Friday, April 6, 2018

KCPD doubles officers dedicated to working with neighborhoods

The Kansas City Missouri Police Department now has twice as many police officers dedicated to working directly with neighborhoods. As promised, two Community Interaction Officers now are assigned to each of our six patrol divisions. The second set started March 26. That makes for a dozen officers who are dedicated to working proactively to empower neighborhoods, resolve ongoing issues and prevent crime.

Historically, Community Interaction Officers (CIOs) at KCPD have helped facilitate communication between the Police Department and the residents of Kansas City. They encourage residents to be actively involved in anti-crime efforts and promote community support for the police department through positive interaction and partnerships with the community. CIOs meet with members of the community on a regular basis to address specific community problems and plausible solutions.

But what about neighborhoods and residents who don’t engage with police or each other? One thing we know for sure is that strong neighborhoods – those that are well organized and whose residents are engaged and look out for each other – have less crime. So all 12 CIOs have been tasked with engaging and empowering neighborhoods that lack organization and involvement. We are partnering with the UMKC Center for Neighborhoods to help identify community leaders, implement crime prevention strategies and empower residents to improve their quality of life.

The new set of Community Interaction Officers are assigned to work from 1 to 9 p.m. This allows them to engage with people who may not have been involved before because they work during the day. The new CIOs’ shifts overlap with the existing CIOs so they can coordinate, but they’re expanded into the evening to increase the opportunity for residents to work with us. The new, second-shift CIOs were chosen by patrol division leaders based on their experience and desire to build community relationships and help solve neighborhood problems. They’re being implemented now because we have a class of Academy graduates who are now off their probationary period. I did not want to pull existing officers off the streets. The CIOs all will be trained in the proven crime prevention strategy of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). They will be ready to help residents and businesses create an environment that deters criminal activity.

This approach has seen success elsewhere. The New York City Police Department implemented two Neighborhood Coordination Officers (very similar to our CIOs) in about 20 of their precincts in 2015. They’ve continued to expand it city-wide. In 2017, New York City’s overall crime rate was at its lowest level since 1951, and its 2017 homicides were the lowest in 70 years. We would love to see similar results in Kansas City.

But the police are only part of the solution. The resident engagement piece is huge, and we cannot reduce crime and improve quality of life without it. If we were all neighborly, looked out for each other and reported crime, we’d have a much safer city.

We don’t want your only contact with police to be during a crisis. We want to work with everyone proactively to prevent issues from escalating to that point. Below are the names of the Community Interaction Officers assigned to each patrol division, along with the division phone numbers, so you can call and ask for them. Those listed second are the newly assigned, second-shift CIOs. They all look forward to working with you!

Central Patrol Division: 816-234-5510
Officer Andy Hamil
Officer Holly Sticken

East Patrol Division: 816-234-5530
Master Police Officer Greg Smith
Officer Patrick Byrd

Metro Patrol Division: 816-581-0700 

Officer Mikki Cassidy
Officer Richard Marquez

North Patrol Division: 816-437-6200
Officer John Lozano
Officer Robert Pavlovic

Shoal Creek Patrol Division: 816-413-3440
Officer Bill Keeney
Officer Richard Jones

South Patrol Division: 816-234-5550
Officer Mary McCall
Officer Aaron Whitehead

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