Monday, February 27, 2012

What I'm hearing about "Kansas City's finest"

I know the staff of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department has not had it easy the last several years. Aside from a small 2 percent increase in August that was accomplished by not filling more than 100 vacant positions, they have not seen a raise since 2008. But I want you and them to know that they really are “Kansas City’s finest.” They go into situations no one else wants to, resolve problems no one else can and make us proud to call this city home.

Because you rarely hear about all the little, helpful things police do, I wanted to share with you just a sampling of some of the letters I’ve received from citizens in the past few months. If you’d like to let me know about an outstanding KCPD employee, e-mail  

From a concerned father:

“I want to express my thanks to Officer David Lantz of the KCPD for his outstanding professionalism and public service last night in dealing with my son, who was pulled over for speeding. Officer Lantz surely demonstrates the finest example of law enforcement that anyone, and particularly any parent, can possibly expect in their community. I am hoping that Officer Lantz’s excellent discussion with my son has hit a ‘home run’ and that his advice will be something by son takes to heart.”

From a 79-year-old man who hurt his back trying to change a flat tire near Headquarters:

“I walked to the police station and asked for help. Ms. Doris Williams of the Records Unit immediately helped me by calling a tow service and my wife. She let me sit down because I was very disoriented and in pain. After getting in touch with the towing service, Ms. Williams contacted Officer Dave Denney. He took me back to my car, waited until the towing service arrived; made sure I was taken care of and was physically settled. … Both Ms. Williams and Officer Denney really cared about helping me. They went out of their way at a time when I needed assistance. They are two very special people.”

From a neighborhood leader who invited Officers Joe Trombino and Curtis Penyweit and the KCPD roll-over simulator to their festival:

“The presentation was interesting and eye-opening; the officers knew their material and made the information easy to understand, even for children. In fact, the following week, an 11-year-old girl (who had seen the demonstration) was riding in the car with her mother. The mother had placed a barrel in the back seat of the car. The little girl remarked, ‘Mom, get that out of the car! If we had an accident, it would roll over and kill me.’ Her mother mentioned that her daughter was recalling the information that the officers shared about the impact (and crushing weight) that a loose, flying object could have on a person in a roll-over vehicle. We want you to know that we appreciate them sharing such useful information with the children, youth and parents.”

From a worried mother:

“My 15-year-old daughter … ran away today. I am sick with worry. I reported it this afternoon but decided to call North Patrol to see if they had any advice or action I could take. Karen Smith just spent 15 minutes on the phone with me. She made me feel hopeful and not so awful (if that is possible.) I really appreciate the advice and time she spent with me. She is a great person and a wonderful member of your police department. … She was the voice of reason and hope.”

From leaders of a non-profit organization that was victimized by embezzlement:

“We would like to commend Detective Dana Mauzy for her hard work, perseverance, and success in bringing justice to a man who preyed upon a non-profit that serves the most vulnerable citizens in our community – low income, inner-city youth and elderly, as well as the disabled. Her persistence and meticulous preparation of a complex fraud case resulted in an 82-count indictment in federal court.”

From a citizen who rode along with two officers:

“I wanted to let you know about the wonderful experience I had riding along with two of KCPD’s finest, Officer Pegg and Officer Magers. … From the moment the ride-along began, both officers created a professional, safe, informative and friendly atmosphere for this experience. … Throughout this experience, I witnessed both Officer Pegg and Officer Magers diligently serving the citizens of Kansas City, Missouri. Because of these officers and this ride-along experience, I offer my explicit support of your police force. As a KCMO resident, parent and educator, I will seek opportunities to share this wonderful experience within and beyond my community."

From a woman who lost her husband in a car crash:

“How does one find the correct phrase-ology to thank someone who displayed such kindness, professionalism and compassion during the most difficult time? My mere words cannot possibly express the gratitude our family has for Sergeant Jim Fuller. … Sergeant Fuller made the difficult call to notify me of the death of my beloved husband due to a fatal automobile accident. His gentle tone and voice on the long-distance call was one of reason and comfort. … This week, we finally met face to face. Sgt. Fuller and Officer Kevin Gooch came to our home and visited with the family, answering all of our questions. This final act of compassion resulted in a sense of closure for us about the events of that horrible night. … Sgt. Fuller is the consummate professional, and our family is stronger for his diligence to this case.”

From a mom who got lost downtown and found a police officer:

“Officer Dearing was so sweet and helpful. As he was explaining to me how to get to the on-ramp, I think he could tell I might get lost again. He offered to drive us to the ramp in his car, as we followed. It was only two blocks, but great to get a police escort! I’m sure your officers do these helpful things all the time, but people only want to talk about the negative. So I wanted to tell you about the positive. Please thank him for me!”

From another citizen who went on a police ride-along:

“I was so impressed with Officers Glidewell’s and Martin’s ability to handle difficult situations. It was obvious they had been well trained. I was most impressed with their human relations skills in dealing with the public, especially those that were intoxicated. I saw Officer Martin handle an intoxicated man in a skillful manner. As Officer Martin was putting this angry man in the wagon (the man was handcuffed and wearing a padded helmet), he thanked Officer Martin for treating him with respect. Wow! He got the job done and won this man’s respect at the same time.”

Send comments to

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A police department that reflects the community

Kansas City, Mo, is a diverse place. Data from the 2010 census show 10 percent of our population are Hispanic, 30 percent are black, 2.5 percent are Asian and more than 3 percent are two or more races. As an organization charged with serving such a diverse city, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department should reflect the community it serves. But it doesn’t, and I’m not satisfied with that! It’s imperative that we improve recruitment, retention and promotion of a diverse workforce. We care about diversity on our staff, and that means diversity of education, background, culture, military experience, life experiences and more. I will make public a detailed plan in the future to increase our diversity.

You can see the full report of the racial make-up of our law enforcement staff at the link at the bottom of this post. In some areas, we’re doing well. Five of 19 majors are black, as are nearly a third of our civilian staff members. In other areas, however, we do not reflect the community adequately. KCPD has just two black captains and no Hispanic commanders (captains, majors and deputy chiefs). We also fall short in several other ranks.

We have fantastic officers who come from all types of different backgrounds. But having more police who look like the residents of Kansas City shows we desire a police department that actually reflects the community we serve and that we respect all cultures.

As I have said about many other issues in this city, the resolution to this issue won’t come from the police department alone. Although our recruiters work hard, we can’t just snap our fingers and come up with a room full of qualified police recruits. We need you to send us potential candidates who you think would reflect our community and are of good character and high integrity. Regardless of race, gender or ethnicity, we encourage everyone who has a desire to serve the residents of Kansas City to apply. You can read all about our hiring process on our Careers web site. Again, please encourage members of the community who you think would contribute to the police department’s vision to apply.

Law Enforcement by Rank/Title/Ethnic Group table

Send comments to

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Officers struck downtown Friday are doing well

I just wanted to update you on two of our officers who were hit by a car Friday night while directing traffic outside the Sprint Center following a concert. Police had closed Grand Boulevard from Truman Road to 13th Street. At about 11:30 p.m., officers saw a vehicle traveling north on Grand at Truman Road, which then attempted to go eastbound on Truman in the westbound lanes of traffic (the wrong way). Officers approached the driver in an attempt to direct him westbound. But as they approached, the driver accelerated, striking one officer with the front of the vehicle and throwing him up onto the hood. The officer rolled off the hood onto the street. The suspect continued northbound on Grand striking the second officer at 13th and Grand in the wrist. Other officers took the suspect into custody near 11th and Main.

Fortunately, the two officers who were hit are going to be all right. They were banged up and are pretty sore, but both are back at work today on full duty. This situation could have been much, much worse, and we are very grateful it wasn't.

The suspected driver has been charged with two counts of second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, one count of resisting arrest and one count of leaving the scene of an accident. He is being held on $250,000 bond.

Send comments to

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Police to release fatal crash information weekly


Seven people have died in six traffic crashes so far in Kansas City this year, and police want to make the public more aware of the causes of these deaths by providing a new, weekly, fatality crash analysis.

The analysis will be posted on KCPD’s web site every Monday on the Traffic Enforcement page.

Similar to the daily homicide analysis posted on the “Crime Stats” page on the department web site, the traffic fatality analysis breaks down the victims of crashes demographically, but it also cites the factors contributing to the crashes and deaths. For example, from Jan. 1 through Feb. 6, 2012, three of the seven victims were not wearing seat belts. Alcohol was a factor in two crashes, and two drivers were driving with revoked or suspended licenses. Excessive speed factored in two crashes, and one was due to a driver violating a traffic signal.

“We’re trying to raise awareness of the causes for fatality accidents,” said Major Rich Lockhart, commander of the Special Operations Division. “We’ve never done this before. We hope that by letting people know on a weekly basis how many fatal crashes we have and what causes them, it will make people think twice. … Most of our fatal crashes are preventable.”

Major Lockhart said the dangerous driving behavior that often leads to fatal crashes can affect anyone, even law-abiding drivers who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s why he urged everyone to wear seat belts, saying it could significantly reduce Kansas City’s traffic fatalities.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Homicide analysis: January

To keep the community informed about the homicides that take place in Kansas City, I want to provide you with a monthly analysis of these killings on my blog, and today we’re going to talk about January 2012. The community has been integral to solving these cases by giving police information and calling and texting in tips. The last homicide of the month on Jan. 26 at 61st and College had a suspect apprehended within minutes because a witness came forward with great information. Many more people are coming forward with what they know and are helping us build a case against, find, and prosecute those who are a danger to our community.

The first homicide of the New Year happened on January 11, and charges have been filed in that case. Dmarko Nicodemus, 22, has been charged with killing 54-year-old Cornell Maxwell inside a residence in the 7100 block of Monroe. The motive was an argument.

The other seven cases in January have not yet been cleared, but the investigations are progressing, and we have solid leads in most of them. There was one double homicide (Jan. 23 in a home in the 5000 block of Chestnut) and one triple homicide (Jan. 16 in the 3900 block of Paseo) in January.

Five of the eight homicides happened inside a residence, and two were just outside – on the porch or in the yard. One victim was shot in a car. Six of the victims were black males with an average age of 36. There was one 57-year-old white female victim and one 41-year-old white male victim. They were killed in the triple homicide and were mother and son.

None of January’s killings appeared to be related to domestic violence. Until the cases are charged, we cannot definitively say what the motives were. Seven of the eight victims were killed by gunshots. Cornell Maxwell was stabbed.

Half of the homicides occurred in the Metro Patrol Division. The triple homicide occurred in Central Patrol Division, and the remaining killing was in East Patrol.

We will continue working diligently to prevent violent crime and solve these homicides. As always, we cannot do these things alone. We need the community’s help. If you have any information about these, join those who already have worked toward a safer city by calling 816-474-TIPS, sending a web tip at or texting “TIP452” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). You’ll remain anonymous and could get a cash reward.

Send comments to

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

KCPD to test many possible patrol cars

As many of you have heard, Ford has stopped producing the Crown Victoria - the American police car standard. Nearly every law enforcement agency in the nation now is faced with choosing what kind of vehicles to purchase next, and this story from our February Informant newsletter explains how KCPD will go about our decision. See pictures of the contenders at the end of the article:

Kansas City Police aren’t going to buy just one type of car to replace the now-defunct Crown Victoria: they’re going to buy five.

KCPD will purchase 6 to 12 cars each of the following types of vehicles in the 2012-13 fiscal year: Dodge Charger Pursuits, Ford Interceptor Sedans, Ford Interceptor Sport Utility Vehicles, Police Package Chevrolet Tahoes and Police Package Chevrolet Caprices. The department already has at least one Charger, Tahoe and Caprice for testing. The new Ford products just went into production in January.

“We need to find out what works best for our agency,” said Captain Don Sight, commander of the Fleet Operations Unit.

When Ford stopped making their iconic police cruiser in 2011, law enforcement agencies across the country were left to make a decision about what to replace them with. Other automobile manufacturers saw this as an opportunity to jump into the police car market. Sight said it wouldn’t be prudent to pick just one type of car right now to replace KCPD’s fleet of 502 patrol cars, most of which are Crown Victorias.

“We’re going to need to know how they’ll be at 100,000, 120,000 miles,” he said, noting that most KCPD cars get retired after hitting about 150,000 miles. “We fully expect all of these cars to function great on the highway … but we need to know how they’re going to hold up in the stop-and-go traffic of the inner city and when they hit curbs and things like that.”

Sight said the department also needs to learn how the cars do in a variety of weather conditions.

“We have all four seasons here,” he said.

All vehicles being tested will have traction control, which Sight said will give them better winter performance than Crown Victorias. The two Ford vehicles are all-wheel drive. The others are rear-wheel drive.

Fleet Operations will carefully study the cost per mile of each type of vehicle, a figure that entails fuel usage, maintenance costs and more. They also plan to solicit a lot of input from the officers who will drive the cars.

Fleet Supervisor Darrell Cooper said the new models could start getting deployed in late March, early April. Many will go to officers in the three urban patrol divisions to better test how they hold up to city driving. One of each also will go to the Drivers Training Section at the Academy.

KCPD has driven the Crown Vic almost exclusively for the last 20 years. Captain Sight said citizens will have to adjust to seeing a new style of police car on the road, just as they did when the department switched from Dodge Diplomats/Plymouth Gran Furies to the Crown Victoria in the 1980s. But some things will remain the same. The cars will still be navy colored and will feature “Police KCMO” door graphics similar to current models, although Cooper said the graphics are going to get some tweaking.

Fleet Supervisor Mark Crawford said there will undoubtedly be a learning curve for KCPD’s mechanics, most of whom have serviced primarily Crown Victorias for two decades and will have to learn five new types of vehicles. But he doesn’t expect the curve to be that steep because the technicians already work on a variety of specialty and leased vehicles.

Captain Sight said it could be several years before KCPD decides on one type of vehicle.

“Hopefully something will stand out,” he said.

The Ford Police Interceptor Sedan

The Ford Police Interceptor SUV

The Chevrolet Police Package Tahoe

The Chevrolet Police Package Caprice

The Dodge Charger Pursuit

Monday, February 6, 2012

Our new vision statement

I have implemented a new vision statement for the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. I wanted it to reflect that KCPD is just part of the solution to a safer community – a community that encompasses the whole metropolitan area. We need the help of our citizens. We also need the help of those in our neighboring communities because those who choose to violate the law are not constrained by city limits or state lines. So, without further ado, here is our new vision statement:

To make Kansas City and the metropolitan area the safest community in the nation as a result of the efforts of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department and its many partners.

Send comments to

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Setting goals for better response times

We track a lot of performance measures, but one that the public feels most acutely is response times. The time between when someone calls 911 and help arrives may just be a few minutes, but it can feel like an eternity. We are dedicated to getting our officers to the public’s aid as quickly as possible, which is why we’re implementing new goals for response times.

We have now reduced our goal from Priority 1 calls to 7 minutes (down from 10 minutes). The new goal for priority 2 calls is now 9 minutes (down from 12 minutes). These measure from the time someone places a call to 911 to the time an officer arrives on scene.

Priority 1 calls are those that present extreme, known or potential danger to human life. These include officer-assist incidents, shootings, injury accidents, explosions, rape, robbery, hold-up alarms and calls in which the nature is not known. Priority 2 calls are those for which the potential for injuries to occur exists but has not yet happened, such as prowlers, burglaries, bomb threats and disturbances.

We wanted our new response time goals to show how important it is to us that officers arrive at emergencies as quickly as possible. We also want the goals to more accurately reflect our performance. It is incredibly rare that it takes officers 10 minutes to respond to a Priority 1 call. In December 2011, we met the 7-minute goal for Priority 1 calls 79 percent of the time. Our median response time was 7.67 minutes.

KCPD began tracking response times in 2000. A lot of things have an impact on them, such as road conditions, weather, and how many officers are in training or out sick. Generally, response times are shorter in the inner-city patrol divisions and higher in the suburban patrol divisions. This is because the suburban divisions are geographically much larger than those in the urban core, so officers in the suburbs face longer drives to get to their calls for service.

In November 2011, we changed the way we track response times. We were tracking the time from when the 911 call-taker transferred the call to the police dispatcher, but now start tracking from the earlier time of when the call is received by the 911 call-taker. (When someone calls 911 in Kansas City, Mo., they first talk to a call-taker. That call-taker gathers the information from the caller and inputs it into our computer-aided dispatching system. The dispatcher then takes that information and relays it to officers on the street by radio. The officers also see some of the information call-takers and dispatchers have input into the computer system.) We wanted to ensure we were tracking the appropriate number and were transparent with our performance in that area, so as of November 2011, we have corrected our computer system to track response times from the second someone calls 911 (this even includes any time the caller might be put on hold).

Send comments to