim soon turned up at a local hospital, and police think the cases are related. The second victim suffered gunshot wounds but is expected to be released from the hospital soon.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Take Your Child to Work Day

As many of you know, today is Take Your Child to Work Day. I always like to meet the families of our department members, so I set time aside each year on this day to do so. Some of the kids I met are below. We also put together our Mounted Patrol, Canine and Helicopter sections and bring several of our Tactical Team vehicles out for the kids to check out. They're out there right now, and I hope to get some pictures up of those events tomorrow.

My smallest visitor yet and her sister (note that they have matching KCPD shirts).

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Victims of murder-suicide identified

At about 10:06 p.m. Monday, April 19, officers were called to 3818 E. 60th Terr. on a shooting. They found a man and woman dead inside the residence. It was later determined to be a murder-suicide. The victims have been identified as 36-year-old Lorine Greer, a black female, and 47-year-old Marvell Greer, a black male, both of Kansas City, Mo.

Police investigating kidnapping

APRIL 22 UPDATE: Raul Ortiz-Caseres and Regino Vasquez-Martinez have been charged with the kidnapping in Jackson County, Mo. They are still in custody in Fairview Heights, Ill., and will be extradited soon. They are being held on $150,000 bond each.

Raul Ortiz-Caseres

Regino Vasquez-Martinez

At about 1:52 p.m. yesterday, April 20, police were called to an apartment at 3701 Baltimore on a burglary in progress. Upon arrival, they contacted a woman who said she'd gotten a call from her sister, who lived at the apartment. The woman was speaking with her sister, and while on the phone, she said someone was trying to break into her apartment. Then the line went dead. The woman was very concerned and left work to go to her sister's apartment. When she arrived, she found the door to her sister's apartment forced open and her sister was nowhere to be found. She called police.

While police were interviewing the victim's sister, other officers found a nearby witness. He said he saw two Hispanic men force a woman into a brown van and leave. Hours later, the victim's sister got a phone call from the victim. The victim said she was in a McDonald's bathroom, and she'd locked herself inside. She told her sister she'd been kidnapped and was very afraid. After a while, the McDonald's manager unlocked the door to the bathroom. The manager found the victim obviously distraught and on her cell phone. There was a language barrier, so the manager got on the victim's phone and figured out the situation. The manager called police immediately. By that point, the victim and suspects were in Fairview Heights, Ill. Local police arrested the two suspects and located the victim at the McDonald's. The suspects are currently in custody in Fairview Heights. Kansas City detectives are there and are questioning the suspects at this time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Man killed in Armour Blvd. apartment identified

On Sunday evening, April 18, officers were called to 400 East Armour Blvd. to investigate a shooting. Upon arrival, the officers contacted a male in his 20s in the lobby of the apartment building. The male in the lobby told officers he had been shot and that another male was also shot in the doorway of his second-floor apartment. When officers went to the apartment, they found a man dead in the doorway of the apartment. He has been identified as 20-year-old Michael Wilson of Kansas City, Mo.

The male in the lobby is the resident of the apartment.  Preliminarily, it appears the dead man was trying to break into the apartment of the man in the lobby. Detectives continue to investigate.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meeting on youth issues brings stakeholders to the table

If there’s anything today’s meeting of youth advocates taught me, it’s that we have some really smart young adults in this town. When they heard the police were going to facilitate a meeting for youth advocates, four Central High School students called my office last week and said they’d like to come. They told me they’d done a problem-solving exercise at school in which they identified problems facing Kansas City’s youth and brainstormed solutions. I asked to see their presentation, and I was blown away by what they had to say. They were spot-on on several accounts, so I invited them to speak at today’s meeting at Police Headquarters and give their presentation to the larger group.

A little over a week ago, we realized the need to get all the people who advocate and provide services for youth in our city into one place. I approached it much like I did the city’s homelessness issue a few years back. We discovered there were dozens of groups in Kansas City who served the homeless, but they were working separately for the most part. We realized we could do so much more together, so we started a Homelessness Task Force that brought dozens of people to the table who work with the homeless every day in some way or another, including police, hospital staff, shelter leaders and social workers. This group has now morphed into an official City task force and is working to draft policies that we hope will someday eliminate homelessness in Kansas City.

I want to model the process for finding solutions to youth issues after this process. That’s what today was all about: bringing together the people who can identify and solve the problems facing today’s teens and having them work cooperatively. The four students from Central High School were not originally on yesterday’s agenda, but when they called me and explained their message, I knew they were a Godsend that had to be part of this process. Several of the teens at today’s meeting said they hadn’t heard of many of the youth programs represented, and we hope we can change that by bringing them together.

These youth advocacy meetings will continue but will no longer be facilitated by police. With our Police Athletic League and DARE programs we’re a natural partner, but the City is taking the lead from here on out. Thalia Cherry, youth advocate in the City Manager’s Office, is organizing a public focus group at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 22, in the College Basketball Experience at 13th and Grand downtown. City Council Members Cindy Circo and Sharon Sanders-Brooks are drafting a Youth Master Plan for Kansas City. This momentum is very exciting, and I’m looking forward to what can be achieved when those who are passionate about helping kids all come together.

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Man shot early Sunday morning dies

A man shot at 12:33 a.m. Sunday in the 5800 block of Olive has died. He has been identified as 21-year-old Emmanuel Menifield of Kansas City, Mo.

Officers were called to investigate a shooting early Sunday and found five victims outside a home in the 5800 block of Olive. Menifield was one of two victims (males in their 20s) who had life-threatening injuries and were transported to an area hospital for treatment. A 13-year-old boy was transported to an area hospital for treatment of a non-life threatening gunshot injury. The other two victims (a male and female in their 20's) refused treatment at the scene for minor gun shot wounds.
Officers were told a car drove by as the victims were standing around a car parked in the street and fired numerous gunshots at them. The car sped away after the shooting. A vehicle description is not being released at this time.

No suspects are in custody, and detectives ask anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

KCPD shines spotlight on sexual assault awareness in ribbon campaign


The Kansas City Police Department is joining 32 other area law enforcement agencies and the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) to put a spotlight on sexual assault awareness April 19-23.

Officers from the agencies listed below will tie teal ribbons to the spotlights of their patrol cars April 19-23 as part of the Spotlight on Sexual Assault Ribbon Campaign to show support for the victims of sexual violence. The campaign kicked off at 1 p.m. April 19 with a press conference featuring vehicles and representatives from participating law enforcement agencies and commanders of the sex crimes units of the Kansas City Missouri and Overland Park Police Departmentsat the Kansas City Regional Police Academy.
The Ribbon Campaign highlights law enforcement’s commitment to ending sexual violence in the community, in partnership with MOCSA. It’s part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time that recognizes and empowers victims of sexual assault.

Kansas City, Mo., saw an 11 percent increase in reported forcible rapes from 2008 to 2009 but a slight decrease in all other sex crimes.

“We’re pleased to join with other law enforcement agencies throughout the Kansas City area to deliver the message that sex crimes will not be tolerated, and we will do everything we can to bring the perpetrators to justice and bring support to the victims,” said Captain Mark Folsom, Commander of KCPD’s Special Victims Unit.

The participating agencies include:

From Missouri:
Belton Police Dept.
Cass County Sheriff's Dept.
Clay County Park Rangers
Gladston Public Safety
Grain Valley Police Dept.
Independence Police Dept.
Jackson County Sheriff's Dept.
Kansas City Missouri Police Dept.
Oak Grove Police Dept.
Parkville Police Dept.
Peculiar Police Dept.
Platte City Police Dept.
Platte County Sheriff's Office
Pleasant Hill Police Dept.
Raymore Police Dept.
Raytown Police Dept.
Riverside Dept. of Public Safety
Sugar Creek Police Dept.
Tracy Police Dept.
University of Missouri-Kansas City Police Dept.

From Kansas:
Fairway Police Dept.
Gardner Public Safety Dept.
Johnson County Sheriff's Office
Kansas City Kansas Police Dept.
KU Medical Center Campus Police
Lenexa Police Dept.
Olathe Police Dept.
Osawatamie Police Dept.
Overland Park Police Dept.
Paola Police Dept.
Prairie Village Police Dept.
Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office

Friday, April 16, 2010

From Philadelphia to Kansas City, police cope with "flash mob"-type gatherings

If you read this New York Times article, you’ll see something that took place a few weeks ago in Philadelphia that sounds very much like what happened on the Country Club Plaza here last weekend. Large groups of kids converged on venerable areas of the city through texting and social media and turned into an unruly mob that damaged property, intimidated shoppers and diners and broke out into numerous fights. The same issues also came up in Philly that have here – finding something else for the kids to do, racial tension and parental responsibility.

Coincidentally, the annual Police Executive Research Forum's Annual Meeting is taking place in Philadelphia right now, and the leader of KCPD’s Patrol Bureau – Deputy Chief Cy Ritter – is there. He told me about a town hall meeting at the conference this morning in which Philadelphia Police talked about the “flash mob” problems they’re having and commended Kansas City Police for how quickly we’re taking action here.

Philadelphia’s Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel said he found this report of last weekend’s Plaza incident that I posted on my blog. Several police leaders at the conference said they were surprised I posted such a report for everyone to see, but transparency is one of our critical values, and I think it was important to objectively document the events of that night and the police response to them. Deputy Chief Ritter then presented a bit more about how our department handled the situation and what we plan to do in the future. Deputy Commissioner Bethel praised how quickly KCPD responded to and documented the event. He added that the only thing he would do differently would be to document the events on video, which Philadelphia is now doing.

Fortunately, that was already in our plans for the Plaza this weekend. Much like we do at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, big college basketball tournaments and other events with lots of people, we’re going to set up cameras on the Plaza this weekend and monitor them from a remote location to better track trouble spots and deploy officers to those areas. But if the crowds decide to skip the Plaza this weekend and congregate elsewhere in the city to cause disorder, we’ll move there, too. Our mobile response is ready.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey also made another good point at this morning’s town hall meeting: It is not the job of police to find something for teens do for entertainment. He said that’s up to the community. The job of police is pretty well encapsulated in our department’s mission statement: “… To protect life and property while reducing fear and disorder.” If a lot of juveniles gather in the city somewhere this weekend and are civil and law-abiding, police intervention won’t be necessary. But we’re ready in the event that’s not the case.

It was heartening to hear the leaders of the nation’s fourth-largest police department praising how we handled things and saying KCPD was “ahead of the curve” in front of nearly 300 other law enforcement leaders from around the U.S., Canada and Europe. But what matters most is how safe people here in Kansas City feel, and they can take comfort knowing that their police department is innovatively and effectively addressing any issue that may compromise that safety.

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