Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Police offer free women's personal safety seminar on Saturday


For the first time, police are offering their four-hour Women’s Personal Safety Seminar for free this Saturday.

The course will be from 8 a.m. to noon Dec. 3 at the Kansas City Regional Police Academy, 6885 N.E. Pleasant Valley Road. Enrollment is open to females age 16 and older, but those younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Participation is limited to 50 women.

The four-hour class focuses on awareness, prevention, streetwise caution and self defense. Kansas City Police Academy instructors and other KCPD officers teach the class, which features hands-on activities, defensive tactics training and question-and-answer sessions.

The course will cover many topics, including: self defense techniques; identity theft prevention; and safety tips for the home, car, purses, shopping, exercising and more. Women from throughout the Kansas City metro area are invited to participate.

While the course is free, women are asked to register in advance by calling 816-413-3500 or e-mailing  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sixteen pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in Kansas City so far this year

An alarming trend has emerged in our traffic fatality statistics so far this year: 16 pedestrians have been struck and killed in Kansas City. That’s a quarter of all our traffic deaths to date in 2011 (63 so far). Just six pedestrians were killed in 2010, which comprised only 9 percent of fatalities last year. And this is just people on foot. We count bicyclists separately.

We often urge drivers to be careful, but now I think it’s important to urge pedestrians to be very aware of traffic around them. Of the 16 pedestrian deaths so far this year, some numbers to consider:

• 4 cases occurred on limited-access highways (highways with entrance and exit ramps), and 2 of those involved persons tending to or exiting from disabled vehicles.

• 8 cases involved pedestrians who were either walking in or along the roadway.

• 6 cases involved people crossing the roadway, and 2 of those persons were within crosswalks.

• 7 cases involved pedestrians who were found to have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Most disturbing, there have been four hit-and-run cases in which a pedestrian was killed and the person who hit them just drove away. Three of these four cases remain unsolved. Without witnesses, it can be very hard to get justice for these victims, so any information you have about any of the following cases would be very helpful:

Kelvin Brown – Age 47, struck at 11:54 p.m. May 13, 2011, by a dark-colored pick-up truck as he crossed Paseo at 44th Street

Debra Johnson – Age 50, struck by an unknown vehicle at 12:16 a.m. August 14, 2011, on E. 10th Street just west of Harrison

Wildrain Wildberry – Age 71, struck by a silver passenger car at 2:09 a.m. on Paseo near 45th Street.

Please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477) if you have any information about the hit-and-run crashes that killed these people.

Walking during the day and in well-lit areas, using sidewalks and crosswalks, and avoiding alcohol and drugs are easy ways to protect yourself as a pedestrian. Also, do not walk on highways. Vehicles are traveling at very high speeds and often do not have time to stop if they see a pedestrian. Nearly everyone has a cell phone nowadays, so if your vehicle breaks down, please call for assistance rather than walking somewhere to get it.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Be safe during your holiday shopping

With Black Friday behind us, holiday shoppers are out in full swing now. Officers from Shoal Creek Patrol Division will be out again this year conducting Operation Safe Holiday. They’ll be in the busy commercial districts along Missouri 152 Highway near Interstate 35 and at Chouteau and I-35 telling shoppers how to stay safe and not to leave valuables in their cars. They’ll be passing out holiday crime prevention information, which I’d like to share with you right now:

At home:

• Ensure all windows and doors are secure.
• Use lights inside and outside your home. Use timers and motion sensors.
• Tell your neighbors when you’ll be gone, and know when they’ll be away, too.
• Have neighbors or friends collect mail, newspapers and door hangers while you’re out of town.
• Keep gifts and packages out of view from open windows.
• Before you give that gift, record all serial numbers. In case it gets stolen, this will make it easier to track down and return.
• Keep bushes trimmed down to prevent hiding places and trees trimmed up for good visibility outside.
• Install deadbolt locks with a ¾-inch throw.
• Don’t leave garage doors open.
• Don’t park outside your home with the garage door opener visible.
• Use an alarm system, if you have one.

Out shopping

• Always lock your car with the windows up.
• Don’t leave anything of value in plain view in your vehicle.
• Lock items in the trunk of your car.
• Park in a well-lit area.
• Don’t leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart.
• Never leave your car unoccupied and running, even for short periods of time.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Community Support Division will reach out to those affected by violent crime

One of the new divisions I created when I was named chief was the Community Support Division. It’s still in the development phase, but I think we can do a much better job of supporting the victims, families of victims and witnesses to violent crime. This was part of my strategic plan that I discussed with the Board of Police Commissioners when they interviewed me for the chief’s position.

We have bits and pieces of support here and there – like a domestic violence victim advocate who is a liaison with the Rosebrooks Center – but we need to provide more comprehensive customer service to those who have been affected by violent crime.

The need for this became especially evident to me when the mother of a friend of mine who was killed in a triple homicide called me up with no idea what to do about her son’s body or his funeral. That is something we should be able to help out with.

The new Community Support Division will combine department personnel, department chaplains, other clergy and volunteers to reach out to those who are hurting and scared and get them to the resources they need. In fact, the sergeant I’m assigning to the division also serves as a pastor. Some people think of police as intimidating people in uniform, but most of our officers are deeply caring and empathetic to the plight of victims and their families. The Community Support Division will seek to help those whose lives have been impacted by violent crime.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Bring your comments and concerns tomorrow

Just a brief reminder that many of our department elements and I will be at the Bob Mohart Center (formerly the Linwood Multipurpose Center) at 3200 Wayne from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to hear your comments and concerns. I look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fighting homicides

Since I was sworn in as Chief last month, my No. 1 goal has been to reduce violent crime. That includes solving those crimes and getting the offenders in custody as quickly as possible to prevent retaliation and additional acts of violence. In addition to the Homicide Unit, I have asked several other department elements to respond to homicide scenes, and they have begun to do so. This past weekend, when we experienced six homicides in 10 hours (a body found in a burned house, a double homicide, and a triple homicide), having those extra officers and detectives on-scene paid off.

One of the additional elements now having a representative respond to homicide scenes is the Street Crimes Unit. Their purpose is to gather information so they can assist the Homicide Unit in tracking leads and identifying and pursuing suspects as quickly as possible. They did just that on Friday and Saturday. As a result, with the help of our Career Criminal Squad, the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department and the ATF, they were able to track down and arrest the suspects in the double and triple homicides and are now pursuing other leads on the victim found dead in the burning home.

As I previously noted, following the six homicides, I called in additional officers who weren’t scheduled to work last weekend. It was those members from the aforementioned Street Crimes Unit squads that were out all weekend running down leads and successfully tracked down and arrested the suspects in five of the weekend’s six homicides.

The message I want to send to the citizens of Kansas City is that what we experienced last Friday and Saturday will not be tolerated or accepted as a fact of life in this city. Each incidence of homicide will be treated as a critical incident, and we will commit all the resources necessary to ensure our best chance of success in solving the crime and bringing those responsible to justice.

I want to thank all the officers and detectives who committed their time and efforts to identifying, locating and arresting the two homicide suspects believed to have killed five individuals over the weekend. Your excellent work and commitment to the residents of Kansas City have not gone unnoticed. I also want to thank those individuals who stepped forward and assisted us in identifying and locating the suspects. We will continue to need the assistance and cooperation of the citizens of Kansas City to reach our common goal as one community to significantly reduce violent crime and improve the quality of life for all of our residents.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Deadly weekend prompts deployment of more resources in hot spots

This weekend was a tragic one in Kansas City: six homicides and another suspicious death under investigation. I lost a friend who I’ve known since I was 12 to the violence. Anthony Carlos Richardson was killed in a domestic violence-related triple homicide on Friday. We built a two-story club house together and called each other “brothers.” More recently, we talked every day on the phone, and I still have some of the inspiring text messages he often sent me in the mornings. I heard the pain in his mother’s voice on the phone this weekend, and I know the families of victims of violent crime are feeling the same hurt.

That’s why we are committed to continuing to go where the criminals are and stop them. We’ve been doing hot spot policing for almost a month now. This weekend’s homicides were a setback, but they will not deter us. I immediately deployed additional resources this weekend, including officers who weren’t scheduled to work. We watch crime data and gather intelligence information every day and will be adjusting our deployment as needed. As Mayor Sly James said about the hot spot approach at our press conference this weekend to address the violence, “We’re in the first inning of a baseball game here.”

But if anything good came out of the three separate homicide incidents this weekend, it’s that people came forward to give police information in each of them. Charges already have been filed in the triple homicide in which my friend was killed, and police are looking into good leads in the others. It’s too early to say whether this cooperation is indicative of a changing attitude toward the police, but I hope so. If you have any information, I ask you to contact police or the TIPS Hotline (816-474-TIPS).

My strategy of hot spot policing goes hand in hand with building relationships with the community. We’re seeking to go into neighborhoods, separate the offenders from the victims, and root out weapons. We don’t want to be heavy-handed, except with those who are causing the problems.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Public invited to share concerns, ideas with police at forum Saturday

The residents of Kansas City are among the police department's best resources. That's why I want to keep in touch with them on a regular basis, starting with a forum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday. Check out the press release below, and I hope to see you there.


Chief Darryl Forté invites the public to a forum Saturday to meet with various Kansas City Police Department elements and ask questions or voice their concerns.

The forum will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 19th in the Robert Mohart Multipurpose Center at 3200 Wayne Ave. The event will be structured so community members can speak one-on-one with commanders and officers as well as Chief Forté. Representatives of multiple KCPD units will be at tables to speak with the public. Some of those units include Homicide, Narcotics and Vice Division, Human Resources Recruiters, and each patrol division station. Residents are invited to ask questions and share their concerns about public safety and quality-of-life-related issues.

Chief Forté also will ask community members who have specific public safety problems they’d like to see addressed to sign a “Community Contract” with the KCPD. This contract will outline the mutually agreed upon action steps to be taken by police and residents to address the issue.

“It says we have a shared responsibility and individual accountability – both police and community members – for resolving problems,” Chief Forté said.

This is the first of several community forums Chief Forté hopes to conduct on a quarterly basis.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Honoring the military service of those on KCPD and everywhere

Tomorrow, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department and the rest of the nation will observe Veteran’s Day. Our organization highly values military service. We have many veterans and active-duty members of the United States Armed Forces on our department, and they proudly wear a ribbon on their uniforms noting their service to our country. It is a wide green band with slim stripes of orange and gray on either end.

As we approach Veteran’s Day, I wanted to take the time to recognize those who are serving both our city and our nation at this very moment. A dozen KCPD officers are on military leave right now, many facing the dangers of combat in a foreign land. Please give a quick prayer or thought for the safety of these officers and for the loved ones who miss them back home.

Additionally, I want to thank all of those who have served in the military past and present. You have protected the freedoms we so often take for granted.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's only a test

I want to make sure everyone in Kansas City is aware of the upcoming Emergency Alert System test on Wednesday so you know that it’s just a test and there is no reason to panic. You may hear these tests from time to time on the radio or on television, but until now all of the tests have been local. The first nationwide test will be in two days at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Nov. 9. The federal government is conducting the test “to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the system in alerting the public.”

According to the Federal Communications Commission, The Emergency Alert System is “a media communications-based alerting system that is designed to transmit emergency alerts and warnings to the American public at the national, Tribal, state and local levels. EAS participants broadcast alerts and warnings regarding weather threats, child abductions and other types of emergencies. EAS alerts are transmitted over television and radio broadcast, satellite television and satellite radio, cable television and wireline video services.” In Kansas City, you’ve probably heard the EAS during events such as tornadoes and Amber Alerts.

The nationwide test on Wednesday should tell you that it is only a test, but the FCC has warned us in some places that message may not get through. We have informed all of our staff of this test, so they will be aware in case someone contacts police thinking an actual emergency is taking place.

Please let others know about this test. For more information, see the FCC’s fact sheet.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

It's not all about the numbers

As you might have seen in my earlier post, we compiled enforcement statistics in the violent crime hot spot areas we’re targeting. We tracked those carefully from Oct. 22 to 29, but I want to make sure that this isn’t a number-driven initiative. It also needs to be about community engagement. When something bad happens, police need to have solid relationships in place with citizens to help us.

The culture on this police department has long been that if you tell an officer he needs to arrest 15 people, he’ll go and arrest 15 people. I want to get away from that mindset and let our officers know that positive interactions with the public are just as important as how many felons they get off the street. That’s why, for this week, we’re going to take the statistic-driven model and turn it on its head.

Starting yesterday, Nov. 6, and lasting all week, we will be tracking the number of positive citizen contacts patrol officers have. This could be anything from knocking on doors to meet residents, stopping by talking to business owners, chatting with the folks at the barber shop or helping someone out by giving them directions. It could even be someone who gets a ticket but felt the officer did an excellent job and was very professional.

The community is our greatest asset in preventing and solving crimes, and building better relationships between the public and the police is one of my top priorities.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Progress in crime hotspots

UPDATE, Nov. 7 :
A quick update to the stats I gave you below. Here are the full statistics for the hot spots from Oct. 22-29:

• Six homicide suspects apprehended
• Warrants cleared: 9 City, 12 State and 4 federal
• New Felon In Possession charges: 2
• New Possession of Narcotics charges:15
• New Distribution of Narcotics charges: 14
• Aggravated assault charges: 2
• Robbery charges: 1
• Total car checks/pedestrian checks/traffic violations: 662
• Search warrants served: 6
• Guns recovered: 5
• Cocaine recovered: 1,100 grams
• Marijuana recovered: 3,325 grams
• K2 recovered: 289 grams
• Cash recovered: $4,656

I wanted to give you an update on how the plan to target violent crime hot spots is going. Since we saturated these high-crime areas beginning Oct. 16, tremendous progress has been made. In just one week (Oct. 22-29), we apprehended six homicide suspects. To my knowledge, that is the first time that’s ever happened. We also have busted 17 people selling narcotics on the street, 15 for possession of narcotics and 14 for of distribution narcotics. We have contacted many potential suspects through a total of 662 car checks, pedestrian checks and traffic violations in these hot spots. We’re also still pulling the numbers together on the numerous felon-in-possession of firearms cases we’re working. We’ve also conducted many search warrants, recovered multiple firearms and drugs. Through this, we’ve cleared numerous city, state and federal warrants. More on those stats to come soon.

As I’d mentioned before, these four hot spots comprise 13 square miles and are where 50 percent of the city’s homicides and 42 percent of the aggravated assaults with guns have happened since 2009. I’m not identifying them because the criminals don’t tell us where they’re going to be, and we don’t want to do them any favors. The officers and I have spoken with the people in the target neighborhoods, and they’ve told us our efforts are making a difference.

Another part of my plan to reduce violence focuses on reducing the opportunity for the victim and offender to come together. Oftentimes, today’s victim is tomorrow’s offender. Over and over again, we see people get shot, survive, and refuse to prosecute the person who assaulted them. They want to take justice into their own hands, and this just perpetuates violence. If we know these shooting victims have involvement in narcotics and/or gangs, we are not going to just let them walk away. We will heavily encourage them to deal with their issues through the legal system. If they still refuse, we will stay on them, doing everything within the law to keep them away from the person against whom they seek revenge, even if that means arresting them for jaywalking to get them off the street. We cannot let violent feuds continue, catching innocent people in the crossfire and destroying communities.

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