By LESLIE COLLINS
August 7, 2013
Two officers, including East Patrol’s Maj. Ron Fletcher, received honors during the July 23 Board of Police Commissioners meeting.
Fletcher, who chaired the ShotSpotter Implementation Team and worked with ShotSpotter personnel to develop an implementation plan, received the Meritorious Service Award.
Fletcher was described as working tirelessly to coordinate IT support, select a team, among other key items to implement ShotSpotter technology in Kansas City.
Launched on Oct. 1, 2012, in Kansas City, ShotSpotter uses acoustic sensors to detect gunfire and accurately determine the gunshot’s location within 25 meters, all within 60 seconds. ShotSpotter can also determine if more than one shooter was involved, and if shots were fired from a vehicle it can determine the direction the vehicle is moving and its speed.
“It’s an awesome system. We’re very happy and impressed with it,” Maj. Mike Corwin said during the city’s Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee meeting in July.
Another benefit of the ShotSpotter system is that it’s a solid and accepted scientific source in court trials, he said.
From October 2012 to October 2013, KCPD received 1,178 alerts from the ShotSpotter system and of those, 977 alerts resulted in officers dispatched to the scene. There were six felony arrests, six misdemeanor arrests and 13 firearms recovered, among other items. One success story occurred on Dec. 17, 2012, when officers responded to a ShotSpotter shots fired call and located a gunshot victim, who had been riding in a stolen vehicle. While officers secured the scene, other officers canvassed the area and located the stolen vehicle and the suspect, who gave a full confession. That suspect has been charged with aggravated assault and armed criminal action.
A special delivery at Walmart
For his role in helping to deliver a baby outside the entrance of a Walmart, Officer Matthew Phelps of Metro Patrol received a Certificate of Commendation.
Phelps was working off-duty security Dec. 1, 2012, for the Walmart at 4200 Blue Ridge Blvd. when his KCPD radio alerted him that a woman was possibly going into labor in the parking lot.
“I rushed out there. I found her standing on the front sidewalk and I saw that she was in distress,” Phelps told Northeast News.
Her water had broken and Phelps pulled out a bench from inside the store and helped the woman lie down. He radioed for an ambulance and remained calm.
“In my mind, I’m thinking the ambulance is going to be here, so it wasn’t going to be that big of a deal,” Phelps said. “When I realized I was going to be delivering a baby, it really freaked me out, but I remained calm and professional. And I just helped her like I would help anyone else out.”
With the assistance of firefighters, Phelps wrapped the newborn in blankets, cleared her mouth and nose, and tapped on her feet until she began to breathe, making her first cries.
The ambulance soon arrived and transported mother and baby to the hospital.
“With as many complications that can arise with pregnancy, I felt very fortunate that everything came out okay,” he said.
Phelps visited the mother and infant in the hospital and still keeps in touch.
“It’s pretty cool,” Phelps said of receiving the award, “but at the same time I feel like the credit really goes to her (mother). She did all the work and I was just there to help her through it.”