Monday, December 16, 2013

Area Command Unit gets 200 illegal guns off the street in 2013

The Area Command Unit marked an impressive accomplishment last night: it took its 200th illegal gun off the street.

I activated the Area Command Unit on January 1, 2013. The unit was tasked with the primary goals of targeting active, violent criminals involved in firearm violations and suppressing violent crime. In addition to the target objectives, the Area Command Unit works collaboratively with all department units to continually stay aware of active criminal elements in the city. The unit is aggressive in its efforts to seek out these elements and pursue successful prosecution of individuals found to be violating laws, with a concentrated focus on illegal firearms. The Area Command Unit also serves as the primary enforcement arm of the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA).

Last night, Area Command Unit officers did a “knock and talk” at a house in the 4100 block of Monroe, where officers conducting surveillance previously had seen guns being sold in the front yard. The resident consented to let officers search part of his house except for one room, and the officers then got a warrant to search that room. They recovered five guns, ammunition and magazines. They were illegal because the resident is a convicted felon, and felons are prevented from possessing firearms or ammunition by federal law.

Those five guns brought the Area Command Unit’s total of illegal weapons taken off the street this year to 200. Illegal weapons are used in a significant amount of the city’s violent crime, and now there are 200 that can’t be.

We initially activated the Area Command Unit within the boundaries of the East Patrol Division, then expanded to Central and Metro patrol divisions in March. The Area Command Unit consists of three Squads, made up of six officers, one detective and a sergeant. The Unit also has an operations sergeant and is commanded by a captain who reports to the Patrol Bureau. I look forward to seeing more of their great work in 2014.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Females comprise nearly 1/3 of graduating Academy class.

The 149th Entrant Officer Class will graduate from the Kansas City Regional Police Academy on Thursday night, and I’m proud of the diversity it represents. Thirty-one men and women will take the oath that night to uphold the law in Kansas City.

We often talk about the necessity of a police department that reflects the community, and usually those conversations are in the context of race. That is indeed very important, but about half the community we serve is female, and our department – as well as most other law enforcement agencies – has a long way to go before we reflect that demographic.

This graduating class has the highest percentage of females that anyone on the department can recall. Nearly a third – 10 out of the 31 – are women. Women bring unique strengths and perspectives that can be lacking in the male-dominated field of law enforcement, and I’m happy to see them filling our ranks.

Last year marked the first time our department ever has had two female deputy chiefs at the same time, and I am confident that a woman will be chief of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department in the not-so-distant future.
We’re not going to take a rest now and celebrate. Obviously, more work needs to be done. Fortunately, this trend is continuing. The 150th Entrant Officer Class is in training now. Out of the 45 KCPD entrant officers, 12 are female. Our recruiters will continue to encourage females to apply, as well as a wide array of people from different races, socioeconomic backgrounds and cultural experiences.

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