NEAT Director Mary Cyr invited newly appointed KCPD Chief Rick Smith to the Mattie Rhodes Center to meet face to face with area residents. Neighborhood association presidents from Indian Mound, Scarritt Renaissance, Sheffield and Independence Plaza were in attendance, and were generally pleased with Smith’s appointment because of his past work with neighborhoods, addressing crime issues in a collaborative manner.
“I have some of the answers for some of the challenges, but I don’t have all the answers,” Chief Smith admitted to a room of about two dozen Northeast residents and neighborhood leaders. “We have a violent crime issue and we need more staff to address that.” The Chief also pointed out that this includes fully staffing the gym at East Patrol, and extending the hours at the Police Athletic League. “There are not enough youth services in this city. Friday and Saturday nights are when we are seeing a lot of young men being shot.” He also cited the successes that Gina English, the Social Services Coordinator at Central Patrol, has had with eliminating much of the youth related incidents on the Plaza on weekend evenings. “You haven’t heard about problems on the Plaza since we brought her on board,”
One of the new Chief’s first priorities was to organize all of the Community Interaction Officers from all of the Patrol Zones in order to insure better communication department wide on community related issues. Former East Patrol CIO Jason Cooley has been tasked with creating that network and will report directly to Chief Smith on its progress.