police

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.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Independence police officer Thomas Wagstaff, who was shot in the head during a robbery Wednesday, may have been hit accidentally by another police officer. 

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker lays blame for Wednesday’s shooting squarely on the men charged with the robbery. Ronar Santiago-Torres and Joseph Wyatt and their alleged accomplices Donald Nussbaum and James McChan face charges in the the robbery at 36th and Delaware in Independence.

“I hold them hold them accountable in every possible way for his injuries, and I will continue to do so,” says Peters Baker.

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.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The saying "let's get the hell out of Dodge" exists for a reason. Back in its day, Dodge City, Kansas, was the roughest, toughest town people dared to stop in. Author Tom Clavin, used his obsession with the Wild West to write a book on how the city got its infamous reputation. Also, we speak with the new sheriff of Johnson County, Calvin Hayden, about how he's balancing the safety of his deputies with increasing staffing shortfalls and overtime pay.

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:

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas legislators heard concerns from law enforcement groups Wednesday about two immigration bills promoted by Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

The bills seek to enlist state and local officers in efforts to enforce federal immigration law. But the Kansas Highway Patrol and the Kansas Sheriffs’ Association said they don’t have the resources to do that and they don’t want to be exposed to costly lawsuits if they wrongfully detain someone under the complex federal regulations.

Both groups said they weren’t consulted before the bills were introduced.

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.

Jvikings1 / Wikimedia Commons

After success in the state House of Representatives last Thursday, a right-to-work bill is front and center today in the Missouri Senate. We look at the pros and cons of forcing workers in unionized companies to pay union fees. Then, we learn about one Good Samaritan's efforts to reduce a rash of break-ins in Hyde Park.

Greitens workout
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Laying out a central theme of his first-year agenda, Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens told a group of law enforcement officers, recruits and their families Tuesday that he would have their back when he takes office next week.

Kansas City, Kansas, Police

The man who killed Kansas City, Kansas, Police Detective Brad Lancaster in May 2016 pleaded guilty Tuesday.

In addition to capital murder, Curtis Ayers pleaded guilty to nine other counts in a crime spree that began when he shot 39-year-old Lancaster outside the Hollywood Casino May 9.

Ayers still faces charges in Leavenworth County, Kansas, and Jackson County, Missouri, where he was apprehended after a long chase.

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.

El Dorado Police Department

In a twisted crime spree that lasted from 1974 until 1991, Dennis Rader stalked and killed ten people in and around Wichita, Kansas. During and after the spree, he taunted pursuing authorities in letters he sent to police, local news and, once, left in a book at the public library. In the letters, Rader established his identity with a handle that caught on quickly: BTK.

BigStock Images

At first, the man appears drunk.

He’s walking along an on-ramp from Lackman Road onto I-435 in Lenexa, Kansas. At 1 p.m., traffic is heavy.

The man doesn’t react well when a police officer arrives.

“He takes a few swings at the officer. They’re obviously not Mike Tyson swings, but they’re swings nonetheless, where if something happened right there it could very easily spill over from the shoulder onto the highway where somebody would really get hurt,” Lenexa police Capt. Wade Borchers said, recounting an incident from earlier this year that involved another officer.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

It’s a cloudy afternoon in Kansas City, Kansas. Officer Kevin Terry buckles up in his old, white cop car before heading out to visit a Head Start preschool. He recently met one of the coordinators at a neighborhood association meeting.

“I told her I would stop by today to talk about a possible ‘stranger danger’ lesson she wants to give to her kids,” Terry says.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Police Department recently made changes in how it approaches community policing. In a controversial decision, Chief Darryl Forte recently dissolved the position of community interaction officer, in favor of having all officers considered community cops.

Some people in high crime areas say they've seen a benefit from having the same officer show up at neighborhood meetings and deal with their specific needs. And this story of an officer and a homeless woman with a felony drug conviction points to the successes of the recently abandoned program.

In the U.S., tensions between communities and police seem to be at an all-time high. As we witness trust deteriorating and fear escalating on a national level, what is being done locally — or not being done — to make that relationship between police officers and communities work?

Guests:

Kansas City Police Department

Kansas City Police will begin a 90-day test on body cameras this week, joining the growing number of agencies across the country that are using the devices amid increased scrutiny following controversial shootings.

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County

Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Mark Holland  apologized to relatives Thursday night for statements he made following the death of Kansas City, Kansas, police Capt. Dave Melton.

“I want to publicly reiterate my apology to them for the timing of my remarks during the press conference following the death of their brother, Captain Dave Melton,” Holland said at a meeting of the United Government Board of Commissioners.

After the meeting ended, Holland went down on the floor and met with Melton’s family to offer a copy of the statement read at the meeting.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Last week, in an interview with The Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Missouri Police Chief Darryl Forté blamed recent police shootings of young black men on what he called “unreasonable fear” by some officers and “institutional racism” in law enforcement. 

The comments drew the ire of both the Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri police unions.

KCK Fraternal Order of Police President Scott Kirkpatrick posted a long open letter on the union's Facebook Page. In it he calls Forté's remarks "misguided, ridiculous and uninformed," and says the chief had "torn ...healing wounds wide open," in reference to the recent shooting death of two of their colleagues.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of gathered at Children’s Mercy Park Saturday morning, to remember the life of Capt. Robert “Dave” Melton, who was shot and killed pursuing a suspect Tuesday. 

Family members described Melton as tough, dedicated, and caring. He leaves behind six children and stepchildren, as well as a unborn baby girl. 

Fellow officers said he was proud of his military career, and was always professional. Melton served in Iraq and Afghanistan and received a Bronze Star Award for his service. 

SURJ KC / Facebook

Alice Chamberlain admits it's often uncomfortable for white people to talk about prejudice, white privilege and institutional racism.

That's why she's excited. 

On Monday, more than 300 people — most of them white, like her  — showed up at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church in Kansas City to have a conversation about just those topics. 

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay has been invited to the White House to participate in an event focused on community policing.

Laura Ziegler
KCKUR 89.3

Yesterday's killing of Capt. Robert D. Melton, 46, of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department was a casualty of the job, Chief Terry Zeigler said at a press conference this morning.

The killing was not an ambush, he said, addressing concern that his city would become the latest site of targeted violence against law enforcement.

"This crime does not fall into the national narrative of planned attacks against police officers," the chief said in his prepared remarks. 

But he pleaded for an end to the vitriol and violence.

A police perimeter on 77th Terrace near Troost surrounds a house linked to the suspected Baton Rouge shooter.
Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Gavin Eugene Long, the Kansas City man suspected of killing three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers Sunday, projected a number of different identities both virtually and in the real world. 

YouTube videos show him lecturing as a self-styled nutritionist. Self-published books on Amazon delve into an esoteric personal philosophy centered on the values of being an "alpha male." 

And according to documents filed with Jackson County, Long wanted to change his name last year to Cosmo Ausar Setepenra.

Updated 5:21 p.m.

For the second time in two months, a Kansas City, Kansas, police officer was killed in the line of duty.

He died Tuesday just before 3:00 p.m. at KU Hospital.

The officer was identified as Capt. Robert Melton.

Melton was shot at 22nd and Haskell in KCK after pursuing a vehicle believed to be involved in a drive-by shooting, according to KCKPD Chief Terry Zeigler. “As Capt. Melton was arriving the suspects bailed from the vehicle and opened fire striking Capt. Melton and fatally wounding him.”

A police perimeter on 77th Terrace near Troost surrounds a house linked to the suspected Baton Rouge shooter.
Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Update July 18, 1:34 p.m.

 

Kansas City, Missouri, police say the man arrested Sunday afternoon at the house on 77th Terrace linked to the Gavin Eugene Long was picked up on a "minor warrant."

Kamerran Fryer was arrested for a seat belt violation and was released on a signature bond, according to statement from police.

Three reporters said they were met at the door by Fryer while he was holding a long gun.

Federal agents and police searched his home for several hours.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

More than 100 members — about half white, half African-American, mostly middle age or younger — of two Methodist churches came together Thursday night to pray, read and discuss their personal experiences of race relations.

Danny Lyon / courtesy of Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The violence and horror of cell phone videos of the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have galvanized many Americans to question race relations and justice.

We take a look back at iconic civil rights era photos, and then invite a psychologist and criminologist to explore the effect of images of violence, past and present, on our minds and our culture.

Guests:

KC Police

An audit released this week concludes that with tight budgets and unfilled officer positions, the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department should re-evaluate its policies on allowing officers to take police vehicles home with them in their off-duty hours.

The police do not agree.

The audit found that 45 percent of the police fleet is assigned for take-home with no tracking of mileage or how they are used after duty hours.

Missouri's use of deadly force law would become more in line with federal standards under a bill being weighed by a House committee.

Current state law does not specify that a police officer has to believe a fleeing suspect is dangerous to use deadly force. Senate Bill 661, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, would change the standard to more closely align with the national standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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