By Joe Jarosz
January 27, 2016
KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The new Kansas City Police Department East Patrol commander wants to bring an old program back to the Historic Northeast.
At last Wednesday’s Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee meeting, Major Joe McHale proposed reinstating the Community Action Network concept. With a city codes department enforcer already dedicated to East Patrol, McHale plans to partner that enforcer with patrol officers. He told the committee he wants to make a difference in the area.
“We’re going to develop a plan to get officers more engaged in the Independence Avenue area,” McHale said to the committee. “And in the coming weeks, I’m going to approach Jean Peters Baker [Jackson County Prosecutor]. I know she had been looking, for quite a while, for a neighborhood based prosecution for a zone. I’m going to volunteer East Patrol to be that test bit if its something she’s still willing to consider.”
McHale was supported by key members of the Northeast community, including neighborhood association presidents and business leaders. Leslie Caplan, now entering her fifth year as the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association president, testified on behalf of reinstating the CAN concept.
“Having them [the CAN officers] was a huge community resource and a huge connection between the residents and the neighborhood and I witnessed it daily,” Caplan said.
While giving an update on the happenings of East Patrol, McHale told the committee that all subsequent visits from him will be accompanied by members of different segments of East Patrol’s community.
“They’re my constituents,” McHale said, pointing to the group representing the Historic Northeast.
Among other updates he gave the committee, McHale said Community Interaction Officer Jason Cooley will soon transfer to Kansas City No Violence Alliance [KC NoVA]. Cooley has been in that role for nearly seven years. He said NoVA needs someone like Cooley. Over the next three months, Cooley will be shadowed by his replacement, Officer Greg Smith, a 28-year-veteran of the KCPD.
“His commitment is going to be tough to match,” McHale said.