KEARNEY — While total calls for service for Kearney police officers remains steady, Public Information Officer Lt. John Stewart said officers are spending more time on patrol than taking incident reports, possibly resulting in less criminal activity due to increased visibility of officers throughout the community.
Total reports taking for the same time in 2018, resulted in 457 reports taken in 2018, but in the first six months of 2019, officers had 357 reports.
“Patrol time and traffic stops are up because officers have more time to enforce traffic laws /patrol with the reduction of incident reports. This could be part of the reason stealing is down, due to more visibility,” he said, adding in the same timeframe in 2018 there were eight burglary reports and 44 stealing reports but only 1 burglary and 33 stealings so far in 2019. “There were some successful criminal cases last year that resulted in jail time for some of the offenders.”
In addition to fewer stealings and burglar reports taken this year, reports of domestic disturbances and violence are also down from 51 reports in the first half of 2018 to 35 this year.
To hopefully help keep crime at bay, Stewart said the police department is adding to its ranks.
“With any luck, a new officer will start within two weeks,” he said Saturday, July 13, adding the department also continues to invest in personnel training including having officer Marnie Irsik attend the national Crisis Intervention Training conference this coming August.
In addition to adding to personnel, the department is getting updated facilities.
In recent months city leaders have invested tens of thousands of dollars in the police department to remodel the basement of the police station at the intersection of North Country Avenue and Missouri Highway 92, to provide for more computer equipment and storage space for key aspects of crime fighting such as evidence storage.
Officers in the department also recently obtained new, darker-colored uniforms.
“We are now wearing dark navy uniforms. We switched uniforms because it was hard to find French blue uniform shirts that matched. Several area departments including Smithville, Excelsior Springs, Gladstone and, several years ago, Liberty switched to the dark shirt,” he said. “This gives us more selection.”
Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at email@example.com or 903-6001.