By Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
October 15, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The number of homicides in the East Patrol Division of the Kansas City Police Department continue to fall.

Major Rick Smith gave a department update to the Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee last Wednesday on where the division stands in terms of statistics compared to last year and community policing.

Compared to Oct. 8, 2013, homicides are down 45 percent in the EPD, 17 this year to 31 last year.

“That’s the best news I can give you among crime stats,” Smith said to the committee. “It’s not zero yet, but it’s a great start.”

Smith also noted that compared to last year, stolen automobiles, property damage, robberies and burglaries are down. He added that narcotics arrests have increased since last year, as well. However, there was an increase in sex offenses.

“We had a pattern [of sexual offenses] on Independence Avenue and we’ve got a suspect with that,” Smith said, adding the police have arrested an individual they believe to be connected with the crimes.

The major also highlighted the work of officers in regards to a problem house in the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood. Smith said an individual who used to live in the neighborhood, was causing a lot of problems for the neighbors and the community. Smith was referring to Tyler Sutton, who recently was arrested for drug related charges and ordered not to return to the property at 426 Gladstone Blvd.

“Officers have done an outstanding job of targeting the problem residence,” Smith said. “We continue to work through that, but it’s been a great relationship. The neighborhood has gone through some bumps while this individual lived there, but we’re all together on the same team and hoping to conclude that problem shortly.”

Smith also noted that Public Information Officer Jason Cooley recently participated in a vehicle inspection clinic at the Church of the Resurrection to help teach women about vehicle preventative maintenance.

“It’s good proactive outreach like that which helps prevent any problems,” Smith said.

Kansas City City Council member John Sharp said he’s noticed a significant drop in homicides in the East and Metro Patrol divisions.

“You guys at East Patrol are really making some significant progress,” Sharp said.

After thanking the Major for his report, Kansas City City Council member Jermaine Reed said he’s glad to see measures in place to help with the decline of homicides in the city. He added he doesn’t want to forget the importance of community and police relations.

“I would suggest that we here in Kansas City are leading how departments should model that type of interaction,” Reed said. “I still want to say that there’s work that needs to be done within the community to improve relations with police officers.”

Smith agreed with Reed’s assessments, adding that there’s always room for improvements but, “the relationships within the East Patrol are strong.”