Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Officers help elderly couple turn their lives around

I presented Certificates of Commendation today to two North Patrol Division officers who went way beyond their normal duties to care for a couple that really needed help. Here's their story:

Officers J.D. Pettey and Philip Sipple knew there was more to an elderly couple’s troubles than met the eye.

The officers were called to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Cole nine times between January and May 2010. Every time, Mr. Cole was drunk. The officers noticed some items in the home that led them to believe Mr. Cole had been in the military, and they soon found out he was a World War II veteran. Through their Crisis Intervention Team training, Officers Pettey and Sipple thought Mr. Cole might be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. They asked him and his wife questions about it, and both said Mr. Cole had talked to someone at the VA Hospital about it a long time ago. Mrs. Cole said her husband couldn’t even watch TV shows with guns or bombings.

Mrs. Cole also had a problem with hoarding. Officers found 15 carjacks in the couple’s yard, 100 small flashlights and many more items packing the house. The couple agreed to get treatment for their mental health problems but said they couldn’t afford much. The officers got Mr. Cole enrolled in a PTSD support group at the VA Hospital for free. They also worked with the Division of Aging to get the couple discounted groceries and free professional help for their hoarding problem.

The officers did most of those things at work, but they used their off-duty time to help the Coles, too. They helped them clean up their home and removed a half-ton of recyclable material. They sold the recyclables and gave the money to the Coles. Officers Pettey and Sipple also arranged for NTB to donate their time and labor to remove many old wheels and tires from the Coles’ yard, and the officers helped them pull out a vehicle that had been stuck in the mud. The officers got the Coles back in touch with their old church, who agreed to help them with future needs. Officer Pettey even brought his wife, Officer Tina Pettey, on board to help Mrs. Cole organize her pictures, which helped the woman with her hoarding.

Police have not been called to the Coles’ home since the officers’ intervention.

Great work, Officers.
Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What to do if your stuff gets stolen

Although we've told you repeatedly not to leave items in your car and to secure your home, there's still a chance your things could be stolen. This video explains what to do if they're taken and the steps you can take that will help you get your stuff back.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Teen found dead in car identified

At about 11:40 a.m. Nov. 24, officers were dispatched to the 7200 block of Brooklyn on a reported shooting. When officers arrived, they found 18-year-old Lionel L. Pierson of Kansas City, Mo., dead inside a parked vehicle. Witnesses said they saw two black males walk up, fire shots into the car and leave on foot. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Police issue 100 seat belt tickets on Click It or Ticket Day

As you head out for the holidays, please buckle up!


The Kansas City Police Department issued 100 safety belt tickets and four child safety belt tickets during their Click It or Ticket mobilization Nov. 18.

KCPD joined law enforcement agencies from across the state to enforce seat belt laws in advance of the busy holiday travel season last week. Officers of the Special Operations Division stopped 282 vehicles and issued a total of 378 traffic tickets including: 100 safety belt tickets, 154 speeding tickets, 4 child safety belt tickets and one for driving under the influence.

“The Kansas City Missouri Police Department is committed to consistently enforcing all traffic laws but, especially those involving hazardous driving and seat belt violations,” said Sgt. Grant Ruark of the Traffic Enforcement Unit. “Slowing down and buckling up saves lives. It’s as simple as that and we’re going to continue to get this message across to motorists in our city.”

For information on Missouri seat belt usage, visit http://www.savemolives.com/.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Looking for suspect who tried to carjack couple's car with baby inside

At about 9:40 p.m. last night, Nov. 22, a couple who was moving from Colorado to southeast Missouri made a pit stop at a convenience store at 2911 Van Brunt. The couple stopped with their family - who were in moving vans - for gas. They had just put their 6-month-old baby in the car and were waiting just outside the vehicle for the moving vans to finish filling up when a man in a dark hoodie approached and got in the car and tried to drive it away. The man shows up in the video at around the 7:30 minute mark.

The mother broke the window out of the car with her elbow. Her husband jumped over her, through the broken window, and got into the backseat of the car and started kicking the suspect. The suspect crashed the car and took off on foot. We need your help to find him. The surveillance video below shows the incident. The suspect is very hard to see, and the victims could only describe him as a black male. If you know anything about this, please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS. The victims suffered some cuts and bruises but are OK, and their baby is safe.

KCPD officers recognized at Awards for Valor

The 39th Annual Awards for Valor banquet took place Friday at the Argosy in Riverside, Mo. This award ceremony is presented by the Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriffs Association (MCSA) and honors some of the bravest officers in the Kansas City metro area. Nine KCPD officers received awards this year. You may have heard some of their stories before, like the officers who were shot at in south Kansas City last fall, Dean McGinness and Eric Turner. They got a Gold Award for Valor - the highest honor.

Others you may not have heard about, like Officer Chad Pickens, who also received a Gold Award for Valor. He's pictured here with MCSA President Chief John Meier of the Leawood Police Department and Chief Mike Hasty of the Gladstone Department of Public Safety. Here's what Officer Pickens did:

A call from work made Officer Chad Pickens leave the movie he was watching with his family at the Ameristar Casino on August 15, 2008. As he was leaving to go to his car, he encountered a fight in the parking lot. He saw one man get knocked unconscious, and then a woman pulled a gun out of her purse and fired it into the air. She then handed it to another man, who began to chase other men in the parking lot, firing it at them as he ran.

Officer Pickens was in plain clothes and had no bullet-resistant vest, but he realized the danger of the situation and how innocent people at the movies or casino could get hurt. He took cover behind a car, pulled his off-duty weapon and identified himself as a police officer. He engaged the man who was firing shots. That man then turned on him and fired. Officer Pickens returned fire from behind the car. The suspect then dropped his weapon, and Officer Pickens single-handedly took him into custody. No one was hurt during the incident.

There were many similar stories of amazing bravery from officers on both sides of the state line, and I thank them for their courage and congratulate them on their awards.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pop Warner team presents their trophy to Police Academy

Last Thursday, Nov. 18, the Pop Warner football team, the North Kansas City Wildcats, presented us with their Truman Bowl trophy. This was the "Super Bowl" for their league, and this group of sixth- and seventh-graders won it. So why did they give us their trophy? It was to thank the police department for letting them use the football field at our Regional Police Academy to practice on for free. The team has been practicing there since August and continue to do so now. We really appreciate this heartfelt gesture from the team and are proudly displaying their trophy inside the Academy. Captain Daniel Gates accepted the trophy on behalf of the department.

Our Police Academy facilities are available for community use. If you're interested, call 413-3500. If you'd like to host a special event there, you can rent rooms and even the auditorium. More information is available here.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

When obtaining services online, buyer beware

I saw a recent police report of a Northland man who stopped by one of our stations to report he'd been scammed by someone he hired from Craigslist. The man said he was looking for someone to do some work on his house and found someone on the online classified site. He met up with a man on October 4, who asked for $250 in payment up front for the work. The victim paid him, but the man never came back to do the work, and he won't return the victim's phone calls.

The internet has opened up a whole new world to scammers everywhere. To keep from getting scammed when hiring someone for a service, it's best to use some tried and true methods. Ask them for references of past jobs they've done. If they're reputable and really want your business, they'll gladly give them to you. Also, you can check with the Secretary of State to see if they're registered as a business and not some fly-by-night scam artist. Here's the link to the Missouri Secretary of State's business search web site.

Many legitimate contractors will ask for money up front to buy supplies and/or secure a deposit (although asking for the entire sum of the job up front is unusual, but not necessarily a sign of scamming). The rub with a lot of these cases is that they're considered a civil matter. To prosecute such a case criminally, we must prove the intent to deprive or deceive without any doubt. In a case like the aforementioned one, even if the two parties had agreed on a date in writing when the work was to be done, and it wasn't done by that date, a prosecutor could consider it a civil matter. So to save yourself time, money, and hassle, do your homework in advance before hiring anyone you find online or anywhere else.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Get ready for inclement weather driving

A cold day like today reminds us that winter isn't far away in Kansas City. Some meteorologists even have predicted a few snow flakes today. We at KCPD want to help you be prepared for when winter strikes full blast. Check out this video for tips on how you can most safely drive on snowy or icy streets.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Old Metro Patrol Station being torn down

The old Metro Patrol Division station at 1880 E. 63rd St. will soon be no more. Our goal is to have the building demolished by the end of the year. Built in 1977, it was in such poor condition that the cost to repair the building would have been well more than it is worth. Even if we were to use it as a storage facility, the leaks are so bad that the roof would need repair – which would be another large cost. I’ve heard from several people that the roof has leaked there since the grand opening of the building 33 years ago.

The old station has been vacant since June, when we opened the new station at 7601 Prospect Ave. But we didn’t forget about it. Inside every Kansas City Police facility is a bronze plaque stating when it was constructed, by whom, and who was on the Board of Police Commissioners and City Council at the time. We took that plaque out of the old Metro Station and installed it in the new building. I know the old station had a lot of sentimental value to many people, and we wanted to preserve it in some manner.

Demolition already is underway. The property is being abated right now as crews remove anything that requires special handling – like the fuel tanks that are there. Then, our goal is to have the building demolished and the site cleared by Dec. 31.

The future of the 1.5-acre site hasn’t been decided. It sits adjacent to the city’s Daniel Morgan Boone Park and is next to the burial site of the man for whom the park is named – the third son of legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone. So it has some historical and recreational value. We’ll try to keep you up to date on what will become of it.

The good news is that all the buildings constructed under this current public safety sales tax and the extension just approved by voters are designed to last at least 50 years. Maintenance funding has been built into the tax, so these buildings will serve the people of this city for many decades to come.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Man shot Sunday morning dies

At about 3:15 a.m. Nov. 14, police were called to the 3300 block of Wabash on a shooting. They found 27-year-old Timothy R. Martin shot in the front seat of a vehicle. He was transported to a local hospital and succumbed to his injuries today. Police don't know of any witnesses at this time. If you have any information, please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Kansas City Police tell motorists to Click It or Ticket on Thursday


The Kansas City Missouri Police Department is joining other law enforcement agencies Thursday, Nov. 18, for an aggressive “Click It or Ticket” mobilization to crack down on safety belt violators to reduce fatalities in advance of the busy holiday travel season.

Only 76 percent of Missourians buckle up regularly, which is 8 percent below the national average. Seven out of 10 Missouri residents killed in traffic crashes aren’t wearing a safety belt. To date, 57 people in Kansas City have died in traffic crashes in 2010.

“Nearly every day someone dies in a crash in Missouri because they aren’t buckled up,” said Sgt. Grant Ruark of the Traffic Enforcement Unit. “Using seat belts and child restraint seats is always important, but we are really stressing the issue just before the Thanksgiving holiday when so many people will be on the road. We want everyone to ‘Arrive Alive’ so they can enjoy a great holiday. Buckle up because we’ll be watching.”

For information on Missouri seat belt usage, visit www.saveMOlives.com.

Friday, November 12, 2010

KCPD moving to web-based criminal info system that will allow for e-ticketing

The Kansas City Missouri Police Department was ahead of its time in 1968 when it launched ALERT, the first computerized criminal justice information system in the state.

Now the department is taking the next step forward by moving from ALERT (Automated Law Enforcement Response Team) to REJIS (Regional Justice Information System). REJIS, based in St. Louis, will be a web-based system that is easier to use and will allow the department to move forward with e-ticketing.

“The goal of all of this is to provide accurate, timely information to officers in the field for officer safety,” said Sergeant Joy Colmar, assistant project manager for the REJIS transition.

Payroll, time-keeping, and a few other functions will remain in ALERT, but police information will move to REJIS.

The department and City of Kansas City signed the contract for REJIS in August and are migrating data into the new system. Training for all personnel who use the police function of ALERT will begin in the spring, and the whole REJIS system is planned to go live by Labor Day 2011.

“REJIS is very user-friendly,” Sgt. Colmar said. “You can see driver’s license photos, and it’s web-based, so you don’t have to know all the codes to run queries. You just click a button.”
Like ALERT, REJIS will allow officers to run subjects for warrants and probation/parole status, will check for stolen automobiles and keep statistics on arrests, accidents and offenses.

But REJIS also will allow the department to use e-ticketing. The Municipal Court already is moving to this paperless alternative, so the City is funding the police department’s switch to REJIS so it can be compatible.

E-ticketing will be virtually paperless. Gone will be the days of triplicate citations with sheets of carbon paper.

Officers will soon have computers with small printers in their cars (or a hand-held version for people like motorcycle officers) to enter citation information. They will then print a receipt-like ticket for the violator. The computer already will have transferred the citation information to the police department and to Municipal Court.

REJIS also will require an additional layer of security, she said. Officers will likely carry a key fob, commonly referred to as a token, that automatically generates log-in numbers to access the system.

REJIS is a quasi-governmental entity. It is governed by a Commission whose members are mostly police chiefs whose agencies participate in the system. The 120 area agencies who currently subscribe to ALERT will have the opportunity to join REJIS or subscribe to another criminal justice information system.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

KCPD to promote 19 department members


A host of KCPD members will be promoted Wednesday, including KCPD’s chief spokesman.

The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. Nov. 10 in the auditorium of the Kansas City Regional Police Academy. There will be two promotions to major, five to captain, seven to sergeant, one to master detective and four to civilian supervisor.

Captain Rich Lockhart, the face of KCPD in the news media and commander of the department’s Media Unit for more than eight years, will be promoted to Major. He will be assigned as leader of the Shoal Creek Patrol Division. Captain Melvin Harvey also will be promoted to major to serve in the newly re-introduced night commander position.

Wednesday’s ceremony also marks the first time in more than two years that anyone at KCPD has been promoted to captain. To make the most of slim resources and reduce the number of commanders, Chief James Corwin put a moratorium on those promotions until now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Most stolen cars in KC over the past three years

Channel 5 has a report out today about our most stolen cars so far this year. I wanted to dig back a little deeper and let you know the 10 most stolen vehicles over the past three years. Some of these are because they're just such popular vehicles and there are a lot of them on the road.

Others are work of thieves who specialize - the Dodge Intrepid was largely the work of a small crime ring that stole dozens of them in 2008 and 2009 who are now in prison (the Intrepid isn't even in the top 10 so far this year).

And just a warning as temperatures get colder - many of our car thefts come from vehicles left running unattended in the winter. Many of the cars below were part of that:

1.) Honda Accord
2.) Ford F150
3.) Dodge Intrepid
4.) Ford Taurus
5.) Jeep Cherokee
6.) Chevrolet Silverado
7.) Dodge Caravan
8.) Ford Explorer
9.) Oldsmobile Cutlass
10.) Dodge Ram

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org

Monday, November 8, 2010

A better climate in arrest vans

For those who have been arrested in Kansas City on a freezing cold or burning hot day, the short trip to jail hasn’t been a comfortable one. Our 20 or so arrest vans do not have heat or air conditioning in the prisoner compartment. We had installed fans, but they often weren’t enough.

A small group of officers and a sergeant in the Metro Patrol Division decided to do something about this. This past summer, they rigged up a PVC pipe that attached to the air vent in the cabin and came out in the prisoner compartment so arrestees could get some air conditioning. When one of our Fleet Operations Unit supervisors saw what they’d done, he engineered an even better system with a fan that circulates the cabin’s heat or air-conditioning into the prisoner compartment. As one of the officers who drives the van said, “It’s the same air the officers are breathing.”

About four of the arrest vans have been retrofitted with the system thus far, and more will be as they’re brought in for service. It costs only about $50 to make this big difference in prisoner comfort. All new vans are being ordered with the air circulation system already in place.

I was very impressed when I heard these officers cared so much about the treatment of people who have just been arrested. They spent their own time and money to rig up a system to keep prisoners cool or warm. I was even more impressed when our Fleet Operations Unit took their idea and ran with it, coming up with an inexpensive and more effective way to deliver heating and cooling. In the grand scheme of things, this is a little adjustment, but it speaks volumes of the kinds of compassionate and problem-solving people we have working at this department.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Friday, November 5, 2010

YouTube Channel

Did you know that in addition to our Twitter account and Facebook page, KCPD also has a YouTube channel? There are lots of videos there ranging from crime prevention tips to news stories about our department to dashcam videos. Check it out. Two new videos are up today.

The first is about how to prevent a break-in in your car.

And this one is about how our automated license plate readers work.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crime Scene School gets down and dirty to prepare students for real-world crime scenes


Class is in session at the Kansas City Police Academy, and the final exam is to analyze a bloody murder scene.

Instructors from KCPD’s Regional Crime Lab are teaching 17 students from law enforcement agencies across Kansas and Missouri to process crime scenes, so even if they don’t have their own CSI team, they can still knowledgeably and thoroughly gather and analyze evidence. Students will have to analyze mock crime scenes complete with blood (real human blood from the Community Blood Center that had expired), bodies, fingerprints and more.

“The whole goal behind the school is to get outlying agencies to feel more comfortable processing their own crime scenes,” said Ashley Vogelaar, a KCPD Crime Scene Technician and course instructor.

The students are primarily detectives from other police agencies and two new KCPD Crime Lab employees who are going to the school as part of their training. The teachers are KCPD Crime Lab scientists and crime scene investigators. The three-week class includes two weeks in the classroom and one week of hands-on work. Topics that are covered include: digital crime scene photography; crime scene processing; evidence identification, collection and preservation; report writing; diagramming; courtroom testimony; bloodstain pattern recognition and documentation; DNA capabilities; shooting reconstruction; crime scene management; latent fingerprint processing; firearms and toolmark identification; and footwear and tire track impression evidence.

KCPD’s Crime Lab has taught the course for more than a decade, and in so doing, have equipped police across the Kansas City area and around the Midwest to effectively process crime scenes.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thank you for your votes

I want to sincerely thank Kansas City voters for their overwhelming support of public safety. Yesterday, 70 percent of them voted to renew the quarter-cent public safety sales tax for another 15 years. Another 63 percent voted to allow the city to issue bonds to get major construction projects underway as soon as possible.

This was a clear indication that the people of this city value a place where police have the best tools available to fight crime. And they will. With the passage of the tax, here’s what’s coming:

• A new East Patrol Division station
• A new North Patrol Division station
• A new Crime Lab
• Police Headquarters renovations
• A new city-wide radio system
• Newer, more reliable police vehicles
• New police helicopters
• Modernization of police equipment
• A Real Time Crime Center
• New and updated ambulances

This packet of information explains more about each of these projects. In the coming months, you’ll be hearing more about them. On the construction side, we look forward to all the jobs they will create. Once they’re finished, we look forward to how they’ll better serve the community.

Thank you again for your support.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Get out and vote!

Today is election day all across America, and there are some very important issues and contests on the ballot here in Kansas City. I encourage you to research who and what you'll be voting for. If you live in Missouri, you can look up your sample ballot before you head to the polls.

If you live in Kansas City, questions 1 and 2 on the ballot are about renewing the public safety sales tax. Question 1 would renew the existing tax. Question 2 would allow the City to issue bonds, allowing for the completion of a new East Patrol Division Station, North Patrol Division Station, Regional Crime Lab and Headquarters remodel within the next 3 to 4 years. You can learn more at http://www.saferkc.com/.

Another important issue for both Missouri and Kansas City voters is Proposition A. The City of Kansas City has put together an informational packet on the possible effects of this measure that you can see here.  

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org

Woman killed at 12th and Michigan identified

At about 3:30 p.m. yesterday, Nov. 1, police were called to an apartment in the 1200 block of Michigan about a dead body. Officers found a deceased woman inside the home. She has been identified as 67-year-old Fannie Delia Young, of Kansas City, Mo. A maintenance employee found Young after noticing she hadn't picked up her mail in several days. She lived alone. Police are not releasing her cause of death but are investigating it as a homicide. Detectives are following up on leads and ask anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Ms. Young's death is the city's 92nd homicide of 2010, compared to 95 at this time in 2009 and 111 at this time in 2008. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Construction now underway for new South Patrol and Special Ops divisions

As I told you about last week, we broke ground on Friday on the new South Patrol and Special Operations division staions. It was a great day with lots of Southland community members, elected officials, and officers who are excited to get new facilities.

Below are the remarks I delivered at the event, and some pictures from the day. Keep in mind this project is being paid for by the 1/4-cent public safety sales tax voters passed in 2002. That tax is up for renewal tomorrow. Here are my remarks from that day: 

"Thank you, everyone, for joining us on this crisp morning. I want to especially welcome the elected officials here with us today, the members of the Board of Police Commissioners, staff members of the City Architect’s Office and our Capital Improvements Unit, Hoefer Wysocki Architects and Titan Construction. All of you have played a big part in getting us to this day.

Where we stand today was once the Hart Grove Campground. It was a place of rest and refreshment for pioneers headed west on the three trails that converged here: the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails. It was a safe haven for those pioneers, and it will be a safe haven once again. The construction of the new South Patrol and Special Operations Division stations will increase police presence and effectiveness both here in the Southland and throughout the city. We believe it will spur development in this area and deter crime.

These facilities are badly needed. The current South Patrol Division was built in 1978 and is not serving the needs of officers or residents. Its roof is leaking, there are inadequate facilities for female officers and community groups, and highway access is poor. Our Special Operations Division is housed in an even worse location – a dilapidated, old warehouse built in the 1930s with horrible leaks and mold that has previously caught fire.

Our officers and the community deserve better. And thanks to the generosity and foresight of Kansas City voters, they will get it. This station is being constructed with money generated from the quarter-cent public safety sales tax that residents approved in 2002. I want to sincerely thank the community for recognizing the importance of public safety. Without you, none of this would be possible."

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org

Victims of Thursday and Friday homicides identified

At about 10:15 p.m. Oct. 28, police were called to the 7600 block of Brooklyn, where they found 25-year-old Estalin Enrique Campos dead from a gunshot wound in the driveway of a home there. A witness said she heard a gunshot and saw an unknown vehicle speed away from the area.

The next night, at about 7:39 p.m. Oct. 29, police were called to a home in the 11800 block of Belmont because of a dead body. They found 75-year-old Nina Whitney, a white female, dead inside the residence. Police are not releasing her cause of death but are investigating it as a homicide. A relative said she had not heard from Whitney for a while and found her dead when she entered Whitney's home. Police believe Whitney lived alone.

Police ask anyone who has information about either of these homicides to please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.