KCPD meets to discuss Plaza safety, stop stick use

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Police Department met for their monthly meeting Tuesday to discuss several issues including the curfew on the Country Club Plaza and the department’s pursuit policy.

Chief Darryl Forte, speaking in front of the board of commissions, said he believes there are positive things happening at the Plaza. He said media coverage can make it appear that things are worse than they are and said the relationships that the officers build with the teens there are important.

This comes two days before the curfew goes back into effect for the summer. Teens under 18 must be out of the Country Club Plaza, Power and Light District, Zona Rosa, Westport and 18th and Vine by 9 p.m.

Forte said Tuesday morning that the department’s resources, including officers and mounted patrol, are prepared for more traffic that is expected on the Plaza as the weather warms up.

He said he and other officers make it a point to be in that area regularly.

“It's not out of control. I don't like going down there every Saturday just to tweet, but I think it is important that I am down there so the story is not blown out of proportion, but again, it's not out of control down there," Forte said.

The department’s pursuit policy was also discussed.

Stop sticks have been used in multiple car chases in Kansas City.

Two people were arrested in January when a chase started late at night. About 25 minutes later, the sticks were used to slow the car down. It came to a stop near the police headquarters downtown and it was reported that at one point, the driver was going up to 100 mph.

Another instance was a chase near 33rd and Southwest Trafficway at 2 a.m. The driver was believed to have been under the influence and was stopped with the stop sticks. 

Kansas City police have been studying if the tool is still safe for the public and for officers.

Chief Darryl forte and the deputy chief asked for the use of stop sticks to be reviewed, starting a two-month investigation.

The current policy was reviewed in 2012. They wanted to look at it again in part because of the instances where the stop sticks have been used in our area but also because officers in other areas have been injured using them.

The department found that more often, it's the chase itself that's more dangerous than the tools officers use.

"When we do decide to engage in a pursuit, we assign a primary and a secondary vehicle. We have a controlling supervisor involved in the pursuit as well and whenever possible we try to get our helicopter overhead," Captain Scott Glaeser said.

Officers in KCMO say they have a strict pursuit policy and decided that they will continue to use stop sticks. Police said just over 80 percent of their department’s pursuits end in an arrest.

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