Thursday, April 28, 2011

Officer honored for saving woman trapped in car

I presented a Certificate of Commendation today to Officer Brian Wilkerson. He did a very brave thing, and here's his story:

Officer Brian Wilkerson wasn’t even on duty when he risked his own life to save a woman hurt in a bad car wreck.

Just before 3 a.m. Nov. 25, 2010, Officer Wilkerson was on his way home from his shift when he saw a car turned over on its side at 31st and Michigan. He stopped and heard a woman inside screaming for help. He saw fuel leaking onto the ground and pooling by the driver’s side door and was concerned that it could ignite at any moment. He also saw the driver trapped inside the vehicle. Officer Wilkerson climbed onto the car and broke out the passenger window to get inside. He climbed through the vehicle and pulled the woman out of the car. He then helped her get a good distance away from the car in case it caught fire. He had her lie down and started precautionary medical procedures while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. The woman recovered from her injuries.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Friday Night at the Greenhouse supports KCPD Mounted Patrol


Make your lawn or garden beautiful while supporting the officers and horses of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Section.

Suburban Lawn and Garden at 4 W. 135th St. in Kansas City, Mo., will host Friday Night at the Greenhouse, a fund-raiser for the Friends of the Mounted Patrol, from 5 to 8 p.m. April. The business has generously agreed to donate 10 percent of all purchases made during this time to the Mounted Patrol. All are invited to attend.

Not only will this let you take advantage of the best time of year to purchase flowers, trees, perennials and more to enhance your home or business, you also can enjoy live music, beverages, light hors d’oeuvres and meet the Mounted Patrol officers and their horses.

KCPD’s Mounted Patrol Section was re-established in 2006 and is housed in City stables at Swope Park. All horses are donated and must pass rigorous testing to serve as police horses. Although Mounted Patrol is a budgeted unit of the police department, unexpected expenses do come up. The Friends of the Kansas City Missouri Mounted Patrol is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that raises funds for equipment and unexpected needs for these officers and their equine partners. Some of these needs include horses and their training, equipment, officer training, facility updates and unexpected medical expenses for the horses. For more information, go to  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Woman killed north of the River identified

At about 12:21 a.m. today, April 26, officers were dispatched to the 10300 block of North Tracy on a suspicious person who had apparently called a relative saying he had just killed his girlfriend. Officers found the woman inside the home deceased. She has been identified as 40-year-old Julie A. Johnson of Kansas City, Mo.

Officers located the suspect nearby and took him into custody.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Residents asked to bring old prescription drugs to take-back events Saturday


In an effort to combat prescription drug abuse, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will be part of the nation-wide Prescription Drug Take Back event Saturday.

At these events, residents can clean out their medicine cabinets and bring in old and unwanted prescription drugs for safe disposal. The Prescription Take Backs will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at the following Kansas City locations:

* 215 N.E. Englewood (Hy-Vee parking lot)
* 3215 Main St. (MainCor parking lot)
* 633 E. 63rd St. (National Council on Alcoholism parking lot)
* 5301 E. 27th St. (East Patrol Division Station parking lot)
* 9430 Blue Ridge Blvd. (Northwest corner of Walgreen’s Parking lot)

Partnering with the DEA, Kansas City Police will be on hand to collect prescription and over-the-counter pills, liquids, or other controlled substances in a safe, legal manner. The public can turn in the drugs anonymously and with no questions asked.

More than 7 million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. And the Partnership for a Drug Free America reports that 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time every day. Most of those drugs come from the medicine cabinet of family or friends. The Prescription Drug Take Back reduces the chance of that happening to a young person you may know. The Take Back also keeps prescription drugs from contaminating water sources.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Police complaint forms can now be filed online


Members of the public who feel they have experienced possible police abuse or misconduct now can file a complaint with the Office of Community Complaints (OCC) online.

The online form can be accessed at this link. Complainants can download the form, fill it out, and e-mail it as an attachment to An OCC analyst will then be in contact. Complaints cannot be submitted anonymously but do not have to be notarized for online submittal.

Previously, the only way to submit a complaint was in person at a police station or a few other neighborhood locations. The Board of Police Commissioners wanted a more convenient way for the public to be able report possible concerns about Kansas City Police.

About the Office of Community Complaints:
Under the authority of the Board of Police Commissioners, the Office of Community Complaints is a non-police, civilian oversight agency. The OCC has been charged with the responsibility of protecting the citizen from the possibility of abuse or misconduct on the part of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. The Office also is entrusted with the duty to protect members of the police department from unjust and unfair accusations. The Office of Community Complaints is committed to effectively and impartially resolving all complaints involving a citizen’s guaranteed right to fair and efficient police protection.

Homicide victim found in burning car identified

At about 11:09 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, officers were called to the 5400 block of Wabash on an injury accident involving a car that had crashed into the fence. Officers found the car on fire with a man inside. Police pulled the man out of the vehicle and saw he had what appeared to be a gunshot wound. He was immediately transported to a local hospital, where he died a short time later. The victim has been identifed as 38-year-old Robert Howard Jr. of Kansas City, Mo. Anyone with information should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Police looking for person of interest in 75-year-old's murder

Kansas City Police are looking for a person of interest in the Oct. 29, 2010, murder of 75-year-old Nina Whitney. Ms. Whitney was killed in a home in the 11800 block of Belmont. A witness saw the man in the above composite sketch in the 11800 block of Belmont on the day of the homicide and said he did not live in the neighborhood.

The man is described as a white male, 45 to 60 years old, who was about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed about 200 pounds. He may have walked with a slight limp. He was seen getting into a newer-model black Jeep, possibly a Jeep Patriot or Liberty.

If you have any information about the person of interest or the case, please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Please note: 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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An interesting day at CSTAR

Today was an interesting CSTAR (Comprehensive Strategic Team Accountability Review) meeting. All of the department’s commanders gather weekly to go over crime statistics and special problems and projects in each division and discuss solutions. The East Patrol and Special Operations divisions were up today, and we learned a lot.

Two visitors from the Urban Farming Guys came to tell us about how they moved from the suburbs into Kansas City’s urban core to raise their families there, improve the neighborhood and start an urban agriculture movement. Mayor-elect Sly James also visited today’s meeting and told us an illegal and dangerous party house that we’re trying to shut down is right next door to where he grew up.

Detectives reported that an arrest had been made in a series of Craigslist robberies. Multiple victims showed up to buy or sell something they saw on Craigslist and ended up getting robbed. (Our best advice on this continues to be to conduct transactions with someone you connected to online at a police station.) Detectives also said a good portion of East Patrol’s burglaries and arson fires took place at vacant homes, many of which had absentee landlords, making them difficult to prosecute. We even heard about a search for drugs in an East Patrol home in which officers found three alligators, a macaw parrot and a 12-foot python.

The Special Operations Division also reported that KCPD’s Commercial Vehicle Inspection Section received a national award for reducing commercial vehicle-involved fatalities on interstates from 2007 to 2010. Kudos to that hard-working group.

Finally, we got an update on Operation Constant Gardener, a multi-agency effort to target marijuana-growing operations today, on “4/20,” which is something of a holiday in the drug culture.

CSTAR does a great job of keeping KCPD accountable and keeping all elements informed about what’s going on elsewhere in the department. I encourage you to check out our CSTAR unit’s web page to learn about how they help us make the city safer.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Police to combat "420" DUIs


Once again, Kansas City Police will be out in force to combat those driving under the influence on a day known as a holiday in the drug culture.

April 20, or 4/20, is a day of widespread marijuana use, which Sergeant Daniel Graves of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department said can mean danger on the road.

“People need to recognize that a DUI is not just from alcohol,” he said. “Driving high is just as deadly.”

The Kansas City Missouri Police Department will saturate the roadways April 20 to enforce traffic laws with a specific eye out for those who may be using marijuana. The officers will pay special attention to areas around schools, parks and locations known for drug use.

Sergeant Graves said he wants to continue to use this day to educate parents about the meaning of “420” and the culture surrounding it, as has been done in the past few years.

“It’s in all kinds of rap, hip hop and rock songs your kids may be listening to,” he said. “We’re finding that many parents don’t realize this code.”

The common story of how 420 came to represent the cannabis culture is that of high schoolers in San Rafael, Calif., who met after school in 1971 to smoke weed at 4:20 p.m. because that’s when detention let out. Marijuana enthusiasts extended that to 4/20, or April 20.

Once again this year, 4/20 will mean heightened police presence on Kansas City-area roads and near schools.

“We will not let up on making our streets safer for everyone,” Sergeant Graves said.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

KCPD emphasizes employee health and wellness

At the Kansas City Police Department, we put a lot of emphasis on the health and wellness of our employees – law enforcement and civilian alike. Good health not only makes everyone more fit for duty but also increases productivity, reduces sick leave usage and decreases insurance costs.

We implemented a wellness program, Shield of Health, in spring 2010 with health fairs around the department. Almost half of the department’s 2,000 members participated and had screenings for height/weight/body fat measurements, a finger stick for blood sugars and cholesterol, and a blood pressure check.

Today, 93 department members are doing their post screenings for the “A Slimmer You” program. Some participants lost more than 25 pounds participating in this 10-week program. Our second annual Walk at Lunch Day will be April 27, and last year we sponsored two 50/100/150-mile challenges, asking our employees log this many miles over a period of weeks. A team of five KCPD members even competed in Ingram’s Fittest Companies Challenge and won the award for one of the most  “Most Improved Teams.” 

Nearly every KCPD station and building has a workout room, much of it with new equipment purchased through the wellness program. Webinars and lunch-and-learns have taught our department members about everything from workstation ergonomics to nutrition optimization. A wellness committee composed of department members plans these events and has several more in store in upcoming months, including another health fair, a kickball league and walking program.

Many department members also participate in CrossFit, an intensive physical fitness and nutrition program. You can even see our daily workouts on our web site. Also, our aerobics program offers department members days off for running or speed-walking a certain distance or completing an obstacle course in a certain time period (times vary by age).

We do all of these things to serve the public in the best way possible. Fit officers can better catch up with bad guys. Lower health insurance premiums save taxpayer dollars. And we do this because we care about our employees and want them to feel as good as they possibly can.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

KCPD's Body Shop creates new show car

There are many behind-the-scenes people at KCPD who don't get much public credit for the hard work they do. One of those is the Body Shop in our Fleet Operations Unit. Police cars can take a beating, and it's amazing how these talented technicians can put them back together. They save the department hundreds of thousands of dollars by repairing cars instead of forcing us to replace wrecked ones. In their downtime, they recently got to show off their skills by creating a new show car. Here's the story from our Informant newsletter, with pictures of the car below:

For the first time in more than 17 years, KCPD has a new show car to take to community events.

Police take the show car to dozens of events throughout the year. It’s a favorite among children and provides an opportunity for police to build relationships with residents. The previous show car, a 1993 Crown Victoria, had to be towed to all of its appearances. The new one, a 2006 Crown Vic, will head out on its own.

Fleet Unit Supervisor Darrell Cooper said the 2006 Crown Vic is a former KCPD patrol car that was taken out of service.

“Rather than sell it, we took it in, put a paint job on it, put some wheels on it and did some work on the interior,” he said.

Body Shop Supervisor Marvin Russell said all of the Fleet Unit’s Body Shop section brainstormed about a theme for the new car. They decided it should be a memorial to officers killed in the line of duty. The car features a large badge with a black mourning band on the front driver and passenger doors, stripes of the American flag all around and an eagle on the hood.

Fleet Operations Technician Michael Barton painted the flag portions, and Russell’s nephew, Kimo Russell, airbrushed the flag’s shading and the eagle. Carrell Brothers Colors even donated all of the paint.

“It came out really nice,” Supervisor Russell said.

The Body Shop also put on a spoiler and some shiny new wheels. They took the stereo out of the old car and installed it on the new one, as well as cleaned up the interior.

“The guys in the Body Shop all took part,” Russell said.

The new show car will start making more and more public appearances as the weather warms for spring and summer festivals and community events.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Audit shows KCPD fully meets continuing education requirements


An internal audit revealed that Kansas City Police officers are in complete compliance with state continuing education requirements but recommended a lighter workload for the one person assigned to keep track of these courses.

Missouri Peace Officer Standards Training (POST) requires all law enforcement officers to have 48 credit hours of continuing education every three years. Internal auditors examined a sampling of the more than 1,200 KCPD officers who took mandated continuing education courses over a three-year period. They found all officers are meeting their continuing education requirements and that the credits are being effectively tracked for state requirements.

The audit did find, however, that the burden of coordinating and tracking all of KCPD’s law enforcement continuing education training fell to one person. Auditors determined her workload was too high, and commanders responded that they would try to spread some of her duties out among other staff members.

The full audit report is available online.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Community, parents must work together to avoid another "Plaza mob" incident

As the weather warms, the problem of big groups of juveniles gathering on the Country Club Plaza is coming forth again. This past weekend, there were large numbers of young people dropped off at the Cinemark movie theater, but they didn’t go in. They simply congregated and loitered. Fortunately, there also was a large police presence, and no incidents were reported. However, we want to avoid what happened this time last year.

As you may recall, last year hundreds of juveniles gathered on the Plaza and intimidated patrons, nearly shut down several businesses and erupted in violence.

Following that incident, police enacted a crowd control plan and convened a youth summit with urban-core teens and city leaders. They met at Police Headquarters. This summit sought to identify why young people gathered at the Plaza, why they became unruly and what alternative activities they could engage in. The findings were turned over to the City’s youth advocate, and a City Council member agreed to spearhead the project. But little has been done since last year to provide an alternative for these young people.

The issue is rearing its head again, however, and many are coming to police looking for answers. But this is not a police issue. It is a community issue and a parenting issue. The mission of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department, in partnership with the community, is to protect life and property while reducing fear and disorder. It is not to sponsor activities for youth or ensure parents are supervising them properly. At about this time last year, we sent out a plea to parents reminding them of curfew laws and making them aware that we would be enforcing them. We also asked them not to just drop off their children and leave. A police officer and theater manager even were passing out fliers this past weekend to parents dropping off their kids, informing them of when the theater closed and curfew information.

While this is not a police problem, we’d like to be part of the solution. The solution ultimately will involve many facets: concerned parents, youth advocates, ministers, educators and others who care about the future of youth in this city. Feel free to e-mail any ideas you have to or contact your elected officials.

KCPD to shine spotlight on sexual assault awareness in ribbon campaign


The Kansas City Police Department is joining 44 other area law enforcement agencies and the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) to put a spotlight on sexual assault awareness April 11-15.

Officers from the agencies listed below will tie teal ribbons to the spotlights of their patrol cars April 11-15 as part of the Spotlight on Sexual Assault Ribbon Campaign to show support for the victims of sexual violence. The campaign will kick off at 1 p.m. April 11 with a press conference featuring vehicles and representatives from the participating agencies and commanders of the sex crimes units of the Kansas City Missouri and Overland Park Police Departments. The event will take place at the Kansas City Regional Police Academy, 6885 N.E. Pleasant Valley Road.

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. April 11-15 also is National Crime Victims Rights Week.

Kansas City, Mo., saw a 19 percent decrease in reported rapes from 2009 to 2010.

“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 Kansas:
Fairway Police Dept.
Gardner Department of Public Safety
Johnson County Sheriff's Office
Kansas City Kansas Police Dept.
Leawood Police Dept.
Lenexa Police Dept.
Louisburg Police Dept.
Merriam Police Dept.
Miami County Sheriff's Office
Mission Police Dept.
Olathe Police Dept.
Osawatomie Police Dept.
Overland Park Police Dept.
Paola Police Dept.
Prairie Village Police Dept.
Roeland Park Police Dept.
University of Kansas Campus Police Dept.
Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office

From Missouri:
Blue Springs Police Department
Cass County Sheriff's Office
Clay County Park Rangers
Clay County Sheriff's Office
Excelsior Springs Police Dept.
Garden City Police Dept.
Gladstone Department of Public Safety
Grain Valley Police Dept.
Harrisonville Police Dept.
Kansas City Missouri Police Dept.
Lee's Summit Police Dept.
Liberty Police Dept.
Lone Jack Police Dept.
Mosby 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 Department of Public Safety
Smithville Police Dept.
Sugar Creek Police Dept.
Tracy Police Dept.
University of Missouri-Kansas City Police Department

Friday, April 8, 2011

Police will play host to Sixth Annual Broadway Bridge Run on Sunday


The Broadway Bridge and nearby roads will close the morning of Sunday, April 10, to make way for officers and community members running to raise money for Special Olympics Missouri.

The Sixth Annual Broadway Bridge Run/Walk aims to have more than 1,100 runners and walkers. The race raised nearly $43,000 for area athletes with intellectual disabilities in 2010. The Kansas City Missouri Police Department plays host for the run.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. April 10 at Market Park at 3rd and Main Streets in the City Market. The races will begin at 9 a.m. The event features a 10K run, 5K run/walk and Family Fun Run. The run starts at the City Market, goes across the Broadway Bridge, winds around the Downtown Airport and back again.

Online registration is closed, but you can register the day of the race or at any packet pickup locations:
April 8 - Garry Gribble's (119th & Quivira) – 4 to 7 p.m.
April 9 - Steamboat Arabia Museum (400 Grand, KCMO) – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Plenty of entertainment will be available for non-runners, as well. Radio Disney will be live on site, and numerous music acts will perform on the main stage. KCPD will have McGruff the Crime Dog as well as the department’s Mounted Patrol and Tactical Units and show car in the City Market. Great prizes also will be up for grabs in a silent auction.

The following road closures are scheduled Sunday from about 8:30 to 11 a.m. to accommodate the Broadway Bridge Run:

• 169 Highway, both directions including the Broadway Bridge, from 9 Highway to 5th Street
• 9 Highway southbound entrance ramp to 169 southbound

Patrons to the Downtown Airport will be allowed in and provided a police escort to ensure the safety of the runners. Officers will be positioned at the following locations to provide the escorts to the Airport:

- 169 southbound at 9 Highway
- 9 Highway southbound at the 169 southbound entrance ramp
- 6th and Broadway

For more information, go to  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Special Olympics and KCPD

Special Olympics has long been the charity of choice for law enforcement nationwide. At KCPD, we do many fund-raising events for these intellectually disabled athletes. Athletes also use the gym and field at our Police Academy for practice and games. Additionally, several of our officers are at most of their major tournaments and championships to present medals to the winners. Many of those officers have said they have been blessed immeasurably by how excited the athletes are to meet and be awarded a medal by a uniformed police officer. 

This video explains some of KCPD's involvement in Special Olympics Missouri. One of our biggest events is coming up this Sunday: the Broadway Bridge Run. More on that tomorrow, but for now, please check out for more information about this 10K run, 5K run/walk and family fun run hosted by our police department.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thank you for your support of public safety and city services

I want to thank everyone who made it to the polls yesterday to vote on whether to extend Kansas City's 1 percent earnings tax. By more than a 3-to-1 margin, you showed your support for this vital funding source of public safety and city services. Unofficial returns showed more than 78 percent of residents voting "yes" to keep the tax. Our cross-state neighors in St. Louis showed even more support, with 87 percent of voters there electing to keep the tax.

Voter turn-out also was encouraging and showed Kansas Citians really care about the future of their community. Thank you again.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Election day for the E-tax

I sincerely hope that Kansas City residents will take advantage of the privilege they have today to vote on how their local government is operated and funded. Residents will today decide whether to extend the 1% earnings tax paid by me, every KCPD member, and everyone else who works in Kansas City, Mo., for another five years. I told you last week about the estimated impact on the department of losing the tax. If you'd like more information, check out this presentation.

Thank you to all of those who already have cast your vote, and thanks to those of you who plan to do so later today.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Westside garden deters crime, creates community

As spring comes to Kansas City, residents of the Westside are looking forward to doing more work in their community garden, which is a partnership between police, the Westside CAN Center and other groups. The below story from the April edition of our Informant newsletter explains what the garden is all about. Go to Westside CAN's web site to see lots of pictures of the garden.

What once was a vacant Westside building housing vagrants now is a source of community pride, educational opportunities, vegetables and chickens.

This is the second season of the Westside Community Action Network (CAN) Center’s community garden at 20th Street and West Pennway. A previous garden spot behind the CAN Center is now a parking lot.

“The community members get to know each other, kids are learning, and we’re reducing crime and creating community,” said Officer Matt Tomasic, who came up with the idea for the garden with Officer Octavio “Chato” Villalobos and Westside CAN Director Lynda Callon. “… There is no downside to this.”

The garden features 30 plots, all of which are claimed by community members. It sits where a vacant building was torn down more than two years ago. The site owner lets Westside CAN use the land for free. Community members grow everything from garlic to carrots to spinach to pumpkin to cantaloupe. A butterfly garden attracts monarchs, and old tires painted primary colors house flowers and vine plants. Because there is no plumbing at the site, all water comes from rain barrels colorfully painted by local school children. The garden’s first beehive is due to arrive in mid-April.

“The primary purpose of the bees is to increase the harvest,” said Ezekiel Amador III, community member and beekeeper. “… Then in August, we’ll harvest their honey.”

Also on the site: chickens. Officer Tomasic said local schools hatched the eggs but then didn’t know what to do with the chicks, so the community garden took them in. Westsider Cosmé Pantoja built them a sprawling enclosure with donated materials and tends to them daily. The six hens and two roosters produce about eight eggs each day.

Amador and Marcella Morales-Gaona, another Westsider and gardener, lead and participate in workshops for residents and their children to learn more about growing plants. Gaona said they’ve had no problem with theft or vandalism both because the site is fenced and because the community takes pride in the garden.

“The beauty of it is when it’s warmer, people are here until dark,” Officer Tomasic said. “If they’re not working, they’re socializing until 9 or 10 o’clock at night.”

Amador said community partnerships – like the ones the garden enjoys with the nearby Irene Ruiz Library and KCPD – are what make the garden happen.

“People don’t even see the officers as having a police connection,” Amador said. “To them, they’re just neighborhood and community guys.”

One KCPD connection is evident at the garden right now, however: two large piles of manure produced by the horses of the Mounted Patrol Section to be used as fertilizer.

“This is the good stuff,” Gaona said. “We’ve been waiting on this.”

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Teen shot last week has died

At about 3:12 p.m. Thursday, March 31, officers were called to 57th and Bales on a shooting. They found 17-year-old Anthony S. Adgers with life-threatening injuries. He died the next day at a local hospital. Anyone with information about this case should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477). This is Kansas City's 20th homicide of 2011, compared to 22 at this date in 2010 and 30 in 2009.