police

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.

Blue Springs Police shot and killed a teenager armed with a knife early Wednesday morning near the 1500 block of Southwest 20th Street around 5 a.m.

Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe says officers responded to a residential area to reports of a prowler.

“Through the investigation it was determined the actual caller to 911 was the suspect that was killed,” Lowe says. “There was also a note found in the residence – a suicide note – indicating he wanted to have a confrontation with law enforcement.”

Sam Zeff / KCUR

There's no doubt statewide law enforcement agencies in Kansas are hurting. But there is some movement in the state Legislature, albeit modest, to help both agencies.

The Kansas Senate on Tuesday approved two new vehicle registration surcharges that will help bolster the budgets of the Highway Patrol and Law Enforcement Train Center in Hutchinson.

The Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) is 80 troopers below strength even after graduating a new class in December. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) is short 20 agents and says it has been turning down 20 percent of felony cases referred by local sheriffs and police departments.

The Senate bill would tack on an extra $3.25 to the registration fee for all vehicles. The bill would send $2 to the KHP and $1.25 to the training center. In all, the bill could generate $3.4 million a year.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

  We already know that the budget problems in Kansas are eating into some core functions of government.

The state will have to postpone maintenance work on hundreds of miles of highways. And those highways are a little less safe because the Kansas Highway Patrol is at least 75 troopers short of full strength.

But budget problems for state law enforcement run even deeper.

Tom Porto

A 24-year-old Mexican American man has filed an excessive force lawsuit against three Kansas City police officers, alleging assault, battery and conspiracy during an arrest caught on police dash-cam video.

The Kansas City Police Department is investigating the May 2, 2014, arrest of Manuel Palacio as a criminal case of police misconduct.  

The nearly 19-minute video shows a surprised Palacio, who was walking down Independence Ave., at Cypress, being rammed with a police cruiser and knocked to the ground.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

We’ve heard a lot about problems funding education and roads in Kansas because of poor tax revenues — but we can add another problem to that list: state law enforcement agencies.

There are shortages everywhere.

In the past 10 years, as the population of Kansas has grown about 6 percent, the number of police officers has stayed about the same, right at 7,000.

Dwindling law enforcement

Digital Ally

A Lenexa-based company that makes body cameras for law enforcement says sales “quadrupled” last year after unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Digital Ally is working with more than 1,000 agencies across the country, including Ferguson, says Heath Bideau, in charge of international sales and marketing for the company.

“I really don’t think anybody could have expected it to increase as quickly and dramatically as it did,” Bideau says.

Regional Group Will Study Kansas City-Area Police Pursuits

Jul 9, 2015
Courtesy photo / Leawood Police Department

 

A regional planning group says it will wade into the issue of conflicting police pursuit policies in the Kansas City area.

The decision by  the Mid America Regional Council to study the issue comes in response to an in-depth look at area police pursuits published Sunday by the Hale Center for Journalism and The Kansas City Star.

Leawood Police Department

High-speed car chases are familiar scenes in movies and on TV — cop cars flying down the streets and highways with their sirens blaring, trying to keep criminals from getting away. But what many don’t realize is that in real life police pursuits are dangerous, and often end in crashes or — in the worst cases — death.

High Speed

Jul 6, 2015

High-speed car chases are familiar sights in movies and on TV. But in real life, police pursuits—especially in a metro crisscrossed with different counties and jurisdictions — can cause more damage to innocent bystanders than the criminal would otherwise. 

Guests:

  • Mike McGraw is a special projects reporter at Kansas City Public Television.
  • Bridgit Bowden is the entrepreneurship reporter for KCPT’s Flatland.

Updated 6:20 p.m. June 2

Missouri state officials are under pressure to respond to a report that shows disparities between blacks and whites in traffic stops are the worst they've been since the state began collecting data 15 years ago.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The Missouri House will take up another body camera proposal next week.

Lawmakers have filed nine different bills looking at how law enforcement officers record their interactions with the public. Proponents of police body cameras say they can provide crucial evidence in cases like the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last year.

Blue Springs Rep. Sheila Solon says the legislation that passed out of the Select Committee on State and Local Governments would protect the privacy of people recorded.

Michael Gil / Flickr-CC

How many times have you seen a car pulled over at the side of the road and wondered why they were being pulled over?

Three professors at the University of Kansas did more than wonder. Charles Epp, Steven Maynard-Moody, and Donald Haider-Markel started surveying drivers in the Kansas City metro area in 2004 and studied the research over the next 10 years. 

What they found is that race is deeply embedded in police practice.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

In the wake of the officer-involved shooting in Ferguson, Mo., President Obama earlier this month called for $75 million to provide 50,000 body-mounted cameras to police departments across the nation. 

Several Missouri police departments have recently started using the devices, and more will likely follow if the federal funds move forward.

Conflict On Camera

Dec 9, 2014
Istituto per la storia del Risorgimento Italiano, Rome

President Obama's recent call for police body cameras raises questions about documenting truth. An art curator, a war historian and a police major discuss. 

Guests:

Jamelle Bouie / Flickr Creative Commons

  In the wake of grand juries not indicting the police officers involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. and the choking death of Eric Garner in New York City, the actions of police officers are receiving intense public scrutiny. 

On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske and the Ethics Professors look at the question of whether police officers are too often given the benefit of the doubt. 

Guests:

Willis Ryder Arnold / St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday night, the people of Ferguson, Mo., learned that the white police officer who shot and killed a black teenager in August would not be indicted. After a period of stunned silence, chaos erupted between protestors and police, who showed up on the scene before violence broke out. How do residents feel, faced with immediate struggles and a national spotlight? Is it possible for the events in Ferguson to give rise to a new chapter in the history of race and justice in America?

Guests:

(Courtesy of Digital Ally)

The University of  Kansas Police Department began the new school year with eight body-mounted cameras that its officers are wearing on all patrols.

The department ordered the cameras last spring – well before the protests in Ferguson, Mo., when a police officer killed an unarmed 18-year-old black man. Since then, many have called for using the body-mounted cameras to keep police accountable.

The KU Police Department has used dashboard cameras for 20 years, said Capt. James Anguiano said. But those video cameras have limited use, for those officers in vehicles, he said.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill says after what happened in Ferguson, Mo., more law enforcement agencies should be equipped with body-mounted cameras.

"I believe with today's technology, body cams on police officers not only protect members of the community from somebody who might be overreacting, but it really protects police officers, also," says McCaskill, who was in town Wednesday visiting a Kansas City manufacturing company.

McCaskill says she would support legislation requiring the cameras for all police departments that receive federal funding.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, a lot has changed in the way police respond to a school shooter.

Squads no longer wait for SWAT teams to arrive. Now, they rush in to try and stop the shooter as quickly as possible.

(Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

Among the many images that have emerged from Ferguson, Missouri, perhaps some of the most arresting are those of law enforcement personnel lined up in riot gear, helmets and vests on with batons at the ready.  And right behind them the sight of an officer atop a military-grade armored vehicle holding a sniper rifle.
 

The community response to the death of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo. has varied from rioting and looting to peaceful protests and calls for civil discourse. Is there a way of responding to police shootings that can effect personal, social, or political change?

Guests:

St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed has an idea about what’s driving the frustration about Michael Brown’s death. 

As federal and local investigations into Brown’s shooting death unfold, Reed said more and more people want details and quick action. They want to know what really happened when a Ferguson police officer shot the 18-year-old last Saturday.

KSHB-TV

If the police staged a massive raid on your house, complete with assault weapons, you’d want to know why. But finding that out in Kansas is tricky and costly. 

On Monday's Up to Date, we look at a KSHB-TV investigative report on the problems local residents have had getting police records open in the state.

Guests:

Police officers often respond to situations that involve people suffering from mental health problems.

Since they are called first for help, there is a growing effort to train the officers in how to handle the situations.

On today's Central Standard, we discuss how police training is changing in order to accommodate mental health crisis response techniques.

Guests:

How You Get Out Of Speeding Tickets In Kansas City

Jan 31, 2014
Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons

Getting out of a speeding ticket in Kansas City comes down to lying, being honest and Bazooka bubble gum, according to feedback from our listeners.

While we don’t condone speeding, a current proposal in the Missouri House of Representatives to increase the interstate speed limit to 75 mph made us curious about your speeding experiences.  

Several police departments and organizations around Missouri are speaking out against a bill that would bar enforcement of federal gun laws if they interfere with a Missourian's Second Amendment rights.

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says House Bill 436 would in effect end cooperation between local and federal law enforcement agencies.  He cites a recent traffic stop where his officers apprehended two armed men wanted for different crimes.

Danie Alexander / KCUR-FM

Being a police officer is about many things: patrolling a beat, helping other officers maintain order, and sometimes, providing extra security to visiting dignitaries.

Kansas City, Mo., police officer Nicole Wright returns to speak with Steve Kraske about what it's like to work be part of the special security detail at the NAACP national convention for the organization’s chairman, Roslyn M. Brock and what the mood was there when they heard the verdict of the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR-FM

Recent events in the Boston area put the spotlight on law enforcement as the nation followed the investigation and manhunt following the explosions at the city's marathon.

The Right To Remain Informed

Jan 24, 2012

When a police officer asks “Do you know why I pulled you over?” what should you say? At what point, in dealing with the police, can everything you say or do be used against you?

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