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A picture of a women with gray hair in KCUR studio. Subject visable from chest up.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Kansas City Police Department shootings raise questions about when it's acceptable for police to use lethal force.

In the course of one afternoon last week, Kansas City police officers shot and killed three people in two separate incidents. The first involved the shooting of a woman in the Northland who was armed with a decorative sword. In the first part of today's program, we heard an eyewitness account of the killing, and discussed when police can and should use deadly force.

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Missouri has at least 4,889 untested rape kits that have yet to be submitted for DNA testing, according to a state audit. 

In 2017, crime labs around the state tested 869 rape kits, which preserve DNA evidence, the audit said. And the Kansas City Police Department had the longest turnaround among more than 250 law enforcement departments.

Segment 1: A look at Childish Gambino's latest music video.

 The single 'This is America' by Childish Gambino has inspired plenty of conversations on race, identity and culture. We take a closer look at the meaning behind both the song and video. 

  • Glenn North, poet
  • David Muhammad, rapper and teacher, Shawnee Mission East

Segment 2, beginning at 22:38: The dangers of profiling of proxy.

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.

Independence Police Department

A former crime analyst with the Independence, Missouri, Police Department is suing Chief Brad Halsey and the city for sexual harassment and assault.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court, alleges six years of unwanted, "sexually charged" incidents carried out against her by multiple co-workers beginning in 2007.

The accuser is named in the lawsuit, but she has requested KCUR not use her name. It is KCUR's policy not to identify victims in cases of sexual harassment or violence.

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.

file photo / Kansas News Service

In the last year, the number of Cherokee County children in state custody shot up by roughly half.

The places available for those kids to stay, meanwhile, hasn’t changed.

So that’s meant shipping them two hours away — and regularly taking deputies from the 19-person sheriff’s department off patrol to drive the children to Andover, Kansas — the closest place available with any room.

file photo / Kansas News Service

For years, reporters in the Kansas Capitol press corps and advocates for open government pressed legislators to hide less of the workings of state government from public view.

Now, the Kansas Legislature appears ready to approve changes that would pull back the curtain — at least a tad.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The policies and techniques that are best at keeping drunk drivers off the road.

Last month, the Missouri House of Representatives voted for the second year in a row to cut the state funding for sobriety checkpoints to $1. The plan to catch drunk drivers and keep them off the street? Saturation patrols. Today, we talked about the effectiveness of these options. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. with comments from the county prosecutor.

This story was updated at 2:00 p.m. with information from Sharp's resignation letter.

In a stunning development, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp has admitted to a "personal failing" in connection with a sexual relationship with an employee and has resigned the post he has held since 2009, effective Thursday.

The Kansas Senate has passed a bill that increases the penalties for people who make “swatting” calls.

The bill was sparked by a swatting incident in December in which Andrew Finch was killed by Wichita Police responding to a fake call about a hostage situation at his address.

Swatting involves making a false 911 call to draw law enforcement to an address.

Finch was shot when he came onto his porch to investigate the police activity outside. Police have said Finch disobeyed police commands and was reaching towards his waistband when he was shot.

Henry County Sheriff's Office

Tammy Widger, the 37-year-old Clinton, Missouri, woman who was in the house when police responded to a 911 call resulting in the shooting death of officer Christopher Ryan Morton on March 6, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Henry County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Shields announced the new charge on Wednesday.

Last week, Widger was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and keeping a public nuisance, both felonies.

Missouri State Highway Patrol

Henry County 911 Emergency Communications said in a statement late Friday afternoon that a database error may have led to Clinton, Missouri, police officers being sent to the wrong address, where one officer died.

Officer Christopher Ryan Morton was shot and killed while responding to a 911 call Tuesday evening at an address on Grandriver Street in Clinton. Two other officers were wounded by James E. Waters, who was later found dead in the house. The cause of his death is still being investigated.

Missouri Department of Public Safety

It’s still unclear what role technology might have played in the "nightmare" scenario that unfolded in Clinton, Missouri, this week, when an officer was killed responding to a disturbance call after 911 dispatchers gave police an incorrect address.

Andrea Tudhope / File/KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Reporters sort through multiple issues threatening governor's hold on office.

Between a felony indictment, a closed-door House committee investigation and talk of dark money, there is lots to keep up with when it comes to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. We sorted out details of the controversies swirling around the state's most prominent office-holder and what it could mean down the road for Missouri politics.

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."

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

As residents and law enforcement officials in Clinton, Missouri, processed the events leading to a police officer's killing late Tuesday, confusion emerged over why officers had gone to the address where Officer Ryan Morton, 30, was fatally shot while responding to a domestic disturbance call.

Henry County 911 operators received a phone call late Tuesday night. According to Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Collin Stosberg, no one was on the other end but operators heard women screaming in the background.

Clinton, Missouri, Fire Department

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

Updated 10:25 a.m.

The Missouri Highway Patrol has identified the Clinton Police Officer killed in the line of duty last night as 30-year-old Officer Christopher Ryan Morton.

Morton served as a full-time officer for the Clinton Police Department for two years beginning in 2015. Before that he was a specialist for the Army National Guard. He was deployed twice overseas, serving in Afghanistan as a bridge crew member and a radio communications manager.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Overland Park police uncover hoax call in time, Kansas lawmaker sponsors anti-swatting legislation.

Two dramatic 'swatting' calls have occurred in separate Kansas communities. In Overland Park, police responded to one such hoax in January, and in Wichita, a man was shot and killed by police who received a 'spoofed' call just before the New Year. Today, we learn what 'swatting' is, how law enforcement is reacting and what legislators are doing to crack down.

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.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers have forged a compromise to allow more access to video from police body cameras and vehicles.

Legislation debated in the Kansas House Wednesday followed recent shootings by police in the state.

The bill says people in the videos or their families must be given access to the recordings within 20 days.

In the past, it could take months for families to see a video and find out what happened in a fatal police shooting.

Republican Rep. Blaine Finch said this plan would give families a definite timeline.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Johnson County authorities announced Tuesday that the fatal, officer-involved shooting of 17-year-old John Albers was justified. 

The announcement comes one month after Overland Park police were dispatched to a home in south Overland Park, responding to a report of a suicidal person.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Updated Monday 9:45 a.m.

Blue Valley School District officials say counselors will be on hand at schools throughout the district Monday to help students cope with the death of a 17-year old Blue Valley Northwest High School student.

John Albers was shot and killed Saturday by Overland Park Police. 

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.

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.

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.

On September 15 in St. Louis, a former police officer was acquitted in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. We check on the protests on the other side of the state. Plus, how the MeToo campaign is affecting Kansas Citians.

Guests:

Facebook - Raytown Police Department

At least 14 officers at the Raytown Police Department have submitted their resignations, the department confirms, and more officers are expected to step down. 

The resignations follow news that budget cuts could force the department to eliminate nearly a third of its sworn officers.

Raytown city officials face a Nov. 1 deadline to resolve a budget deficit.

The cuts most endanger the police department, which could lose 17 of 56 sworn officers and ten civilians.

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