police

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.

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.

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