Kansas City Police Department

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

After three months on the job, Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith has laid out a set of changes he would like to make within his department. Most of them would involve hiring more personnel, both uniformed and civilian.

This comes less than a month after the chief released his requested budget for the next fiscal year, which includes an ask for an additional $9.3 million from the Kansas City, Missouri, general fund and a total budget of $251.9 million.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

As Kansas City continues to see increases in violent crime, new Kansas City, Missouri, Police Chief Rick Smith says he’s doubling down on community policing.

The chief, who was selected in July, says he wants to expand the number of community interaction officers.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

When it comes to violence in Kansas City, Missouri, Police Chief Rick Smith says that, more often than not, someone knows what's going on before it ever happens. 

To that end, the KCPD recently announced a substantial increase in rewards for homicide tips, from $2,000 to $5,000. Smith says the police need help from the community to prevent violent crime.

That's also a goal of the Kansas City Health Department's Aim4Peace program. But, Smith says he can't comment on the effectiveness of the violence prevention group's work. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Today, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the latest data on the state's public schools, so we ask Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell to explain where his district did well and what areas still need improvement. Then, this summer, Kansas City, Missouri, got a new chief of police, a 29-year veteran of the force.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Calling 911 hold times “unacceptable” and citing a need for more patrol officers, Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith asked for an additional $9.3 million in funding in the budget he submitted to the city manager last week.

In a blog post explaining why appropriations should increase 3.6 percent for the fiscal year that begins May 1, 2018, Smith noted that the average hold time for a 911 caller was 30 seconds in September.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

On Friday, July 21, Maria Wakondo, a refugee from the Congo, was held up at knifepoint while walking home to her apartment. The robber took her whole purse, including $600 from her just-cashed paycheck. 

She wasn’t hurt, but the incident highlights some of the reasons new refugees can be vulnerable to crime.

Wakondo and her family recently moved to a new brick house in Kansas City's Historic Northeast.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

In a video that plays on loop in the background of his memorial service, the young officer grins as he performs the step routine, slapping his thighs in unison with the community members he’s dancing with.

His triumphant smile is the last frame – he knows he just nailed it.

“One thing’s for sure: Thomas Orr was the best stepper on the force,” Lee’s Summit Police Chief Travis Forbes said at the officer’s funeral Thursday.

Kansas City Police Department

A Kansas City teenager who was arrested and detained for three weeks for a crime he didn't commit is suing the Kansas City Police Department and the Board of Police Commissioners in federal court. 

Fifteen-year-old Tyree Bell was walking home from summer school on June 8, 2016 when he was stopped by an officer and arrested.

According to the lawsuit, another KCPD officer had wrongly identified him as a suspect who had run from officers a few blocks away. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

It was a clear night in late July 2016 on the 3600 block of Askew Avenue on Kansas City’s East Side.

But inside one home, a fight was brewing. It was just after midnight, the police report would later say, when Lon’Nasha Tate opened the freezer to find that the ice cream she had saved for her kids was half empty.

Jackson County Combat / Twitter

Early Sunday morning, Kansas City Police responded to a call after a two-year old child reportedly shot himself by accident in south Kansas City. The boy was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

According to data from the #NotAnAccident Index, it was the seventh such accidental shooting death of a child in the Kansas City area in the past two years. 

In response, local child advocacy and gun safety groups are speaking out about preventative measures.  

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Missouri, Police department has too many people in management positions, and too many sworn officers in jobs that could be done by civilians. That’s according to a staffing study of the department presented to the Kansas City Council on Thursday.

Richard Brady, with Matrix Consulting Group, said KCPD needs to put more officers back on patrols and bulk up staffing in other areas.

KCPD

Major Rick Smith will be Kansas City’s new chief of police. The Board of Police Commissioners announced its decision Friday afternoon. Smith’s been on the Kansas City Police Department for 29 years. Brad Lemon, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police says the commissioners made a good call.

Norman, Oklahoma, Police Department & The City of Kansas City

Maybe the most obvious difference between the two finalists for the top job at the Kansas City Police Department is one’s an insider and one comes from out of state.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

It's not easy to navigate the Kansas City area without a car, which makes the health of our highways very important. Today, the chiefs of the Missouri and Kansas departments of Transportation discuss future of I-70 and other roads on both sides of the state line. Then, the search for the next chief of police in Kansas City, Missouri, is down to two candidates. With this pivotal decision looming, we ask: What are residents looking for in their next top cop?

Norman, Oklahoma, Police Department & The City of Kansas City

Major Rick Smith of the Kansas City Police Department and Chief Keith Humphrey of the Norman, Oklahoma, Police Department are the two finalists for the police chief job in Kansas City.

Leland Shurin, president of the Board of Police Commissioners, said during a press conference Thursday that there were 42 candidates. Of those, ten were disqualified by state statute and the rest were interviewed by California-based consultants Ralph Anderson and Associates.

Tex Texin / Wikimedia Commons

Kansas City's ongoing violent crime problem is no secret. Today, we hear from two former presidents of the Board of Police Commissioners, Jeff Simon and Pat McInerney, who offer their thoughts on solving the city's preeminent hurdle. Then, we examine how a wall between the U.S. and Mexico would (or would not) affect existing tensions over immigration, crime, trade and more.

The Kansas City Police Department / YouTube

Kansas City Police released surveillance video connected to a recent homicide along the Indian Creek Trail. 

The video, released Tuesday by the KCPD, is timestamped May 18, shortly before 6 a.m., which was around the time bar owner Mike Darby was found dead on the trail. KCPD officials say the person shown walking in the video is not a suspect but "may have vital information" related to Darby's killing.  

Catherine Wheeler / KCUR 89.3

Where Highway 169 meets Barry Road sits the iconic Kansas City Police Department's North Patrol Division station. Interim Chief of Police David Zimmerman says it’s affectionately referred to as the “bumblebee” thanks to its black and yellow exterior.

That station will officially close its doors Monday, June 26, and a new station will open Wednesday, June 28.

Today community members and officials celebrated the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new home of the North Patrol Division at 11000 Northwest Prairie View Road, overlooking I-29.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, with the victim's grieving mother at her side, said Monday that a man has been charged with the murder of a 24-year-old east Kansas City woman.

Ashley Geddes was discovered dead in her bedroom by her mother on June 1.

The suspect is 25-year-old Cedrick Russell, who lived next door to the victim on east 45th Place. Russell is also charged with sodomy, burglary, stealing and other offenses.

Courtesy Graves Garrett

Late Monday night, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens withdrew the names of two individuals he’d appointed to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.

There are currently three vacancies on the board. Nathan Garrett and Bishop Mark Tolbert were to be sworn in Tuesday to replace Commissioners Angela Wasson-Hunt and Michael Rader. Al Brooks, a longtime police commissioner, resigned last month because he did not think the governor would reappoint him.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Longtime civil rights activist Alvin Brooks is stepping down as a Kansas City Police Commissioner so he can serve on the Hickman Mills Board of Education.  

Brooks, 85, says it was time. His term is about to expire, and he doesn’t think Republican Gov. Eric Greitens will reappoint him.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Sly James won’t commit to a timeline for hiring the next chief of police.

"The goal isn't to do this fast,” James said at a news conference at police headquarters Monday morning. “The goal is to do it right. If it takes us a year to find the best person, it’ll take us a year. If we can find the best person in 30 days, we’ll do that.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Chief of Police Darryl Forté announced Wednesday morning that he is retiring, effective May 20, 2017. The city's first African-American police chief, Forté made the announcement in a Twitter post.

When one Kansas City woman went public and reported her rape to the police, she found out most of her friends were also victims. She also found that they would never tell the police.

A look at what happens when you report a rape in our area.

Guests:

File photo

Facing a rise in police excessive force cases often gone viral on social media, a national group of prosecutors issued a “guidance document” Friday designed to help law enforcement work in a more public and proactive manner.

Led by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, the report by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys urges local and regional agencies to be more transparent, quickly respond to a scene and create written internal protocols.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Pastor Adam Carter is standing next to a single white cross in the front lawn of the Leawood Baptist Church on State Line Road. For the final weeks of the year, the lawn was a sea of white crosses, each representing a homicide victim. The visual, he says, would stop you in your tracks.

"Each cross wasn't just a piece of wood, it represented a human life," Carter says. "So when you look at it from that perspective, it was extremely overwhelming."

Eva Wilson / Leawood Baptist Church

Dec. 21 was the winter's solstice, the longest night of 2016. That night, roughly 200 people showed up for a vigil at the Leawood Baptist Church to honor nearly 200 people who lost their lives in homicides in the Kansas City metropolitan area in 2016.

For weeks, the church's front lawn was a sea of white crosses: 193, each with a name, each representing a life lost.

In Kansas City, Missouri in 2016, there were 127 homicides, marking the highest number in nearly a decade. 

YouTube

A lawsuit accusing three Kansas City, Missouri, police officers of excessive force against a Mexican-American man has been settled for $300,000 in a case that sent one of the officers to jail.

Unlike the many national cases of excessive force by police caught on cell phone video, this case turned on a 19-minute video pulled directly from the dashboard camera of a police cruiser.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A shootout in Midland True Value's parking lot at Gregory Boulevard and Prospect Avenue that started after 2 a.m. Sunday ended in seven gun-related injuries and three vehicle accidents. One victim is in critical condition.

Minutes after receiving a call around 2:19 a.m., police arrived at the scene where suspects were engaged in active shooting. According to the Kansas City Police Department, one officer, fearing for safety, fired shots. No officers were injured.

KCStat, the city agency charged with using data to improve government efficiency, expects the new Kansas City Assessment and Triage Center (KC-ATC) that opened Monday to reduce the use of emergency rooms and jails.  

Data show that 8,000 people with substance abuse problems and 9,000 with mental health issues visited area emergency rooms between 2012 and 2014. Some of them showed up in the emergency room more than 100 times.

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