Friday, May 28, 2010

Victims found dead in shopping cart identified

Just after 6 p.m. yesterday, May 27, the TIPS Hotline received a call from someone who said there were two dead bodies near a house at 45th and Askew. Officers found two deceased males behind a home in the 4500 block of Askew. Their bodies were in a shopping cart. They have been identified as 21-year-old John L. Hooker (left) and 18-year-old Joseph L. Hooker (right).

Detectives are investigating the deaths as homicides and ask anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

More driver's license checkpoint results

Kansas City Police conducted another driver's license checkpoint from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. yesterday at another location known for crashes and drunk driving arrests: 2251 NW Barry Road. They checked nearly twice as many cars as they have during previous checkpoints - 2,095. In about 1 of every 31 cars checked, the driver did not have a valid operator's license with them or at all. The arrests and citations issued are as follows:

DUI: 1

Driving with a revoked license: 10 (two were persistent offenders, including one man who was revoked with the restriction on an ignition interlock system for DUI prevention, which he did not have on his car) 

No license: 56

Warrants: 15

Seat belt citations: 2

No insurance: 1

Open liquor container: 1

More checkpoints are planned throughout the city in coming weeks.

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Photos from Thursday's annual Memorial Service

Flag draped in front of Headquarters

21-gun salute

Riderless horse

Pipe and drum corps

Color Guard

Honor Guard

Motorcycle wedge


Police helicopter fly-over

Playing "Taps" on the trumpet

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Man killed in 5300 block of Sunset Place identified

At about 1 a.m. today, May 27, officers were called to a home in the 5300 block of Sunset Place. When they arrived, they found 49-year-old Michael J. Tutera dead inside the house (the above picture of Tutera is from 2003). He was the homeowner. Detectives have determined it was a homicide and are following some good leads and ask anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Remembering the fallen

We just wrapped up the annual Kansas City Missouri Police Department Memorial Service during which we take time to remember the officers who have given their lives in the line of duty. Below are my remarks from the event, and I hope to have some pictures up later today.

"Welcome, and thank you for coming here today as we celebrate another year without a new name etched into this memorial while taking the time to mourn those whose names are inscribed here. The 119 men whose names are listed here and who are represented by the 119 flags before you were killed in the line of duty, and it is right that we take time to pause and give thanks for their sacrifices, and the sacrifices made by their family and friends. Some died at the hands of a suspect, others in car and helicopter crashes. Every one of them died serving the people of Kansas City, Missouri, and for that, we should all be grateful.

This past year, we heaved a collective sigh of relief after many officers encountered brushes with death and came out alive. One officer is back on the job after she suffered life-threatening injuries when she was hit by a car on an icy stretch of highway. She put herself in harm’s way to stop another crash victim from getting out of her car when another vehicle spun out of control on the ice and struck her.

A dashboard camera captured two officers who encountered a suspect in a park last September who was intent on killing them. The officers returned fire and stopped him, but watching the events replay on video, we get a sick feeling in our stomachs as we are reminded how quickly the situation might have turned out differently. Another dashboard camera filmed an officer processing a car at a DUI traffic stop, only to be struck by another drunk driver who came careening down the road. The officer, thankfully, suffered only minor injuries.

And just last month, I presented a Medal of Valor to an officer who put the safety of others well above his own, even though he was off-duty, out of uniform and had no police equipment available to him. He walked into a toxic cloud generated from an acid spill on the highway to get the other motorists around him out of harm’s way as quickly as possible. He did get those drivers to safety, but he was overcome by acid fumes and had to be transported to the hospital for respiratory treatment.

What kind of people would do these things? What kind of people would put the safety of others before their own, or confront a suspect who shot at them? These are police officers, and the late broadcaster Paul Harvey summed them up well in a poem he wrote many years ago titled, “Policeman,” which we know today refers to both police men and police women. Harvey’s own father was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty when Harvey was a child, and he admired law enforcement the rest of his life. Here are some excerpts from that poem:

'A Policeman is a composite of what all men are, I guess, mingling of saint and sinner, dust and deity. …

What is a policeman? He, of all men, is at once the most needed and the most wanted. A strangely nameless creature who is ‘sir’ to his face and ‘pig’ or worse behind his back. …

He must be such a diplomat that he can settle differences between individuals so that each will think he won.

He must make instant decisions which would require months for a lawyer. But if he hurries, he's careless; if he is deliberate, he's lazy. He must be first to an accident, infallible with a diagnosis. He must be able to start breathing, stop bleeding, tie splints and, above all, be sure the victim goes home without a limp. Or expect to be sued. …

A policeman must know everything and not tell. He must know where all of the sin is and not partake.

The policeman, from a single human hair, must be able to describe the crime, the weapon, the criminal - and tell you where the criminal is hiding.

But...If he catches the criminal, he's lucky; if he doesn't, he's a dunce. If he gets promoted, he has political pull; if he doesn't, he's a dullard. The policeman must chase bum leads to a dead-end, stake out ten nights to tag one witness who saw it happen-but refuses to remember. ...

The policeman must be a minister, a social worker, a diplomat, a tough guy and a gentleman.

And, of course, he’ll have to be a genius because he’ll have to feed a family on a policeman's salary.'

Today, we remember the sacrifices of those who were all these things and died because of it. We also pray for the safety of those who continue to serve the people of this city in spite of the dangers they face daily. Please thank them and their families for what they do."

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Police Memorial Service set for tomorrow


The Kansas City Missouri Police Department will honor its 119 officers killed in the line of duty throughout the department’s history with a Memorial Service beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 27, in front of Police Headquarters on Locust Street, between 11th and 12th streets.

The service will include an honor guard, a 21-gun salute from the steps of City Hall, the KCPD Color Guard, bagpipers, a flyover by the police helicopter, and a riderless horse representing fallen officers. Dispatcher L.C. Clark will read the names of all KCPD officers killed in the line of duty – the first in 1881 and the last in 2001. There will be 119 flags on display in front of Headquarters representing each one of these officers. For 119 hours preceding the service, dispatchers read one officer’s name per hour over the police radio system. The last officer’s name, Craig Schultz, will be read immediately before the ceremony begins Thursday.

Locust will be closed between 11th and 12th streets from about 10:30 a.m. to noon for the ceremony. In the event of rain, the ceremony will take place inside the basement of police headquarters, which can be accessed from 12th Street. The public is invited to attend.

Dispatches from Mexico: Last week in Morelia

The 10 officers from our department who went to further their Spanish language skills in Mexico for five weeks have returned home! Here's a wrap-up of their last days there from guest blogger Sergeant Lionel Colon:

This week wraps up our immersion experience. A lot of time will be spent studying for finals and getting in the last minute shopping for souvenirs.

May 16
Sunday Free-day! We all met at the school shortly after noon for a visit to our professor Lucia's new home for some socializing and snacks. On her wall were group photos of previous Spanish classes. On the couch and dinner table were accents from Kansas City's Pier One.

We then took a 45-minute ride to the mountain restaurant El Rincon De Villa. Lucia's extended family met us there for some fine dining. We were held up for about an hour by and unexpected rainstorm. It started out quite refreshing but soon turned into a muddy mess surrounding the area. Thankfully, our bus was only stuck in the mud for a short time.

May 18
Happy Birthday Morelia! Again, class until early afternoon ... homework ... etc. The downtown was all in a buzz. The streets were shut down all day. Parades and other festivities filled the area.

May 19
After classes today, we met at C.C.L. for our last Spanish/English exchange with the students. This has been one of the most rewarding exchange experiences. Many of the students are preparing to study in exchanges in the USA.

May 20
Last call for questions for the teacher! We spent the day reviewing and preparing for Friday's final exams. Later that evening we met again with your professors to make up hours of study due to earlier scheduling conflicts.

May 21
Finals...what we have been prepairing for but now faced with the daunting task of completing the one year's worth of Spanish instruction that we tackled this month here in Morelia. Between exams, we found time to celebrate one of our birthdays with a tres leches con chocolate cake. Wow, did our taste buds sing!

After the last exam we all sighed relief and went home to prepare for our return home to the USA. Later in the evening we all met at the mountaintop to celerate our accomplishments and also the birthday.

May 22
Last day, last-minute events - time with our respective hosts families, the zoo, the market, the movies, the packing all squeezed in our last moments here. The clock is ticking until we meet at 0330 hours to load up the bus and head to the airport.

The 10 officers in Spanish immersion training.

Thank you to the KCPD, the KIIS staff and our host families for investing in our lives. Morelia, Michoacan, is a city rich in culture and warm people. We hope to return better equipped to serve our Department, our citizens and our families as this experience has had an impact in all areas of our lives.

Bidding farewell to Morelia at night

 Be Home In A Few!

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kansas police chiefs award KCPD officers for valor

The Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police awarded two KCPD members the Gold Award at their annual KACP Awards Program on May 21 in Hutchinson, Kansas. Detectives Michael Bailey and John Cooley received the award for their work as part of the FBI Violent Crimes – Safe Streets Task Force. (they're pictured above with the rest of the task force above - they're the left two in the back row)

On Nov. 1, 2009, they helped arrest a dangerous career criminal in Olathe outside a restaurant. The suspect fired at officers, who returned fire and wounded him. No officers or others were wounded. The KACP Gold Award they earned recognizes “uncommon valor in the line of duty.”

At KCPD, Detectives Bailey and Cooley are assigned to the Fugitive Apprehension Unit. Congratulations, Detectives.

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Victim of shooting at Swope Park identified

At about 8:40 p.m. Sunday, May 23, officers were in the area of 63rd Street and Swope Parkway handling traffic leaving Swope Park. Officers heard several shots fired and looked northbound on Swope Parkway from 63rd Street. They saw one northbound vehicle shooting at another vehicle. Officers observed one male exit the passenger side of a vehicle and collapse on the sidewalk. The vehicle he exited continued northbound. The vehicle came to a stop on the curb at 60th Terrace where the driver exited the vehicle and collapsed. The suspect vehicle fled the scene.

The passenger victim was immediately transported to a local hospital and is said to be in stable condition. The driver victim died at the scene. Both suffered from apparent gunshot wounds. The victim who died has been identified as 23-year-old Rico C. Warren of Kansas City, Kan.

It is unknown why or where the confrontation between the two vehicles began at this time.

There are no suspects in custody, and anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Police recover large amount of stolen property, seek rightful owners


Police have recovered a significant amount of stolen property following the investigation of an armed robbery in the Waldo area Sunday morning and would like to find the rightful owners.

The armed residential robbery took place at 209 W. 78th Terrace the morning of May 23, and in the course of investigating that, property crimes detectives found large amounts of stolen property taken in other burglaries. They recovered 56 guns, electronics, construction equipment, wheels, tires, valuable comic books and collectibles.

They ask anyone who was burglarized recently in the Waldo area or who had construction equipment stolen to call the Metro Patrol Property Crimes Division at 816-234-5525 to schedule an appointment to see if any of the stolen property belongs to them.

Below are some of the guns that have been recovered:

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Mounted Patrol's man behind the scenes

The Mounted Patrol Section is one of the best crowd control tools this department possesses. The horses also do a great job engaging the community in a way no human police officer could - drawing in children and adults to give them a pat and learn about what they do. Many people don't know that Mounted Patrol is largely run on donations and volunteers - all the horses are donated by caring community members (they have to pass a series of tests to see if they can be a police horse), and a volunteer basically keeps the stables in Swope Park up and running.

Last week, I got a chance to recognize that volunteer, Dan Geisler. I presented him with a well-deserved Meritorious Service Award (he's pictured above with the award and the Mounted Patrol officers), and wanted to tell you about this man's incredible dedication to KCPD and its Mounted Patrol Section:

Dan Geisler is a volunteer, but he puts in as much work at the police department as a full-time employee.

Mr. Geisler started volunteering for the department in November 2008 and was assigned to the Mounted Patrol Section. Sergeant Joey Roberts said Mr. Geisler immediately took on a position of leadership and enthusiastically assumed the role of Barn Manager. He quickly assessed the needs of the unit and took it upon himself to organize, repair, and clean the stables. He discovered not only monetary and equipment needs, but he also assisted with labor and barn management to maximize the time officers and horses spent out on patrol.

Sergeant Roberts said Mr. Geisler often arrived to the barn before anyone else to do cleaning and chores.

KCPD’s auxiliary volunteers are asked to put in 16 hours per month of work, or about 192 hours annually. Mr. Geisler did about 2,000 hours in one year, volunteering an average of 40 hours a week. Much of this time was on weekends and evenings. He also volunteered to work at special events, like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, annual training clinics and anywhere else ground support might be needed. Sergeant Roberts said Mr. Geisler’s constant maintenance and presence at the barn allows for tours and demonstrations for the public that otherwise would not happen.

Even though he gives tremendously of his time, Mr. Geisler also gives to the Mounted Patrol Section financially. He has purchased things with his own money when he saw a need that couldn’t be met in the Section’s budget. He bought several sets of riot gear for the horses and paid for and delivered 20 tons of gravel for a driveway on the north side of the barn. On top of all of this, Mr. Geisler also made a cash donation to the non-profit Friends of Mounted Patrol group to assist the Section with miscellaneous expenses.

Sergeant Roberts said Mr. Geisler’s professional service and dedication have resulted in better service to the community. He said, “His donations of time and money are so far above and beyond what is required for any volunteer that I feel his efforts should not go unnoticed.”

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tactical teams serve the community well

On Tuesday, May 11, the Kansas City Star published an editorial that was headlined in their print edition as "SWAT team raids go wrong too often." The leader of one of our tactical teams, Sergeant Charles "Chip" Huth, (who also provides extensive leadership training to our officers and has his own blog with Officer Jack Colwell at felt compelled to respond. His guest blog is below:

Please permit me to respond to The Kansas City Star's editorial titled, "SWAT team raids go wrong too often." I have the honor of leading one of the high-risk warrant teams for the Kansas City Police Department. The members who serve on the team are consummate professionals who demonstrate regard for each and every citizen they serve.

The editorial in question raises some points that are worth consideration. The title of the article asserts that the risk of utilizing SWAT team tactics outweigh the benefit; however, the statistical data to support a statement like that simply don't exist. The truth is citizens are safer and high-risk situations are resolved with a lower occurrence of force application when a professional SWAT team conducts the operation. The article mentions three instances where Kansas City Missouri Police made "mistakes" during high-risk warrant service. Aside from the fact the department has served thousands of high-risk warrants in the past 20 years with no negative outcomes, in each of the three instances mentioned there were extenuating circumstances that are not reflected in the editorial.

The courts understand the need for police to strike a balance between governmental interest in crime suppression and infringement on a person's constitutionally protected rights. The courts have consistently reaffirmed that the police don't have to be right, they just have to be "reasonable." The Kansas City Police Department only deploys SWAT teams on warrants where the evidence suggests a heightened sense of jeopardy, such as the suspected presence of weapons, or subject(s) in the residence who have a violent criminal history. In most of those cases, the presence of the SWAT team decimates a suspect's will to violently resist.

The basic mission of law enforcement is to build partnership with the community, and leverage that partnership to help instill safety, security and prosperity. Every contact we have with a citizen is an opportunity to build or destroy a relationship. In working to build those relationships, we must be process-focused, because we ultimately have little control over the outcome. There are simply too many variables.

It is easy to find anecdotal evidence to support a claim of over-aggressive policing because as long as there is a human element in the process, there will always be an opportunity for errors. This does not negate the reality that properly trained SWAT teams provide a critical service to the community. The image of heavy-handed SWAT teams with automatic weapons storming people's homes and terrorizing children is an allegory. It doesn't represent the reality of what goes on in our community's most troubled neighborhoods. We take great care in doing our homework prior to a raid, and adjust our tactics if there are children or elderly people present at the scene of a warrant. We also knock on the door and give the occupants an opportunity to open it for us in approximately 95% of the warrant service operations.

I think the best barometer for measuring police service is the opinions of our customers. I welcome the opportunity to have an independent observer poll citizens at the scene of search warrants concerning the level of police service they received. We are accountable to all our citizens, even the ones we arrest. We take great care in explaining our actions to every person at the scene of a search warrant service. The police department has been very transparent regarding our SWAT team's service to the public. Those in the media that have accompanied us on operations have observed true professionals who treat the citizens they contact with respect and dignity. This philosophy is one of the reasons our team has not had a single community complaint in nearly three years.

The men and women of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department welcome the opportunity to be held to a higher standard. We are up to the challenge. We readily admit we will make mistakes, but we promise to approach each mistake as an opportunity to learn and become better at helping to protect our community. We knew the job was tough when we accepted it, and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve. There are many real problems affecting our community that need to be addressed, and our SWAT teams are not currently among them. Unfortunately, there are also many misinformed opinions that work to distract us from the hard work of making our community a safer place to live and work.

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One of every 12 drivers at checkpoint yesterday driving illegally

Using money from a grant designed to stop persistent offenders, police conducted another driver's license checkpoint yesterday. Last week's checkpoint resulted in one of every 13 drivers stopped being arrested for driving with a suspended license or no license at all. This week's results were even worse - about one of every 12 drivers checked was driving illegally.

The checkpoint took place at Independence Avenue and White from 5 to 9:30 p.m. The location was based off the high number of alcohol-related crashes and arrests on Independence Avenue. The checkpoint shut down for about 45 minutes at one point because of heavy rain, but officers still checked 1,001 cars.

Out of those 1,001, police made the following arrests and citations:

18 for driving while revoked (two of whom were persistent offenders)
63 for driving with no license at all
2 for DUI
28 for warrants
6 for narcotics

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Detectives identify victim of Tuesday homicide on E. 21st St.

At about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 18, officers were dispatched to the 2900 block of E. 21st Street on a call of an unknown nature. When they arrived, officers found a man outside the hosue suffering from gunshot wounds. He was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. Inside the home, they found a woman deceased. She has now been identified as 19-year-old Sabrina Jones of Kansas City, Mo.

The male remains in the hospital in serious but stable condition. Detectives ask anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Third woman in history to be promoted to deputy chief of KCPD tonight


For just the third time in 136 years, a woman will be promoted to the position of deputy chief of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department tonight.

Cheryl Rose will be promoted to deputy chief at a ceremony at 6 p.m. today, May 20, at the Kansas City Regional Police Academy, 6885 N.E. Pleasant Valley Road. Other promotions will include majors, sergeants, master detective, master patrol officer and supervisors.

Rose is presently the commander of the South Patrol Division. She will assume her new position as deputy chief over the Administration Bureau on May 23. She replaces former Deputy Chief Rachel Whipple, who retired in May.

Rose is a 22-year veteran of the police department who has served in many capacities, including under-cover in the Drug Enforcement Unit, teaching children in the D.A.R.E. Section, writing policies in the Planning and Research Division and investigating robberies in the Robbery Unit. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from the University of Central Missouri.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Police assist in investigation of man who pleaded guilty to supporting Al-Qaida

The Kansas City Missouri Police Department, along with several other local, state and national agencies who are part of the Heart of America Joint Terrorism Task Force, conducted an investigation that led to the guilty plea this morning of a Kansas City man who was financially supporting Al-Qaida. This was announced at a press conference this afternoon with U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips.

Khalid Ouazzani, 32, pleaded guilty in federal court this morning to materially supporting a terrorist organization, bank fraud and money laundering. Ouazzani is a native of Morocco who is a naturalized citizen of the United States. He swore an oath of allegiance to Al-Qaida in June 2008. He admitted to participating in a conspiracy to support the group from August 2007 to February 2010.

Ouazzani owned and operated Truman Used Auto Parts in Kansas City, Mo. In April 2007, he took out a $175,000 line of credit from Union Bank in Kansas City for what he said was to be used as working capital for his business. He sold the business in August 2007, and donated $6,500 of the proceeds to Al-Qaida with the help of a co-conspirator (who is not being identified at this time). He never repaid the bank loan.

He used some of the loan money for himself, but in May 2007, he transferred $112,830 to a bank account in the United Arab Emirates and used it to buy an apartment there. He later sold the apartment at a profit of $17,000 - money that he also gave to Al-Qaida through a co-conspirator.

U.S. Attorney Phillips said at the press conference there was no evidence that Ouazzani presented any imminent threat or harm to the community. He did have conversations with others about various ways to support Al-Qaida, including plans for them to fight in Afghanistan, Iraq or Somalia.

KCPD is a proud member of the Heart of America Joint Terrorism Task Force, of whom U.S. Attorney Phillips said today, "Much or their work is behind the scenes. They play a crucial role in investigating terrorist activities." The members of the Task Force include:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Defense Criminal Investigative Service
Federal Air Marshals Service
IRS-Criminal Investigation
Kansas City Kansas Police Department
Kansas City Missouri Police Department
Kansas Highway Patrol
Missouri State Highway Patrol
Overland Park, Kan., Police Department
U.S. Attorney's offices fo the Western District of Missouri and the District of Kansas
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Marshals Service
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
U.S. Secret Service

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Do you recognize these persons of interest in a homicide?

Detectives are seeking information on the two males in this video. They are persons of interest in the May 6 homicide of 20-year-old Michael Rhodes. He was killed at approximately 7:23pm, at the gas/convenience store at 4501 Cleveland.

Detectives would like to identify the men in this surveillance footage. One of the males is wearing a white T-shirt and the other male is wearing a black T-shirt with a black hat.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Homicide Unit at 816-234-5043 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Dispatches from Mexico: Mother's Day, pizza and migrant assistance

Our 10 officers studying Spanish are coming up on their last week in the city of Morelia in Michoacan, Mexico. Last week, they got to experience a Mexican Mother's Day, futbol games and a migrant assistance center. Guest blogger Sergeant Lionel Colon describes their experiences and shares some of his photos:

May 9
Today, most of us spent time with our host families. Others found time to run much-needed errands as our weekdays are full of classes, cultural excursions and time spent in the community practicing our Spanish.

I attended a local church gathering of people who are friends with those I attend church with back home. I was received with warmth and kindness. The children present all read a prepared reading and offered impromptu speeches of thanks for their mommies. Afterward, I was invited to a children's birthday party. It was at Peter Pan Pizza, and it was absolutely delicious and would rival our most popular pizza establishments. Although, many of those present smothered their pizzas with ketchup. The event included the traditional piñatas.

We all ended our day preparing our homework for the next day.

May 10
Happy Mother's Day! Well, today it is celebrated here in Mexico. It’s a fixed holiday on May 10. We showered our host mothers with gifts bright and early as we began our week.

Classes resumed with the addition of yet another verb tense. Later, we completed the afternoon with conversation class with our professors out in the community.

May 12
Classes all morning. Homework in the afternoon. Then an evening at the Monarcas futbol game. The stadium was full of fans as the team continued through the playoffs. The fans were a bit more vocal this game when fans of the competing team appeared. We continued our Spanish at the game as fans continued to be eager to speak with the visiting Americans. It ended in a 3-3 tie.

May 14
Classes, two exams and more Spanish to work on. After classes, we visited the Center for Migrant Assistance. This team of workers facilitates so many things to assist people born within this state, Michoacan. They organize groups to provide family assistance like our victim compensation fund. They assist in foreign police investigations. They organize Michoacanians in other countries to give back to their foreign communities and also back to their place of birth. They coordinate medical care exchanges with doctors from other countries. The list goes on and on. As we left, they provided us with a gift bag and most interesting of all, a publication of migrant stories (both Spanish and in English). They were anxious to learn more about our CAN Center and hope to assist our Department in any way they can.

May 15
This was our first Saturday without an excursion planned. Some stayed at home and participated in family events. Others returned to nearby Patzcuaro for the day. The weather was amazing. It was the perfect day to relax and continue our immersion experience.

We spent the afternoon at a local restaurant, San Panho's, watching the Monarcas away futbol game. The restaurant ran out of ketchup, ran out of change and the Monarcas didn't even come close to winning. So as the game ended, we went our separate ways. Some visited the Cathedral Lighting Ceremony. The area streets were closed to vehicle traffic, and the crowds gathered for the celebration.

Mariachi band.

Local artisan.

A bridal party circling the Plaza

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Monday, May 17, 2010

New commissioners to be sworn in Wednesday

Two new police commissioners will be sworn it at Wednesday's Board of Police Commissioners meeting, Lisa Pelofsky and Angela Wasson-Hunt. They will replace Karl Zobrist and Mark Thompson, whose terms are expiring. Their brief biographies are below. You can click to see the full agenda for the meeting.

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. The Governor has appointed her to a term ending March 7, 2012.

Angela Wasson-Hunt: Wasson-Hunt is the senior vice president for commercial lending at Lawson Bank. 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.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Police and City consolidations and collaborations

With the new fiscal year upon us (it began May 1), it was good timing that Deputy Chief Nick Nichols and Assistant City Manager Rich Noll did a joint presentation Wednesday to the City Council’s Public Safety and Neighborhoods Committee about all the ways KCPD has consolidated operations with the City to save money. Many people don’t realize how extensively we partner and how much money it saves. The initiatives listed below are just some of the latest things we’re doing. We haven’t estimated cost savings for all of them, but what we have estimated is well over $1 million.

• Joint contracts for wireless devices like cell phones
• Joint computer replacement program
• E-Ticketing/Municipal Court management system – An effort is underway for an e-ticketing system that would be used by police, traffic enforcement, animal control, property code enforcement and others. Errors inherent to hand-written citations will be reduced, and big cost savings and enhanced revenue collection could result.
• Common e-mail system – The City is moving forward with switching from their system to KCPD’s
• FuelMaster Fuel Management System – Manages fueling for all of the City’s and Police Departments’ vehicles. In addition to its analytical capabilities (predicting fuel usage and the like), the system makes fuel theft nearly impossible.
• Combined building and grounds maintenance at three police stations
• Combined beverage and snack vending agreement
• Police are now providing Municipal Court security
• Police dispatchers now dispatch for Animal Public Health and Safety and Tow Operations
• Shared video production facility
• Joint management of City and Department web sites
• Joint training opportunities at the Police Academy
• Joint IT security supervisor

These are the newest initiatives, but some of our collaborations have been ongoing for years. For instance, the Police Department has managed, installed, repaired and maintained the whole City’s radio system for 30 years. For several years now, the City’s Parking Control division has handled parking enforcement Downtown while KCPD Parking Control officers focus on neighborhoods throughout the city. And if it’s a good deal for our employees, we’re considering joining the City in their self insurance plan for health coverage.

We work with City staff every step of the way in planning and implementing our budget, and I look forward to seeing what new, money-saving collaborations will come in the future.

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Results of last night's driver's license checkpoint

I spoke yesterday about the importance of getting unlicensed drivers off the road because of the dangers they present to other motorists. I also told you we would do another checkpoint yesterday. This one took place from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at 57th and Prospect. A total of 709 cars were stopped, and the number of people arrested who had no license to drive was pretty staggering: 53. That's roughly one out of every 13 cars. Many of these illegal drivers had children in their cars. Here's how the arrests broke down:

  • Driving while license is revoked or suspended: 25 (5 of which were persistent offenders)
  • No driver's license: 28
  • DUI: 2 (Both were persistent offenders)
  • Drug arrests: 2
  • Warrants: 34
In addition to the numerous dangers it presents to the public, driving on a revoked or suspended license is costly. In Jackson County, people arrested for this offense must post a $5,000 cash-only bond to get out of jail and could face prison time if convicted.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Driver's license checkpoints

Before a 12-year-old boy was killed in a tragic crash at Gregory and 71 Highway on March 27 by a man with 16 prior convictions for driving while his license was revoked, Kansas City Police had applied for a grant to go after drivers who repeatedly broke the law by driving with suspended or revoked licenses. The senseless death of Damian Slayton really drove home how important it is to get these dangerous drivers off the road. Driving is a privilege, and these drivers had that privilege taken away for a good reason. Compared with licensed drivers, unlicensed drivers are 4.9 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash, 3.7 times more likely to drive while impaired and 4.4 times more likely to be in hit-and-run crashes, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Today, officers will conduct another driver's license checkpoint somewhere in the city, so be prepared. They conducted a similar checkpoint last week, May 6, for eastbound traffic on 39th Street at 71 Highway. They stopped a total of 903 cars and made the following arrests:

20 driving while revoked/suspended (six of whom were persistent offenders)
32 driving with no license
2 DUI (one was a persistent offender)
1 for crack possession
1 for marijuana possession
56 warrants
9 tickets for no insurance

Several more driver's license checkpoints are planned in the future.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dispatches from Mexico: 911, drunk drivers and volcanoes

Our 10 KCPD officers learning Spanish in Kansas City's sister city of Morelia, Mexico, right now are half-way through their five-week stay. They just took midterm exams and checked out several police and cultural sites. Here's guest blogger Sergeant Lionel Colon's take on their recent activities and classes:

May 1
Today in class there was the introduction of yet another verb conjugation. Of course, it wasn't any easier than the previous ones.

Afterward, the class visited the C-4 Dispatch Center. Their radio technology is made by the French. They seem to have similar problems with their handhelds as we do. They have a network of traffic cameras distributed about the city that they monitor in a viewing room. Like all other law enforcement, they enjoy playing versions of traffic intersections' greatest hits. We gathered around the big screens to watch accidents and street fights caught on tape. As we left, they gave us hats with their version of the 9-1-1 logo.

Tonight we continue converstion class out of the classroom and in the community.

May 6
This evening's CCL class was interesting. One student was late (Jenny). When she arrived, she was wearing a neck brace. She had been the victim of a DUI accident when her car was struck by fans leaving the futbol game on May 1. As she described the details, her eyes swelled with tears. An unfortunate circumstance she is dealing with, but we assured her in our line of work it could have been much worse.

May 7
Hurray for Midterm exams, followed by a disturbing bilingual move called "Trade "

Our classes continued later that evening at the Santibanez household to try our hand at a menu of dishes to include agua de jamaica, crema de cilantro, tacos dorados, guacamole, and flan. After watching and assisting in the demonstrations, we ate everything for good measure.

May 8
Excursion Day. We drove several hours to reach the volcanic ruins of Paricutin. In the early 1940's, several volcanoes erupted destroying neighboring towns. A local church survived. It's amazing how the front of the church towers over the lava rock and yet near the back of the submerged church revealed the original altar. The journey to get there consisted of an almost-perfect ride on horseback.

After leaving the church, we headed to nearby Urupan and its national park. The plush forest and amazing display of waterfalls was so relaxing after the previous journey. The fresh water followed our every step even to the minute details of small gutters that were built into the walkways we traversed. Near the end of the tour, some of us could resist no longer and dunked our feet in pools of the refreshing water.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is a much needed free-day. Well, not completely free as we have ample homework and review to complete for the coming week.

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Police develop composite sketch for suspect in April 30 homicide

At about 12:26 a.m. April 30, an intruder entered the apartment of 23-year-old Bernard M. Jackson (not to be confused with the suspect of the same name in a series of cold-case rapes), struggled with him, and shot him. Jackson died. The suspect fled on foot east from Jackson's home in the Bridgeport Apartments, 8502 E. 108th St., and police are trying to identify and locate him.

Working with witnesses and a forensic sketch artist, police have developed a composite sketch of the suspect in this homicide. He is described as a black male who is thin and tall - about 6 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 4 inches - and possibly in his early 20s.

Disclaimer: A composite is not a portrait of one person, but a grouping of characteristics to put people into a category that narrows the search and eliminates other groups. It is intended to place the focus on a smaller grouping of individuals. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Building up Boy Scouts in the urban core

There's a story in this edition of our department's Informant newsletter about the work I and some other officers have been doing off the clock to promote Scouting in the inner city. I really believe this is a great program that could benefit untold young people, so I wanted to share the newsletter article:

Before there was an Ike jacket with four arm bands, there was a sash full of merit badges.

Police Chief James Corwin became a Cub Scout in the 1960s, and now as an executive-level leader in the area’s Boy Scouts of America council, he’s trying to get more urban-core boys involved in scouting. He’s an executive director for the Boy Scouts of America’s Heart of America Council as chair of the Urban Scouting Committee.

“It’s a proven program with a solid values system,” said Chief Corwin, himself an Eagle Scout.

Chief Corwin said many children could benefit from the leadership skills taught in Boy Scouts. Which is why he wants to expand the program in a place that tends to be under-served: the inner city. To do so, he wanted to do a brainstorming session with former urban Scouts and current urban Scout troop leaders. Luckily, he knew just where to look.

“KCPD has many, many people who have been involved in troops in the urban core, both as children and as adult leaders,” Chief Corwin said.

He called them all together on meetings March 24 and 25 to discuss what urban scouting programs are getting right and where they need to improve. Twenty officers and commanders showed up to these meetings and came up with a variety of ideas. First, they identified the barriers that prevent inner-city kids from participating in Scouts – things like transportation, a lack of volunteers, and little funds for things like uniforms and camping trips.

“We also discussed that the traditional Monday night Scout meeting may not work for people like single moms,” Chief Corwin said. “A lot of problems all scout programs have are exaggerated in the urban core.”

The Boy Scouts’ Scoutreach program provides after-school activities and meetings for Cub Scouts, and Chief Corwin said that’s a model Kansas City’s urban troops could convert to.

He said he’s also concerned about what will happen when the Kansas City Missouri School District moves forward with closing nearly half its schools this year, several of which sponsor Boy Scout troops. One possible solution he and the group of scouting cops came up with: have KCPD patrol stations sponsor those troops instead. The stations could provide meeting space, and the officers could provide volunteers. The group also is looking at recruiting retirees and community members to volunteer. He said a partnership involving a large number of Leawood, Kan.-based Eagle Scouts coming to mentor and assist troops in the inner city also is showing signs of success.

Another program Chief Corwin hopes will reinvigorate urban scouting is the Explorers program. Sponsored by Boy Scouts, Explorers offers teenagers a chance to get police training and volunteer alongside officers. KCPD used to have an Explorers program, and Chief Corwin said efforts are underway to resurrect it.

Chief Corwin plans to take the Police Department’s ideas to the Urban Scouting Committee next month, followed by a full presentation to the Heart of America Council.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Dispatches from Mexico: Star Wars, Academia de Policia and grocery shopping

Our ten officers continuing their Spanish immersion training in the city of Morelia, Mexico, are learning more language and culture every day. Guest blogger Sergeant Lionel Colon recaps some of their experiences last week and shares some of his photos:

May 3

Monday we were back in class. First order of business was a test. It was of particular difficulty because the piece we were using to translate using the preterit and imperfect tense verb was from the beginning script of Star Wars. Needless to say, it was quite a challenge.

As the morning progressed, we soon found ourselves reflecting on what previous students had advised us. We knew we had "hit the wall" as they had described. Although there are times of leisure here, this program is extremely challenging to say the least. Frustrated and confused, we were glad to get the test over with.

May 4
After classes, we paid a visit to the Regional Police Academy. We were provided a tour of the facility. Some of us participated in their Virtra five-panel simulator. Afterward, we found ourselves at the range and fired some of their weapons. Their Cardinal Rules were a bit different than ours but we were able to follow their instructions. After shooting a few rounds, they provided us a lunch consisting of fruit and club sandwiches.

That evening, our class split up and spent the evening in conversational class with professors at area shopping districts.

May 5
Cinco de Mayo isn't really celebrated here as in the States. Sorry, no big festivals to describe.

Another day, another test. This one consisted of another paragraph of translation, another full page of vocabulary and finally we had to write an entire dialogue consisting of a traffic stop with tickets issued.

Hours later, we visited an area court and spent a few hours with a judge. The topics ranged from the judicial process to American football (a judge favorite). Most of their documentation is still completely conducted by hand. There is change coming as within the next few years they plan to complete a structural and administrative overhaul.

Meeting with the judge.

May 6
Wow, a day without a test! On the other hand, our previous tests were returned. As is often the case, most of the errors were minor but still a disappointment for many of us. All things considered, we are doing well considering the task at hand and time spent learning another language.

Our homework consisted of a visit to an area market to converse with vendors and learn about the culture of shopping at open-air markets. The stands had vegatables, fruits, meats, household items and clothing. The metric system is a bit confusing, but we managed to figure out standard pricing to kilo.

After a small break to eat with our host families, we return to CCL at 6 p.m. to spend a couple hours of sharing conversation with those struggling to learn English. We find a common bond as we often struggle to communicate with them in Spanish on a deeper level than just the introductory phrases.

And then we returned to our homes to end the day studying for tomorrow's exam.

Man killed at 45th and Cleveland identified

The man killed the evening of May 6 at 4501 Cleveland has been identified as 20-year-old Michael L. Rhodes of Kansas City, Mo. Rhodes was standing near a pay phone when a suspect approached him on foot and shot him. Rhodes was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Several people witnessed the shooting, and detectives ask anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Are you smarter than a predator?

Find out if you're smarter than a predator at a special free, public event at the Kansas City Police Academy (6885 N.E. Pleasant Valley Road) from 7 to 9 p.m. this Wednesday, May 12. This presentation will be an interactive look at how to protect yourself for sexual violence, and it's designed for men and women ages 16 to 22. Parents are encouraged to attend, too.

Presenters will include local law enforcement, forensic nurses, CSI technicians and victim advocates. You'll see a self defense demonstration, as well. Prizes also will be raffled off.

The Are You Smarter Than a Predator? event is hosted by MOCSA, MoSAVE and the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. For more information, call 816-588-6380.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Person of interest in Waldo-area rapes charged in four rapes from 1980s

On Wednesday afternoon, at about 4 p.m., officers arrested 52-year-old Bernard Jackson after a short foot pursuit. Jackson was inside a house in the 3200 block of Thompson, an acquaintance’s house, and officers saw him walk out the rear door of the house. When Jackson saw the officers, he fled on foot and was taken into custody in the 3200 block of Smart.

Jackson was developed as a person of interest in the Waldo rape investigations through good detective work using information and evidence gathered during the investigation. While investigating Jackson, detectives linked him to four unsolved rapes from 1983 and 1984 in Kansas City. He has been charged with those crimes. Those rapes took place in a very similar area and were very similar to the most recent assaults. The charges in these cases are: 6 counts of rape, 5 counts of sodomy, and 4 counts of robbery.

While Jackson is considered a person of interest in the Waldo rapes, additional investigation is necessary before he can be charged with those crimes. Detectives are still following leads in the case and analyzing evidence.

During the course of the investigation we received nearly 1,000 tips. Detectives have logged several thousand hours investigating these leads.

While our work is not done, I want to take this time to thank the community for their support and commend them for pulling together during this difficult time. I also want to commend the detectives and police officers who worked very hard on this case.

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