Friday, September 30, 2011

Two-day operation targeted violent offenders in suburban areas

Press Release:

Kansas City Police and their local and federal partners went after violent crime suspects in the suburban areas of the city in a special operation that took place Sept. 28 and 29. Police served 13 search warrants and conducted 85 knock-and-talks in south Kansas City and the Northland. The two-day initiative, one day in south Kansas City and the second in the Northland, resulted in numerous arrests and the recovery of guns and narcotics. The initiative also led law enforcement to two marijuana grow operations and the arrest of several individuals involved in an organized shoplifting ring that plagued multiple jurisdictions on both sides of the state line.

The results are:

* 25 warrants cleared

* 25 new arrests

* Narcotics recovered

- 36,354 grams of marijuana

- 5.1 grams of cocaine

- 269.2 grams of K2

- 2.5 grams of pills

- 1 gram of methamphetamine

* 5 firearms

* 10 arrests for prostitution

Local agencies who participated in the initiative include Clay, Jackson and Platte County Prosecutors’ Offices, Platte County Sheriff’s Office and Grandview Police Department. Federal agencies included the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Marshals Service and Drug Enforcement Administration.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Northeast business thanks KCPD Foot Patrol

We spotted this sign on a business at the corner of Independence Avenue and Chestnut, in one of our foot patrol areas. It’s a very heartening sign (literally) that this initiative is working and improving the quality of life of people in the targeted areas. The Northeast News also followed along with officers serving in this area, and you can check out their story here. 

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Task force identifies solutions to reduce crashes on 152 Highway


After months of study, a task force has come up with solutions to reduce crashes in the most accident-prone area of Kansas City.

The Reducing Accidents on Highway 152 Task Force looked at the area of the 152 Corridor from Flintlock Road to Highway 291. Last year, two intersections in this corridor ranked No. 1 (152 and N. Flintlock) and No. 3 (152 and N. Church Road) in the top five crash locations in Kansas City.

The task force, convened by Kansas City Police, included police and city leaders from Kansas City and Liberty, the Liberty School District (school buses travel the corridor 100 times daily), business representatives, the Missouri Department of Transportation and concerned citizens.

“We needed to get the stakeholders in the places affected by this together at one table to identify the problem and look at solutions from every angle,” said Major Rich Lockhart of the Shoal Creek Patrol Division.

Liberty City Councilman Jeff Watt said the work of the task force benefits both Liberty and Kansas City by highlighting the issues faced by drivers in the northeast part of the Kansas City metro area.

“With over 60,000 people living on either side of the highway, everyone benefits in these efforts,” Watt said.

The task force began meeting in March 2011 and learned more than 30,000 vehicles travel the corridor every day. From Jan. 1, 2010, to March 15, 2011, 88 crashes occurred just in the area of N. Flintlock and N. Church. Twenty-five of those crashes involved injuries, and 62 were rear-end collisions.

The report states the solution that will have the greatest effect is the “Flintlock Flyover.” This flyover would take at least 7,500 cars a day from the 152 corridor by diverting traffic from Highway 152 and Flintlock south and crossing over Interstate 35, connecting on the east-side of I-35 near Pleasant Valley Road.

Kansas City Councilman Scott Wagner said the flyover idea had been around before, but it’s received new momentum with the task force’s work.

“MoDOT, Liberty and Kansas City are working together to get that done,” Wagner said. “The task force brought forward why it was needed in the first place and reinforced the reason to move forward.”

Other solutions the task force identified include improvements to the I-35 overpass, improvements to the Highway 291/I-35 interchange, reducing the speed limit on eastbound 152 at Shoal Creek Parkway, rumble strips and more. Click to see the entire report

Monday, September 26, 2011

Public invited to question finalists for police chief position


The public will get the chance to interview the candidates for the next chief of police of Kansas City, Mo., on Oct. 6.

The community is invited at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, to the auditorium of Paseo Academy, 4747 Flora, for an open forum with the five finalists for Kansas City, Missouri, police chief. The forum will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Attendees will be invited to submit questions to the candidates in writing.

The five finalists for the chief position are:

KCPD Deputy Chief Darryl Forté
KCPD Deputy Chief Kevin Masters
Retired KCPD Deputy Chief Vincent Ortega
Fayetteville, N.C., Chief of Police Thomas Bergamine
Rochester, N.Y., Executive Deputy Chief George E. Markert.

Immediately after the public forum, the Board of Police Commissioners will meet in closed session. The Board also will conduct closed interviews with the finalists Oct. 5 and 6. The meetings are closed pursuant to Missouri Statute Section 610.021(3) because they relate to “hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting or particular employees by a public governmental body when personal information about the employee is discussed or recorded.”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Celebrating the life of a fallen officer

Kansas City Police are mourning the loss of one of our own today. This brave officer did not lose her life after a battle with a gun; she lost it after a battle with breast cancer. Master Patrol Officer Diane Engebretson passed away early yesterday, Sept. 21. She was 51 years old and had served as a patrol officer for her entire 23 years on the police department. She was assigned to the over-night shift at North Patrol Division at the time of her death.

We will celebrate Officer Engebretson’s life in many ways, one of which is to help find a cure for the disease that took her from us. Kansas City Police are participating in the 2011 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Oct. 29 at Liberty Memorial. This event raises money for the American Cancer Society, which uses the funds to do everything from transporting those suffering from breast cancer to and from treatment to researching innovative drugs and therapies. You can help by donating to the KCPD Team, “Walking the Beat for Breast Cancer,” by searching for our team name here.

The walk is just one small thing we can do to honor Officer Engebretson for all the dedicated service she has given this police department and the people of Kansas City.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

KCPD is cracking down on child restraint violations Sept. 18-24


Because car crashes are the No. 1 killer of kids and because nearly 73 percent of all child restraints are not used correctly, Kansas City Police will join other agencies statewide in aggressively enforcing child restraint laws.

The Child Passenger Safety Week Campaign will run from Sept. 18 to 24 and crack down on Missouri’s child safety seat law violators to try to reduce fatalities and injuries to children. The campaign will involve having extra officers on the streets and highways looking for violations of all types, but especially focusing on those involving unbuckled children. Missouri law requires all children under the age of eight to be in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat unless they are 80 pounds or 4 feet 9 inches tall.

“Regular child safety seat and safety belt use is the most effective way to protect yourself and your children in a motor vehicle crash,” Sgt. Grant Ruark of the Traffic Enforcement Unit said. “We intend to get this message across to those who do not practice the simple habit of buckling up themselves and their children.”

For more information on Missouri’s seat belt use, visit

Additionally, Kansas City Police will conduct a driver’s license checkpoint tonight. During this operation, there will be signs placed in advance of the checkpoint site, and officers will be directing traffic. Motorists will be directed to a location where an officer can conduct a brief check to determine whether the motorist should be delayed longer. If not, the motorist will be delayed only a very brief period of time.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Chief's blog carries on

Hello, my name is Cheryl Rose, and I’m honored to be serving as the interim chief of police of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. I was very humbled the Board of Police Commissioners chose me to serve in this capacity until a permanent replacement for now-retired Chief James Corwin will be selected, likely in mid-October. The Board has the authority to name an interim chief under the provisions of 84.490(2) of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. I was sworn in this morning.

I always thought Chief Corwin’s blog was a great idea and an excellent way to communicate with the public we serve, so I wanted to continue it during my time in office. First, I wanted to introduce myself. I was born and raised in south Kansas City, graduating from Hickman Mills High School. I have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the administration of justice from the University of Central Missouri.

I joined the Kansas City Police Department in 1987 and have been assigned many different places, so I have a good overview of how the department operates. Some of those assignments have included patrol, Street Crimes Unit, Internal Affairs, Robbery Unit, Planning and Research, and being commander of the South Patrol Division. Most recently I was assigned as deputy chief of the Administration Bureau, which oversees the Information Services and Human Resources divisions.

Outside of the police department, I am a board member for Rosebrooks Center, a domestic violence shelter and agency.

Again, I’m very honored to be in this position for a time, and I plan to give it my all and do the best I can.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Good-bye, and thank you

Today is surreal and bittersweet. I am writing my final blog and leaving what have been my job and my family for more than three decades. I retire today, on the 365th day of my 32nd year of service at the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. I have been immensely honored to have spent the last seven years as Chief of Police of this amazing organization. But I know it’s time to move on and let someone with new ideas take the helm.

Much has changed since I started here in 1979. For just a visual of the evolution, compare a police car then: a button for lights and one for sirens, to one now: in-car computers, digital camera systems, automated license plate readers. That’s a microcosm of how technology has shifted how we do what we do. What has not changed is good ole’ common police sense. The technological tools help, but solving the whodunits and making relationships in neighborhoods, that’s still the same.

I can’t believe sometimes I’ve gotten paid to do what I do. It has been such fun and such a challenge. As chief, every day was different, and the variety was invigorating. Some days fell more on the challenge side – like fighting for the resources the men and women of this department deserve to do their job effectively and be fairly compensated for it.

But other days left me bursting with pride – like when an officer is honored for his or her heroics. Or how the whole department came together to make the organization more efficient through the Blueprint for the Future project. This project brought in outside auditors to analyze KCPD’s processes, and then nearly 200 department members went to work to study and implement the auditors’ recommendations. I also am proud of how far we’ve come with the CSTAR (Comprehensive Strategic Team Accountability Review) process. CSTAR brings commanders together regularly to talk about issues and statistics in their division and how they plan to address problems. It’s been a very effective method in allowing us to determine where best to use our resources and pinpoint career criminals.

I also am humbled that I get to speak with you directly in a forum like this. I started this blog in February 2009 and have posted more than 800 times since. KCPD is a national leader among law enforcement in social media (we’re also on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and are constantly investigating new ways to reach out). I can’t tell you how many times other agencies have asked us how they can replicate what we’re doing to directly communicate with the people they serve.

In many ways, I feel like I’m leaving the department in a good place. Crime has been on the decline for more than a decade. Violent crime fell 12 percent from 2009 to 2010. The residents of this city have firmly supported the department’s capital improvement program, and the investment they made through the Public Safety Sales Tax will ensure KCPD’s capital and equipment needs will be taken care of for years to come. We also enjoy the local, non-political control provided by our governance system. It allows officers to do their jobs without having to look over their shoulders and has numerous checks and balances that make for a very transparent organization.

Many people have asked what I plan to do upon retirement. I have no plans to step back into the public eye any time soon. I will continue my involvement on the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America’s Heart of America Council, where I will promote urban Scouting initiatives. I’ll also keep teaching an MBA course at an area university. Finally, I’ll be part of a working group announced by Gov. Jay Nixon that will work with the Pew Center on the States to look at solutions for prison overcrowding while still maintaining public safety. And I look forward to travelling and spending more time with my family.

Thank you for your support of the dedicated professionals who comprise the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. They cannot do their jobs without it. Finally, thank you for supporting me, especially in this blogging endeavor. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to share my thoughts and the story of this police department directly with all of you, and I hope my successor enjoys it, as well.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Police unveil alternative fuel vehicles


Some of the 1.3 million gallons of fuel Kansas City Police vehicles use every year is becoming cheaper and greener.

Police unveilED their new compressed natural gas vehicles at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the Shoal Creek Patrol Division, 6801 N.E. Pleasant Valley Road.

KCPD has two Chevrolet Impalas and is awaiting the delivery of 10 Ford Crown Victorias that are fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG). The CNG vehicles will be administrative cars, used by detectives and commanders. At this time, patrol vehicles cannot use CNG because the fuel tank is placed in the trunk, and patrol officers must carry a large amount of equipment in their trunks.

“We are committed to trying out alternative fuels to keep our fuel costs low and reduce the pollution emitted by our vehicles,” said Major Bob Kuehl, the leader of KCPD’s Fleet Operations Unit.

CNG is running at about $1.20 per gasoline gallon equivalent. It also is a domestic product and could reduce the department’s dependence on foreign oil. This also makes it a more secure source of fuel for first responders in the event of a crisis.

KCPD received funding for the CNG conversions through U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) award DE-EE0002538, a grant coordinated by the Kansas City Regional Clean Cites Coalition. The Coalition, a member of the DOE’s Clean Cities Initiative and administered by Metropolitan Energy Center, is a partnership between private businesses and local governments to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of fuel and increase our region’s air quality through adoption of clean transportation technologies and policies.

Monday, September 12, 2011

All synthetic cannabinoids are now illegal in Missouri

A new law that went into effect Aug. 28 outlaws all chemical compounds used to create synthetic cannabinoids. These go by such names as K2, K3, Syn, Spice, Incense and Potpourri. Missouri outlawed five chemical compounds in 2010 – including those used to make K2, but dubious chemists slightly altered the chemical compounds to make alternate versions that fell outside the law. The new law encompasses the whole spectrum of these compounds, making all synthetic cannabinoids illegal.

Because they were not illegal for a short time, most people don’t realize how dangerous these chemicals are. Sergeant Tim Witcig of our Drug Enforcement Unit said most of the synthetic cannabinoid chemicals come to the U.S. in powder form from overseas, usually from China. It is completely unregulated. Dealers in the United States then mix it with a liquid like acetone or alcohol and spray it on plant material. Studies have shown these synthetic drugs can be up to 10 times stronger than marijuana and produce significant negative effects on the human body.

In Kansas City, a teen who smoked K2 on his way to school went into cardiac arrest immediately afterward. Were it not for quick-responding teachers, school resource officers and ambulance personnel, he would have died. Sergeant Witcig said those who use these synthetic drugs experience hallucinations that have caused them to carve their bodies up with knives and throw themselves out of moving vehicles into traffic.

Because of these dangers, legislators have banned the drugs, and KCPD is working hard to enforce that ban. The drugs once were available at convenience stores and coffee shops, but they should not be any longer. If you see a store selling these, report it to police. Sgt. Witcig said police are taking a three-pronged approach to enforcement:

1.) Monitoring retail outlets and those who sell synthetic cannabinoids
2.) Locating manufacturers and dismantling their operations
3.) Stopping shipments of the chemicals from overseas and domestically.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

KCPD better prepared to combat terrorism than ever, but everyone still needs to be vigilant

This weekend, we will observe the 10th anniversary of the worst terror attack on American soil. Security is understandably heightened nationwide and here in Kansas City (like at KCI Airport). I want you to know that KCPD is better prepared to combat terrorism than ever before. Our Homeland Security Unit is closely tied to federal, state and local agencies that investigate terrorism and conduct many investigations on their own. Just in 2010, they conducted 158 international terrorism investigations and 65 domestic ones. The video at the bottom of this post explains some of the ways KCPD has changed in its approach to fighting terrorism in the last 10 years.

We also are part of the Kansas City Terrorism Early Warning Center, which links the region together and keeps law enforcement informed of any possible threats.

Police have remained very vigilant about anything that could signal a possible terrorist attack in Kansas City. Nine box trucks - like those used in the Oklahoma City federal building bombing - were stolen in Kansas City earlier this week, and our officers and detectives immediately went to work to track them down and see if there were any ties to terrorism activities. Within just a couple days, investigators had located all nine trucks and two suspects. The suspects were career auto thieves who had been out of jail for just a few weeks and had no ties to terrorism.

But police can't be everywhere. We need your help. If you see something, say something. Be alert for the seven signs of terrorism and report anything suspicious. You can report any this to the Kansas City Terrorism Early Warning Center, which has partnered with the TIPS Hotline, at 816-474-TIPS; KCPD’s Homeland Security Unit at 816-889-6130; your local law enforcement agency; or the Kansas City FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force at 816-512-8200. If you sense an impending emergency, call 911. You can even report suspicious activity online.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Board of Police Commissioners names finalists for chief of police


The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners has released the names of the finalists for the position of chief of police.

The finalists are:

KCPD Deputy Chief Darryl Forté
KCPD Deputy Chief Kevin Masters
Retired KCPD Deputy Chief Vincent Ortega
Fayetteville, N.C., Chief of Police Thomas Bergamine
Rochester, N.Y., Executive Deputy Chief George E. Markert.

The Board will conduct closed interviews with the finalists Sept. 18, Oct. 5 and Oct. 6. A public forum with the finalists will take place the evening of Oct. 6 at a location to be announced.

The Board has named Deputy Chief Cheryl Rose to serve as interim chief of police upon the retirement of Chief James Corwin on Sept. 16.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's Crime Stoppers Month in Kansas City

Last Thursday, the Kansas City Council declared September 2011 as Crime Stoppers Month in Kansas City. Crime Stoppers, which operates the TIPS Hotline and numerous other programs, is an incredibly valuable resource to our department. The language of the resolution spells out the amazing work they do here in KC:


Declaring September 2011, as Crime Stoppers month and supporting the mission of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission and Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers (816) 474-8477 TIPS Hotline.

WHEREAS, the City of Kansas City, Missouri places a high priority on public safety; and

WHEREAS, the Crime Stoppers program serves the Greater Kansas City area through the cooperation of law enforcement, the community and the media by providing an ANONYMOUS way to submit information regarding felony crimes by phone at (816) 474-8477 (TIPS), on-line,, or via TEXT, at 274637 (CRIMES) by including “TIP452” and your information, and pays cash rewards of up to $1,000.00 for arrest; and

WHEREAS, over its 29-year existence the TIPS Hotline has established a proven record of success by assisting law enforcement in clearing over 23,300 cases to include 590 homicides, 1,560 robberies, 170 rapes, 5,600 narcotics cases, 2,735 fugitive arrests and taking over 117,250 TIPS; and

WHEREAS, during that same period the TIPS Hotline helped recover over $8,154,990.00 of property, $14,870,300.00 of narcotics, 1,663 firearms and paid out over $1,177,000.00 in cash rewards; and

WHEREAS, the program recently implemented a Gun Bounty program, with the support of the Kansas City, Missouri City Council, to help address the violent crime rate in the Kansas City Metropolitan area, and the operation of the Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline will continue to increase public safety by improving the quality of life, decreasing crime and assisting law enforcement in apprehending criminals and combat fear and apathy by offering an ANONYMOUS way to provide information and by paying cash rewards to citizens; NOW, THEREFORE,


That the Mayor and Council hereby declare September 2011, as Crime Stoppers month and support the mission of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission and Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers (816) 474-8477 TIPS Hotline; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Resolution be spread upon the Minutes of the Council in testimony thereof and that a copy hereof be presented to the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline Board of Directors with the congratulations of the Mayor, Council and citizens of Kansas City for making a difference to help reduce violent crime in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Odd day at Headquarters

A car crashed into Police Headquarters here at 12th and Locust just after noon today. It went through the west garage door on 12th Street. It's a bizarre story, which the Kansas City Star did a good job of summing up. But everyone's OK, and police immediately took into custody the suspect who started the incident. Here are some pictures of the damage.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Drive safely this weekend and have a great Labor Day

Lots of you will be hitting the roads to celebrate the upcoming three-day weekend and last unofficial weekend of summer. Please be careful when you do so. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, from 2003 to 2007 (the latest statistics available), 77 people died and 2,769 were injured on Missouri roadways over the Labor Day weekends.

We're doing our part at KCPD to make sure drivers in Kansas City stay sober. We conducted a sobriety checkpoint last night (which stopped a total of 199 cars at 634 Prospect and resulted in the arrest of eight drunk drivers, two people who were driving with revoked licenses and the recovery of a stolen car) and plan more this weekend. We also will put out saturation patrols, sometimes known as wolfpacks, to seek out drunk drivers and get them off the roads.

So enjoy these final days of summer, but do so safely and responsibly.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

An alternative voice on public pensions

On Tuesday, Aug. 30, the City’s Pension System Task Force got to hear an alternative viewpoint to what they’ve been hearing about public retirement systems. Hank Kim made a presentation to the group, and he is the executive director of the D.C.-based National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems. NCPERS is a “nonprofit network of trustees, administrators, public officials and investment professionals who collectively manage nearly $3 trillion in pension assets held in trust for approximately 21 million public employees and retirees – including firefighters, law enforcement officers, teachers and other public servants.”

On Monday, Aug. 29, Mr. Kim wrote a response to the Kansas City Star’s Sunday editorial that said he would present “one-sided points.” His letter made solid, well-rounded arguments, and here’s what it said:

“To the Editor:

"Despite the unfair assertion in your Sunday editorial (Don’t accept ‘What, me worry?’ pension views), I will not be presenting one-sided arguments to Kansas City’s Pension System Task Force on Tuesday. The task force has invited me because its members want to be fully informed about all available options before making its recommendations to Mayor James and the City Council – an approach for which they should be applauded, not criticized.

"The fact is there are a number of effective strategies for securing the health and sustainability of a public pension plan before taking the drastic and costly step of converting it to a 401(k)-style plan. Many public pension plans around the country are employing those strategies.

"It’s important to remember that public employees routinely contribute to their pension plans, paycheck after paycheck, while many government bodies – including Kansas City – have not made their required pension contributions for years. Before scapegoating public employees and threatening their retirements, policy makers and the general public should become fully and adequately informed of the facts and the available options. I hope to help with that process on Tuesday.

"While revenue shortfalls have prompted government officials to scrutinize public pension plans, we believe their focus is too narrow. The U.S. is facing an overall retirement crisis as record numbers of workers enter their retirement years. Retirement security for all Americans –whether they work in the public or private sector – must become a national priority.”

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