Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A police department to be proud of

As I’ve discussed here, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department has committed to assisting Joplin, Mo., as it recovers from its tornado. We have 28 officers assigned there for at least the next two and a half weeks. This past weekend, we sent an additional 12 down to help with President Barack Obama’s visit. We also sent two technicians from our Fleet Unit and three specialists from our Communications and Communications Support units to help with logistics.

Board of Police Commissioners member Lisa Pelofsky spent the day with KCPD during the presidential visit on Sunday and reported back to me that she was bursting with pride about the department. She said, “I heard repeatedly from numerous other federal, state and local law enforcement that the KCPD was not only extremely well-trained but is one of the most professional law enforcement agencies in the country.”

She said it was apparent that both KCPD’s sworn and non-sworn members in Joplin were given the most important and some of the most dangerous duties during the past week and during the presidential visit. They kept combative, armed and violent individuals on the president’s route at bay, keeping not only President Obama but Joplin’s citizens safe. Commissioner Pelofsky said the officers were confident and never shaken. She said the damage in Joplin is “beyond comprehension,” but that “our efforts are making a difference there.”

I, too, am so proud of the men and women of this department. Deputy Chief Cy Ritter recently was criticized in a Kansas City Star editorial for calling our police department “one of the best in the country,” but I believe he was spot-on. When the situation is at its worst, KCPD is at its best. This never has been more evident than this past week in Joplin.

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