Kansas City Police Department | KCUR

Kansas City Police Department

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The emergency call wait time crisis that troubled Kansas City Police Department commanders last year seems to be easing after a hefty investment by the city.

Last fall, it took 57 seconds, on average, for a call taker to answer a 911 call. KCPD commanders testified before the council's Public Safety and Neighborhood Committee that the wait time was down to 21 seconds as of April.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office / Wikimedia Commons

After suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday, a child was in stable condition at an area hospital Monday, according to Kansas City police. 

Cops responded to a shooting just before noon Sunday, but by the time they arrived on scene, the mother had already rushed the child to the hospital.

According to police, the child's mother had left a loaded firearm unsecured in a bedroom, and the child, who is under the age of six, suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Executive Frank White on Thursday announced the appointment of former Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté to serve as the new interim Jackson County sheriff.

"Darryl is no stranger to many of us," White said on the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse. "As the first African American police chief of Kansas City, Darryl was instrumental in bridging the gap between officers and the community."

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Updated, 4:20 p.m. Monday:  The committee who interviewed the five candidates for interim sheriff narrowed that list down to three Monday.

  • Retired Kansas City Police Department Chief Darryl Forte
  • Retired KCPD Major Rosilyn Allen
  • Captain Michael Rogers, who commands the Jackson County sheriff’s patrol division

The original post continues below.

If members of a select committee have their way, a more diverse workforce will be coming to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

The committee, which was appointed by Jackson County Executive Frank White to give him a recommendation, interviewed five candidates Friday. Two or three finalists are expected to be announced Monday, and White will make the final decision.

Tom Porto

Kansas City, Kansas, police have identified the 27-year-old man shot and killed by an officer Wednesday night as Manuel Palacio.

Officers were attempting to arrest Palacio during a narcotics investigation in the 2400 block of Wood Avenue, when Palacio — who police say was armed — confronted them.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The ACLU of Missouri is suing Kansas City and the Board of Police Commissioners for what it calls “predatory” impound and towing practices.

The ACLU says their client, Dyanna Black, legally parked her car on a public street in February 2016. On returning to her spot, she discovered it had been towed. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Cheri Post recently had shoulder replacement surgery. It was painful, but she said she didn't need all of the prescription painkillers. 

"Then you go back for follow ups," Post said. "Doctors are still trying to give me medication. All they do is push pain pills on you."

According to Post, she soon had nearly 100 excess pills and no idea what to do with them. So, when she came across a notice that Kansas City police were collecting unwanted medicine Saturday, she jumped in her car. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

For the second time in less than a year, the Kansas City Police Department is increasing the reward for homicide tips. As of Friday, the KCPD will dole out $10,000 for any tip that leads to an arrest in an unsolved homicide.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

When Alvin Brooks told his father that he wanted to be a police officer, his dad’s first response was, “Why do you want to get into that mess? You know how they treat us.”

Brooks was determined. He became one of Kansas City's few black officers in 1954.

Segment 1: The National School Walkout In North Kansas City.

A check-in with our reporter, who covered today's National School Walkout from Oak Park High School.

Segment 2, beginning at 5:41: A Portrait Session with Alvin Brooks.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Two men were arrested Wednesday  for allegedly running a cockfighting ring near 24th and Cypress in east Kansas City.

The city's Animal Health and Public Safety Division, backed up by Kansas City police, executed a search warrant on two adjoining houses on Cypress.

"We found a large number of fowl. And when I say foul we had roosters, we had hens, and we had baby chicks," according to Special Investigator James Donovan.

The actual cockfighting, city officials say, was done at a different location.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Kansas City Council on Thursday approved a $1.66 billion dollar budget for the coming fiscal year. 

As it did last year, the city boosted funding for public safety, which includes the police and fire departments and the municipal court, and which takes up more than three-quarters of the city's general fund. Most other city department budgets will remain flat next year.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

For decades, city officials say Kansas City police would write about 300,000 traffic tickets a year. The last few years that's dropped below 120,000, according to Kansas City Police Department records.

While that may be good for drivers, it’s bad for the city’s bottom line.

“So what we’re seeing is, not only a decline in the number of tickets but a decline in the corresponding revenue that are used to support city operations,” says Kansas City City Manager Troy Schulte.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Law enforcement officers in Kansas City are engaged in an innovative approach to fighting violent crime.

In 2016, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and the Kansas City Police Department won grants from the U.S. Department of Justice to use data and community involvement to attack the city’s violent crime rate. Funds are being matched locally.

It’s led by a Yale Law School graduate with roots in the Mennonite community of Newton, Kansas.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Police Department could be getting even more money next year than first thought.

While most city department budgets will remain flat next year, KCPD is looking at a $5.6 million, a 2.2 percent boost.

Much of the increase will be used to hire 15 more officers and eight more dispatchers.

The department's 84 dispatchers are all working mandatory 12 hour shifts, according to Deputy Chief Roger Lewis.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

There is so much illegal trash dumping in Kansas City that the city has more than doubled the number of investigators assigned to help clean it up.

The dumps have everything from hazardous waste to limbs and brush.

Illegal dumping investigator Alan Ashurst starts his day like a lot of people, with a stop at a QuikTrip for coffee and doughnuts. "I like the old-fashion doughnut. It’s good."

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Police Department faces two big problems, violent crime and putting enough officers on the street to fight it.

But the department is coming up with new ways to recruit and is trying to find new paths to recruit minorities and women.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Almost lost in the discussion about the 150 homicides in Kansas City last year is this: Why did the number of women murdered jump 52 percent between 2016 and 2017?

In 2016, 21 women were murdered in Kansas City. Last year the number was 32.

The Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee tackled that issue on Wednesday.

You might think that most women died from domestic violence or during arguments (as KCUR documented in the series The Argument), but the motive for most of the murders is listed as "unknown." 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

In the fight between the Jackson County Legislature and County Executive Frank White score one, at least for now, for lawmakers.

In a two-page ruling, Circuit Judge George Wolf made it clear that White and the county executive's office is to stay out of "the day-to-day supervision of the administration of the COMBAT tax and COMBAT Commission."

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

We’ve heard a lot about the soaring number of murders in Kansas City, a big problem to be sure.

But police are also dealing with a huge spike in traffic fatalities.

And as the year comes to an end, police aren’t really sure why there have been so many.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A guard at the Jackson County jail is in critical condition after he was allegedly attacked while on duty, according to court documents.

The unidentified guard was allegedly attacked by 20-year-old Johnny R. Dunlap. Dunlap was charged with first degree assault and armed criminal action and faces up to life in prison if convicted, according to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

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.

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