Monday, October 31, 2011

Have a happy - and safe - Halloween

If you're looking for a fun, safe place to take the kids for Halloween tonight, head out to the Seventh Annual Safe Trick-or-Treat event, sponsored by KCPD's North and Shoal Creek patrol divisions and Northland Neighborhoods Inc. The festivities will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Metro North Mall at 400 NW Barry Rd at the southwest entrance by the old JC Penney's. The event is free and for children 12 and younger. It will feature a spooky haunted house, games, candy and fun. Bring you camera to get pictures of your costumed kids in the photo area, as well.

If you can't make it to Safe Trick-or-Treat, the police have some tips to keep Halloween safe and fun for everyone:

♦ Check your children’s candy before they eat it! Send them out with safe “starter” candy.
♦ Remind children to NEVER enter anyone’s home or car.
♦ Have all children trick or treat in groups.
♦ Set a time for trick or treaters to be home and remind them to call 911 if there is unlawful or suspicious activity.
♦ Tie small glow sticks or use reflective tape on your child’s costume so they are easily seen in the dark.
♦ Always walk. Never run across a street.
♦ Have adults walk the neighborhood to discourage malicious mischief and keep children safe.
♦ Remind children to stay in populated places and not use back alleys or fields.
♦ Avoid replica toy guns - They may be mistaken for the real thing!
♦ Children should obey all traffic signs and look before crossing the street. Never cross between parked cars, in the middle of a block or diagonally through intersections.
♦ Do not leave your home unattended - Keep pets inside.
♦ Use Jack-O-Lanterns or high intensity glow sticks to light porch steps. Make sure trick-or-treaters are safe.
♦ Only give out commercially wrapped treats.
♦ Have an old-fashioned neighborhood Halloween block party to get to know neighbors.
♦ Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations.
♦ Only trick or treat in neighborhoods where you know residents and at houses with porch lights on.
♦ Make sure young children are accompanied by an adult or responsible teenager when they go door-to-door.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Turn in your prescription drugs at Take Back event Saturday, or any time at Northland stations


Kansas City residents will be able to drop off their unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs all over Kansas City on Saturday, and now there are permanent drop-off locations at two police stations.

Kansas City Police are partnering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to present the nationwide Take Back day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. The drop off locations will be:

• MainCor, 3215 Main St.
• CVS, 11124 Holmes
• 633 E. 63rd St.
• Shoal Creek Patrol Division, 6801 NE Pleasant Valley Rd
• North Patrol Division, 1001 NW Barry Road

Residents can drop off the drugs anonymously with no questions asked. With the exception of needles, all expired, unused or unwanted medicines – prescription or over-the-counter – can be turned in. The Take Back intends to combat prescription drug abuse and dispose of the drugs in an environmentally responsible way. The drugs will be incinerated, keeping them away from those who would abuse them and out of the water supply and away from wildlife. Last year, KCPD collected 1,179 pounds of drugs at their April 2011 Take Back event.

But Saturday won’t be the only chance for residents to dispose of their unwanted medicines. In partnership with the Northland Coalition, permanent drop boxes have been installed at KCPD’s North and Shoal Creek patrol divisions. Starting Oct. 29, residents can drop drugs off 24 hours a day, every day at the receptacles in the stations’ lobbies.

For more information about the nationwide Take Back Day, go to For more information on the Northland Coalition and others sponsoring the prescription drug drop boxes, visit

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Police launch revamped 911 Call Center by tweeting all dispatched calls for one hour


The Kansas City Missouri Police Department will launch their new 911 Call Center be tweeting all dispatched activity from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday.

The 911 Call Center has been undergoing renovations for nearly a year. The upgrades have been to accommodate the new city-wide radio system, which is set to go live Nov. 9. It replaces 15-year-old technology. With the old system, police could not easily communicate with neighboring law enforcement agencies. KCPD’s dispatchers had to call other agencies’ dispatchers and have them relay that information to their officers on their own radio system.

“We will have inter-operability with our sister agencies,” said Steve Hoskins, KCPD’s Communications Unit Manager. “Now we have the availability to work an incident together anywhere from western Johnson County to eastern Independence with the shared resources we’ll have available.”

The Call Center itself features upgraded consoles for calltakers and dispatchers, who must stay at their stations for long periods of time during 8- or 12-hour shifts. It also has a new video system which allows dispatchers to see live feed through KC SCOUT Traffic Cameras, security cameras set up throughout the city, weather reports, news broadcasts and more so they can better support officers in the field.

To celebrate the new 911 Call Center and demonstrate KCPD’s call volume (the Call Center received 892,283 911 calls in 2010), police will tweet every call that officers are dispatched to between 11 a.m. and noon Thursday on the police department’s Twitter account, @kcpolice or

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Drivers with revoked licenses are dangerous

Tonight, police will conduct a driver’s license checkpoint in the southern part of the city. Many have said these checkpoints take resources away from violent crime (they don’t – these are separate officers working on grant-funded overtime) or do nothing to protect public safety. That’s simply untrue.

Our officers already had put in for a grant to conduct these checkpoints when a man with 16 prior convictions for driving without a valid license plowed into the back of a car stopped at a red light, killing 12-year-old Damian Slayton on March 27, 2010. And we have new data now that show a significant portion of the drivers in fatal crashes so far this year were driving with revoked or invalid licenses.

As of Oct. 16, 49 crashes had killed 55 people in Kansas City in 2011. Three of those were hit-and-runs we’re still trying to solve, and another one the Missouri State Highway Patrol is working. So of the 45 crashes in which we know who the driver was, 19 of those drivers were on the road with a revoked or invalid license. That’s 42 percent. Another 11 were under the influence of alcohol or drugs (and we’re still waiting on the lab results for an additional four who we suspect were DUI).

So 42 percent of known drivers in fatal crashes in Kansas City so far this year had a revoked license or none at all. These licenses were revoked for a reason, and these drivers are dangerous. 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.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

National Alliance for Mental Illness honors KCPD's commitment to serve

Our Informant newsletter this month highlights our Crisis Intervention Team Program. Two other local law enforcement agencies and KCPD led the charge to bring this program that serves the mentally ill to Missouri 10 years ago. It has saved many lives since. Check out the story below:

A woman threatening officers with a knife could have faced a far worse fate one February morning last year were it not for CIT training.

The woman was holding the knife and already had slit her wrist. She was agitated and hostile and approached officers several times, asking them to shoot her. Sergeant John Blomquist arrived, and his six years of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training led him to believe this woman was no ordinary criminal. Rather, she was severely emotionally disturbed. Instead of confronting her with lethal force, he fired a beanbag round that knocked the knife out of her hand, and she was taken into custody to receive treatment.

The suicidal woman was just one of many whose lives have been touched since Kansas City Police embraced the CIT program a decade ago. On Sept. 21, the Kansas City Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) presented KCPD with an award recognizing the department’s decade of dedication to training officers to respond to people in mental health crisis.

“It’s one of the best programs – if not the best – to have an impact on the mental health community in over 35 years,” said Guyla Stidmon, executive director of NAMI-KC. “I have seen some really big system changes for the good.”

A total of 403 sworn KCPD officers now are CIT-trained. CIT Program Coordinator Captain Todd Marckx said police often are the first people to encounter someone having a mental health crisis.

“The more knowledgeable and aware we are of what other people are going through, that makes us more prepared to help them,” Marckx said.

From Jan. 1 to Sept. 27, 2011, KCPD responded to 900 calls of an emotionally disturbed person, 37 of whom were armed with a weapon. Police logged 269 Crisis Intervention Team reports in the same period.

Ten years ago, Memphis was the only place in the country training police to deal with the mentally ill. Stidmon said KCPD, the Lee’s Summit Police Department and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office were the agencies who wanted to expand it to a second location.

“Those were the three who said, ‘We recognize mental health and illness are an important thing to our community. We’re willing to take the chance, dedicate the staff, and work with you to design the program,’” she said.

Captain Joseph Chapman was integral in starting KCPD’s program. Sergeant John Bryant said Chapman convinced him to come on board after Bryant struggled with a son who has severe emotional health problems.

“We all think we’re 10 feet tall and bullet-proof, but police have mental health issues in their families, too,” Bryant said.

Bryant now teaches CIT courses in de-escalation and scenario-based training. He also shares his own family’s experiences to personalize the training and better prepare officers for what they might encounter.

“People don’t call 911 to invite you to a birthday party,” he said. “A lot of the time, they’re in crisis.”

Stidmon said the training has saved an untold number of lives.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Targeting hot spots

I said yesterday that I’d be letting you know about some of my crime-fighting strategies and priorities in the weeks and months to come, and I wanted to start by telling you about the hot spot initiative.

The hot spot initiative focuses on four separate areas totaling 13 square miles that since 2009 have been responsible for 50 percent of Kansas City’s homicides and 42 percent of its aggravated assaults with firearms. I don’t want to identify where those areas are right now because we want to stay a few steps ahead of the criminals.

The initiative began Sunday, and it involves us deploying both covert and overt operations in those hot spot areas. We are not, however, pulling resources out of any other area of the city to do this. Several of our specialized units are now working on this operation. We already have served multiple warrants and recovered drugs and firearms.

This is the immediate part of a more extensive crime-fighting plan. In 30-45 days, we’ll be putting together a committee that includes community members to look at narcotic deterrence and homicide reduction. This will be our first large-scale, community-policing project.

The hot spot initiative, meanwhile, is a long-term operation. While not sacrificing police presence anywhere else, it seeks to root out violent crime in the hardest-hit parts of town.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Allow me to introduce myself

Hello, everyone. I’m Darryl Forté, and I was sworn in as the chief of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department on Oct. 13. I am very honored the Board of Police Commissioners selected me to lead the department, especially as the first African-American Chief. But I’m going to try to take my mother’s advice to “stay humble.” I think this blog has been a great way to interact with and inform the community, and I intend to continue it. So watch it regularly. In the coming weeks and months, I’ll let you know about the plans I have to fight crime and work with the community.

I wanted to start by telling you a little about me. I was born and raised in Kansas City. I have four siblings, and we were raised by a hard-working single mother. I graduated from Ruskin High School in 1980 and earned an associate’s degree from Penn Valley Community College in 1985. That same year, I joined the police department. I went on to earn my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from Park University in 1990 and my master’s degree in management from Baker University in 1997. I’m also a graduate of the 197th session of the FBI National Academy, which took place in 1999.

I may be new to the Chief’s spot, but I’ve been with the KCPD for 26 years. I’ve held every rank in the department: officer, detective, major, you name it. And I’ve had the opportunity to work in diverse units, from Central Patrol Division to the Vice Unit to the Drug Enforcement Unit to the Employment Section and Narcotics and Vice Division.

I have been married for 24 years and have two daughters: a 22-year-old and one who’s about to turn 20. In my free time, I enjoy fishing, hunting and flying remote-control helicopters.

I’m not afraid to make changes to benefit the department and the city, and I’ve already done so. You’ll be hearing about more of those soon. I also know the community is the best crime-fighting tool we have, and I look forward to working with you in the future.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Darryl Forte sworn in as new chief of police

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs swore in Darryl Fortè as the 44th chief of police of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department today. Fortè is the department's first African American chief, as well. Below are some pictures of his swearing-in ceremony this morning at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Robbery detective named Crime Stoppers Officer of the Year

A lot has been going on around the Kansas City Police Department, but it was nice to pause today to see one of our detectives get recognized for his extraordinary investigative work. The Kansas City Crime Stoppers named Detective Christopher Toigo of KCPD’s Robbery Unit as the Officer of the Year at their 62nd annual luncheon today. This award is presented annually to an officer or detective in the metro area “who has exhibited outstanding career achievement in investigations.”

Detective Toigo was unaware he was getting the award until the luncheon today. Here’s what Crime Stoppers had to say about him and why he deserved the award:

"This year’s recipient began his career with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department in October 2001. According to his supervisor, this detective has gained the respect of his peers, received no discipline during his tenure and works well with a multitude of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies during the course of various investigations. He has also received more than 38 commendations during his career.

Representing a new generation of detective, this individual excels in the use of social media as an investigative tool to develop leads and suspects. He is also a skilled interrogator.

Examples of this detective’s prowess include the recent case of a career criminal whose history dates back to the 1980’s. The suspect had been incarcerated for robbery, kidnapping and armed criminal action until he escaped from prison by using the identity of his cellmate. Since the escape, the suspect had been featured twice on America’s Most Wanted and was actively being sought by the US Marshals, FBI and multiple state and local agencies. Coincidentally, this detective was assisting on a residential robbery case which also involved the kidnapping of a 20-year-old woman. Using social media, and within the first eight hours of the investigation, this detective identified and confirmed, with the assistance of a male victim, the identity of the first suspect. From this identification, the second suspect, our aforementioned career criminal, was identified. The continuing investigation led to the recovery of multiple weapons, ammunition, stolen property and evidence.

After conducting a thorough interrogation of the suspect, the detective got a full confession for robbery, rape and kidnapping. After several days of interrogation, the suspect, Rowdy Offield, confessed to nine business robberies in the metro area, more 100 robberies in Kansas City and provided information regarding robberies in 23 different states.

A further example of this detective’s exceptional work involves the 2011 robbery and homicide at Bledsoe Rentals located at 50th and Prospect. Knowing the area and frequency of Metro bus traffic, this detective contacted ATA and was able to locate, save and copy footage from cameras on the buses that showed the suspects entering the business before the homicide and leaving afterward. This detective was also able to determine the description and location of the get-away vehicle and immediately provided that information to the Homicide Unit. The vehicle was located with the murder weapon still in the trunk and two suspects were identified, taken into custody and subsequently charged with homicide.

Lastly, from late 2010 through early 2011 the Kansas City Metro area was victimized in a series of highly organized, take- over type grocery store robberies. A total of eight stores in six different jurisdictions were involved with losses totaling more than $100,000. This detective assumed the role as lead and coordinated resources including the Career Criminal Unit of the KCPD and the Violent Crime Squad of the FBI. Also involved were members of the Odessa, Raytown, and Independence, Missouri Police Departments. In addition, the identity of one of the suspects was developed by this detective after having received a TIP from the Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline. At the conclusion of the case, a full confession was gained by this detective, and three suspects were charged federally and now face up to life in prison for the crimes. Furthermore, multiple felony cases in 6 jurisdictions were cleared and four weapons including an SKS assault rifle were recovered.

These are but a few examples from an extensive resume that continues to grow. It is our honor to present the 2011 Crime Stoppers Officer of the Year award to Det. Christopher Toigo, Robbery Unit, Kansas City Missouri Police Department.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Guard Cables

Every day, you drive by something that saves lives in Kansas City, and you probably don’t even notice them.

Guard cables installed in medians have proved to be enormously successful in preventing cross-over crashes on highways. Before they were installed in Kansas City in the early 2000’s, we averaged about nine deaths a year from vehicles crossing over into opposing lanes of traffic on highways. Interstate 435 and U.S. 169 were some of the worst places.

So far in 2011, we have had no fatalities resulting from crossovers. In fact, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) told me that since 2004, there has been a 75 percent reduction in crossover fatalities on interstates in Kansas City. Not coincidentally, MoDOT has installed 75 miles of guard cable in the Kansas City area (Platte, Clay and Jackson counties) during that time.

An even more impressive statistic from MoDOT: in the last eight years in Kansas City, 2,659 vehicles have lost control and struck the guard cables. That is 2,659 vehicles full of people who did not cross over into oncoming traffic at a high rate of speed. That is potentially thousands of lives that have been spared from injury and death.

As Retired Deputy Chief Cy Ritter said at a recent Board of Police Commissioners meeting: “It shows that some things work.”

In Kansas City, guard cables are in place on Interstates 29, 35, 435 and 470. MoDOT also recently began installing them on U.S. Routes, as well, including Highways 50, 71 and 169.

The below video from MoDOT gives you a good overview of guard cables and how they work:

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Citizen Satisfaction Survey

Since 2005, KCPD’s scores on the annual Citizen Satisfaction Survey have steadily increased. The 2011 results were released last month (click here for survey), and they continue to show improvement.

This year, 63 percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of police protection; 60 percent were satisfied with the quality of police services; and 57 percent said they were satisfied with how quickly police respond to emergencies.

The number of people dissatisfied with police also has plummeted since 2005. Six years ago, 20 percent of respondents were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the overall quality of police protection, and this year just 13 percent were.

How safe people feel also is up across the board. Statistically significant increases were seen in feelings of safety Downtown and in city parks. Not all of this can be attributed to police, but we hope our efforts are leading to an increased perception of safety.

We don’t believe these steadily increasing satisfaction scores are mere coincidence. We have made a concerted effort to improve our customer service and make the best use of our resources for fighting crime. It is a privilege to serve the residents of Kansas City, and we hope to see these numbers rise for years to come.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Over the Edge- Special Olympics

Two Kansas City Police employees have totally gone over the edge. Literally. Sergeant Cindy Cotterman and Administrative Assistant Carolyn Merino both rappelled off the side of the 15-story Clubhouse on Baltimore (at 1228 Baltimore) Friday, September 30th.

They haven’t gone totally nuts. They participated in the annual Over the Edge event to raise money for Special Olympics Missouri, law enforcement’s charity of choice. Together, they raised a total of $2,795.

The Kansas City Police Department and Missouri National Guard played host to the event. Check out some of the pictures of Cindy and Carolyn below:

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