Thursday, April 26, 2012

Come on a Kansas City Police "tweet along" Thursday night


Get all the excitement of being a Kansas City Police Officer from the safety of your smart phone or computer with KCPD’s first tweet-along Thursday night.

From 8 p.m. to midnight April 26, a member of the department’s Media Unit will ride along with officers in the urban core and tweet everything that happens. The public is invited to follow along at  

Chief Darryl Forté conceived the idea because he wanted to give the public a better idea of what officers face on a given shift.

“I think showing them first-hand what we do will help us build relationships with the community,” Chief Forté said.

Any information that could endanger someone – such as victims’ names or exact addresses – will not be tweeted.

This is the second of KCPD’s live tweeting events. Police tweeted all 911 calls for one hour in October 2011 to launch the opening of the department’s new 911 Call Center.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Turn in your unwanted medications at Take Back event Saturday


Kansas City residents will be able to drop off their unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs all over Kansas City on Saturday.

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, April 28. The drop off locations will be:

• MainCor, 3215 Main St.
• CVS, 11124 Holmes
• Research Medical Center, 2316 E. Meyer Blvd.
• Hen House, 6238 N. Chatham Rd.
• Humana, 215 NE Englewood Rd.
• Walgreens, 5400 Independence Ave.

There also are permanent drop off locations in the lobbies of two Kansas City Police stations:

• 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 nearly 2,000 pounds of drugs at Take Back events.

For more information about the nationwide Take Back Day, go to

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tip a Cop on Saturday and help Special Olympics Missouri


Kansas City area residents can enjoy a delicious breakfast delivered by a police officer and support Special Olympics Missouri at the same time with Saturday’s Tip-A-Cop event at metro Corner Café restaurants.

Kansas City police officers, along with officers from Riverside, Liberty, Pleasant Valley, and Independence police departments, as well as the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, will be at three Corner Café locations from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 21. Instead of their usual job of fighting crime, the off-duty, uniformed officers will be taking orders, serving food, cleaning tables and assisting the regular wait staff at each location.

At the end of each customer’s meal, officers will encourage diners to tip their “real” waiter or waitress first and then ask them if they’d like to make a donation to Special Olympics, the charity of choice for law enforcement nationwide.

Last year’s Tip-A-Cop raised about $10,000 for Special Olympics Missouri.

The Tip-A-Cop Corner Café locations are:

Riverside, Mo.: 4541 NW Gateway Ave.
Kansas City: 8301 N. Flintlock Rd.
Independence, Mo.: 4215 S. Little Blue Parkway

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Plaza patrol plan goes into effect this weekend

We will implement our Plaza patrol plan this weekend to ensure everyone can safely enjoy the city’s most venerable entertainment and retail district.

The past two years, as the weather warmed up, hundreds of youth congregated on the Country Club Plaza. The crowds sometimes broke out into violence and intimidated Plaza visitors. We will not tolerate this. We will arrest juveniles for any criminal offenses and curfew violations.

We will have additional officers on the Plaza this weekend and every weekend through the fall. Most of these officers are on special over-time assignments, so police presence in the rest of the city will not be affected. Plaza management also is hiring additional off-duty KCPD officers and augmenting their private security. Mounted Patrol officers will be present on horseback. They have proved to be highly effective at crowd control. Officers on ATVs and a Tactical Team also will have a presence. Plain-clothes, under-cover officers also will be out, looking for signs of trouble.

A separate detention area for juveniles who are arrested will be set up and operated in a police facility.

At present, the curfew is 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends for anyone younger than 18. Those will become earlier in the summer: the Friday before Memorial Day through the last Sunday in September. In entertainment districts like the Plaza, the curfew will be 9 p.m. in the summer. In the rest of the city, the curfew will be 10 p.m. for those 15 and younger, and 11 p.m. for 16-and 17-year-olds. Parents will be issued citations for the curfew violations of their children.

We have sent letters to area schools asking them to remind parents that they are responsible for their children’s actions. Parents need to know their children’s friends and the parents of their friends. They need to know where their children are and what they are doing. They need to be monitoring their children’s social networks.

We ask parents, teachers and even young people to alert police if they hear about a large gathering being planned. Police will be monitoring social networks, as well.

Ultimately, youth congregating into unruly crowds in entertainment districts isn’t a police issue. It is a parenting and community issue. So we ask for the cooperation of parents and the community to make these entertainment districts the enjoyable places they were intended to be.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

KCPD launches Nixle community text alerts service


To get information to the community as quickly as possible, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department is launching a text message alert system with Nixle.

Nixle Connect allows the department to instantly inform residents of current public safety issues via text/SMS, e-mail, Internet posts, and Twitter. The service is provided at no cost to the department, taxpayers, or residents.

Communications from the KCPD will range from emergency alerts such as Amber Alerts and critical incidents to routine day-to-day information such as violent crime suspects being sought, a burglary pattern, a major traffic incident, or other relevant information to residents.

“With Nixle, citizens can be aware of the current safety issues in their neighborhood,” Chief Darryl Forté said. “Informed citizens can be our eyes and ears, helping us solve and prevent crime.”

Kansas City residents can sign up to receive free, real-time safety information by texting their zip code or “KCPD” to 888777 or by visiting Once registered, users can customize the types of alerts they wish to receive via text, email, and online. Any information users submit is housed on secure Nixle servers and remains anonymous to police staff.

“Additionally, Kansas City will play host to the 2012 Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game in July,” continued Forté. “Nixle Connect provides us with a way to communicate with the tens of thousands of baseball fans who will be attending to keep traffic and people flowing as smoothly as possible, as well as a means to deliver any urgent messages should an emergency arise.”

To receive All Star Game-specific messages, text “ALLSTARKC” to 888777.

More than 4,800 government agencies nationwide have adopted Nixle for their means of real-time communications with residents, and more than 700,000 citizens have signed up to take advantage of the service.

“Nixle is an easy, quick and secure mass notification tool for public safety officials to communicate information to the public across multiple channels,” stated Eric Liu, Nixle’s CEO. “Both residents and visitors to Kansas City can benefit greatly from the service.”

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Friday, April 6, 2012

32 homicides to date in Kansas City

Thirty-two homicides have been committed in Kansas City thus far this year, compared to 20 this time last year. At this time in 2009, we had experienced 31 homicides, ending that year with 110 homicides. The Department of Justice considers a homicide case to be cleared when “at least one person is arrested, charged with the commission of the crime of the offense, and turned over to the court for prosecution.” The national average clearance rate is approximately 65 percent. I anticipate a higher than average end-of-year 2012 homicide clearance rate due to increased community cooperation and dedicated members of the police department. I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the outstanding contribution of our Regional Crime Lab. The use of forensic technology in solving homicide cases will undoubtedly continue to prove beneficial to our cause.

While the number of homicides year-to-date have increased, so has the clearance rate. So far this year, 29 percent of this year’s homicides have been cleared, and the clearance rate total includes 9 (46%) homicides that have been cleared from 2011 for a total clearance rate of 75 percent. Most jurisdictions report clearance rates based on the number of homicide cases cleared in a single calendar year regardless of what year the homicide occurred. Our clearance rate of 75 percent is based on the nationally recognized standard reporting of clearance rates. I note that the 75 percent clearance rate is being reporting according to best practices that are nationally recognized, however, I don’t want to play the numbers game. We’re making progress, but I’m not satisfied with our total numbers. Regardless of the method the numbers are presented with, we need to do more as a community to not only solve homicides, but to prevent homicides. We cannot concede to the violence, nor can we become complacent with regard to our numbers. There is much more work to be done by all!

Five current-year homicide case files and five previous year homicide case files are currently at the prosecutor’s office for review. These ten cases are not included in our total number of clearances.

You can see the entire statistical breakdown of victims and witnesses on the Daily Homicide Analysis on our web site. In the vast majority of these cases, the victims and suspects are known to each other. Thirteen of this year’s homicides have occurred in a house, apartment, or motel. Another 13 have occurred on a public street or sidewalk or in or just outside a business or night club. Six of the homicides have occurred in a car. Nearly half – or 47 percent – of them have taken place inside a hot spot area. Hot spots are parts of the city where we have dedicated extra resources to combat violent crime.

The majority of our 2012 homicide cases are solvable, and we expect to solve them thanks to cooperation from many segments of our community. Measures to increase internal and external communication as well as increased presence in “hot spots” are paying dividends. Witnesses are coming forward, relatives of victims and suspects are getting involved, and police officers are knocking on doors to introduce themselves. Just recently, a family member of a suspect aided in the identification and arrest of the suspect after the suspect committed a homicide. On several occasions, as I got out of my car at homicide scenes, I was approached by community members and provided details about the homicide. I could give many more examples of the community working together to rid our community of those who choose to disrupt our way of life. We must continue to work together to prevent the senseless killings!

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Child and the officer who saved his life reunite

I wanted to share with you another tale of heroism and an awesome reunion from our award ceremony last week. Officer Jason Cramblit saved the life of a toddler in May 2011, and the boy and his family reunited with Officer Cramblit for the first time since the incident at last week’s ceremony. They are pictured above. Here’s the story of what happened:

One child will get to live out the life he was meant to after one frightening car ride to Children’s Mercy Urgent Care and the actions that Officer Jason Cramblit took.

On May 13, 2011, Allison Willman was en-route to Children’s Mercy Urgent Care to take her young son, Esher Willman, who had been suffering from a high fever. As they were driving, Esher began to have a seizure due to his high fever and vomited. The seizure prevented Esher from opening his mouth and he began to choke on his vomit.

Allison immediately pulled the car over, took her son out of the car, and attempted to force open his mouth in an effort to clear his airway, but she was unable to do so. She then noticed Esher turned blue and was not able to breathe. “I remember several people around me but no one was able to help,” Allison said, “until Officer Jason Cramblit arrived.”

Officer Cramblit walked over to where Esher was laying and applied pressure to either side of his jaw. He was able to stick his finger in his mouth to sweep out the vomit. On the third finger sweep, Esher took a large gasp and began to breathe again. Another officer immediately called for an ambulance to take him to the hospital to be treated. Esher is now doing well, and he and his family came to the award ceremony to reconnect with the man who saved Esher’s life. Officer Cramblit received the Life-Saving Award.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Forums build community relationships

I want to thank everyone who came out to the community forum and met with police department staff and me on Saturday, March 31, at Paseo Academy. Residents of all ages came, from elementary school students to senior citizens. This was the second forum since my appointment as chief, and I plan to hold more such forums each quarter of this year.

Those who came were able to meet directly with officers and commanders for one-on-one problem solving. I also met personally with several people. Anyone who had a specific issue they wanted to see addressed had the opportunity to sign a “community contract.” It identifies issues and participants and outlines steps both the residents and police can take to address them. This contract also monitors progress and serves as an accountability instrument for both police and community members.

These community forums are a small step toward building trust with the citizens we serve. Increased interaction with police leads to greater trust, which leads to more cooperation. We need to become better at policing neighborhoods, and what better way to get to know who is in the neighborhoods than to meet with residents individually to get input? I realize not everyone is a member of groups that commonly interact with police, like community groups, business organizations or civic organizations. These forums afford everyone the opportunity to get their voice heard. I want to use these forums as an opportunity to solicit ideas, concerns and opinions as I refocus the department’s efforts on crime reduction.

The quarterly forums also demonstrate our department’s commitment to community policing, which involves problem-solving, partnerships, trust and accountability. My goal is for community policing to become an ingrained practice at KCPD. Community involvement is necessary to identify and reduce crimes. Ultimately, we hope these forums help reduce the level of fear and the level of crime in the metropolitan area.

This was not the police department’s forum; it was the community’s forum. We are the community, and it’s imperative that we work closely to make our community safe!

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