Thursday, December 30, 2010

Police Chief Chat

Happy New Year! Your friends at the Rolla Police Department wish you a very Happy New Year and hope 2011 is a great year for all of us and all of you! We would like to thank you for a great 2010 and look forward to continue serving you as your Police Department in 2011!

This past week the Rolla Police Department handled 536 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 9 arrests, 19 accidents, 23 traffic complaints, 69 traffic stops, 21 disturbance calls (including domestics), 12 suspicious nature calls, 22 assists of other agencies, 41 911 hang up calls, 12 check the welling being calls, 28 animal control calls, 12 stealing calls, 3 telephone harassments and 32 security checks. This call total is down 52 calls from last week. This is definitely an improvement, but still another busy week!

Last week the Rolla community made a very positive impact on a humble, troubled Oklahoma family. On Christmas Eve, Jon Varney along with his wife and young daughter were traveling through Rolla on I-44 attempting to get back to their home in Oklahoma for Christmas. The road was snow covered and very slick. Jon was having a terrible time keeping his vehicle on the roadway due to badly worn tires. Jon’s truck was equipped with a brand new spare tire, but it would not fit his vehicle. Being short of funds, Jon was hoping to find a used tire dealer that would trade him 2 good used tires for his new spare tire, so he could complete his journey.

Jon pulled into Rolla and stopped at another law enforcement agency, and explained his situation. The agency directed him to the Rolla Police Department where he spoke with telecommunicator Jamie Jones. Jamie listened to Jon’s dilemma and relayed the information to Sgt. Jeremy Martens who was the shift supervisor. Jeremy began calling auto and tire dealerships in an attempt to find someone to trade tires with Mr. Varney. Jeremy was not having much luck due to most used tire businesses were closed due to it being Christmas Eve. Telecommunications Supervisor Stayce Smith came up with the idea of turning to our 4,330 Facebook Fans to help the Varney family. Stayce says, “this young family was trying to get back home and was in need of 2 tires.” “ We get these types of requests all the time, but this family really tugged at our heartstrings!”

Stayce completed the posting at 1:29 p.m. Almost immediately fans began inquiring as to what size tires the family needed. Within 4 minutes, John Moser of Rolla announced that he had $20 he would donate for the tires if someone from the PD would come by and get it. After John’s announcement it was as if the flood gates opened. Sgt. Jeremy Martens immediately announced that he had $20, which sparked all 4 telecommunicators on duty to dig into their pockets. Patrol officers on duty heard of the campaign and donated to the cause. Fans were posting that they too had donations and would either bring it by or have someone pick it up. Several announced that they were on their way to an ATM to withdraw funds for this family. Our officers were driving out into the community to retrieve the pledged donations. I learned of the posting and thought that this would be a wonderful project for our own Behind the Badge group and advised them of the situation.

Within minutes Behind the Badge announced that they had contacted the Rolla Wal-Mart Supercenter and that Wal-Mart had the correct tires in stock. Behind the Badge contacted Central Dispatch and told them to have the Varney’s drive to Wal-Mart to have 4 new tires installed and Behind the Badge would pick up the tab. As you can imagine, this was quite an emotional scene at the police department. The Varney’s could not believe what was happening. Stayce announced on Facebook that the tires had been secured and that the Varneys were on their way to the store to have them installed. Fans continued to donate money and told us to have the family use it for other traveling needs. One Facebook fan called in and said that she would use her credit card to buy the Varney’s new tires. Unbelieveable!

The Varney’s returned to the police department with their new tires to say thank you and wish all of us a Merry Christmas. They were beyond words when Jamie Jones handed them a substantial amount of cash to continue their journey. As was posted on Facebook, there was not a dry eye in the house. This was a proud American family, down on their luck and only hoping to make a fair trade on a couple used tires, and ending up with new tires, gas and food money and a little glimpse into what it is like to live in our community. I am sure the Varney’s will never forget Rolla, and some of us here at the Police Department will never forget them, but most of all we are truly proud of our community and the way we come together we there is a need. Thank you Rolla!

We wish all of you a wonderful 2011 and hope you had a safe and fun-filled New Year’s celebration. Please remember to drink responsibly, secure a designated driver and never, ever drive impaired.

Have a great year!

Chief Mark Kearse

Monday, December 27, 2010

Have a safe and peaceful holiday season

As we say farewell to 2010, and head into the New Year, I’d like to take the opportunity to express my thanks and appreciation to the Rolla City Council, all of our City employees and the businesses, organizations, colleges and institutions that make up our great community.

Working together, and collaboratively, we have once again demonstrated that we are all capable of accomplishing so much more when we do so as one community. 2010 will be a year I hope that will be a memorable one for many of you, as there were so many milestones such as the first annual Celebration of Nations, the launching of the Missouri S&T Innovation Park, Bryant Drive Extension, and numerous outstanding new restaurants and businesses, that we can look back on as catalysts that will propel us forward into the year 2011.

Sales tax revenue is up almost 5% compared to the same time last year, and other economic indicators such as a significant increase in commercial construction, development of Innovation Park, and record enrollment at Missouri S&T, point to the potential of a prosperous 2011 in Rolla and Phelps County. With the momentum we have created in 2010, and the promise of a new Kohl’s store just beyond the horizon, the possibilities look bright for 2011.

In closing, I’d like to remind everyone to please be mindful of the weather and road conditions, and exercise caution while driving and traveling throughout the community. A safe holiday, is just about as important, if not more so, than a healthy and peaceful holiday. And looking toward the New Year, I’d like to remind everyone that the next Rolla City Council meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 3, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Rolla City Hall, 901 N. Elm Street.

Wishing you a peaceful and safe holiday season!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Police Chief Chat

Chief Chat

Merry Christmas! We hope you and your family are enjoying a great holiday season and are able to spend some time reflecting on how important family and community can be and how fortunate we are to be able to live, love and worship in peace in our community. This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 588 calls for service. Of those, there were 19 alarms, 15 arrests, 45 accidents, 10 check the well being calls, 32 traffic complaints, 30 traffic stops, 20 stealings, 33 security checks, 5 fingerprint requests, 3 destructions of property, 11 escorts and 12 assists of other agencies. This call total is down 124 calls from last week which is a welcome break but still yet another busy week!

On 12/18/2010 at approximately 0227 hours the Rolla Police Department received a 911 call at a residence in the 300 block of North Oak Street. Upon arrival officers contacted the resident who was agitated about a previous situation. As officers were not able to accommodate the resident’s request, he became increasingly agitated and would not cooperate with officers on the scene. Eventually threats were made by the resident and a barricade situation ensued. The Rolla Police Department SWAT Team was called to the scene and a perimeter was established. Area residents were contacted and were encouraged to evacuate their premises. The resident, believed to be deranged began making threats to shoot officers and then announced that he had a bomb in the residence that he would detonate. The resident eventually fired a round into the ground outside of the residence with a handgun.

The Rolla Police Department Hostage Negotiation Team responded and was able to establish communication with the suspect, but the conversation was confusing at best due to the suspect’s state of mind. After nearly 5 hours of repeated requests for the suspect to come out of the residence and surrender his firearms, and after several introductions of tear gas into the residence, the suspect did finally surrender without incident. James R. Fazzio age 53 of Rolla, was arrested and transported to the PCRMC for evaluation of his condition. The Rolla Police Department requested and received assistance from the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol Officers, MSHP SWAT and MSHP Bomb Squad, Phelps County Ambulance, Rolla City Fire and Rescue, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, St. Robert Police Department and Missouri S&T Police. This is another situations where the emergency services coalition here in Phelps County came together in a time of need and provided the necessary support to bring a very dangerous situation to a safe conclusion. I would like to thank all of the aforementioned agencies who provided a combined total of nearly 70 officers, EMS personnel, firefighters, agents and deputies to assist us in this operation.

A couple weeks ago, we were contacted by the Edgar Springs Police Chief Kody Lucas about our department joining a coalition of other law enforcement agencies in Phelps County to become involved in collecting items for over 100 Phelps County foster children. The children have been removed from their homes due to neglect or dangerous situations and placed into foster care through the Division of Social Services. Many times the children are removed during the night without warning and must leave what belongings they do have behind. This campaign is a way for you to donate needed items to these children by dropping them off at the police department. The items needed are shoes, socks, diapers, undergarments, toys, school supplies, coats, blankets, stuffed toys and car seats. You may also make monetary donations for the cause. These items may be dropped off at the Rolla Police Department Monday through Friday from 8-5, up until January 15, 2011. To date we have gathered a large quantity of these items and had them delivered to the children in need. We could still use a lot more, so if you are able, please do what you can. Thank you!

Last week I was surprised by an early Christmas gift from the employees of the Rolla Police Department. I became the proud owner of a 7 ½ week old male Great Dane puppy, that was purchased by the employees who generously pooled their money for the purchase. After welcoming the pup to our family I had a bit of trouble trying to come up with an appropriate name for him so I decided to the Rolla Police Department Facebook fans help me decide. We announced the “Name the Pooch” contest last Thursday and by Friday I had over 200 worthy suggestions from our 4,248 strong fan base. The names ranged everywhere from Chief and Kearse to Sarg and even D-O-G. After much contemplation and consideration, I decided the most fitting name for the Dane was Tazer! The suggestion was actually the first response we received on our Facebook site and was submitted by Rolla Police Facebook fan Joni Burch! Joni will be coming by the Police Department next week to meet Tazer and to pick up her $25.00 gift card to Colton’s Steakhouse. Thanks to Joni and to all the other Facebook fans for your great suggestions and we are sorry there could only be one winner as you are all winners in our book!

From all your friends here at the Rolla Police Department, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year!

Chief Mark Kearse

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rolla City Departments support "Fill A Ford" food drive

It has often been said that Christmas is the season of giving as much as it is the season of receiving, and for that reason several City of Rolla Departments, including the City’s Employee Advisory Committee, are supporting and assisting with efforts to contribute to the 20th annual “Fill A Ford for the Holidays” Christmas food drive that is currently underway at Denny Ford Lincoln Mercury (located on Bishop Highway) to assist our area’s food pantries.

The City’s Employee Advisory Committee (EAC), which consists of employee representatives from each of the City’s eight departments, is asking City employees to drop off non-perishable or canned food items at various City departments/facilities located throughout the city. At City Hall (901 N. Elm Street) alone, there are four boxes (decorated with holiday gift wrapping) located in the lobby of every floor. Similar boxes are also located at The Centre, (1200 N. Holloway Street), where a raffle ticket is given to anyone who donates five cans of food. The winning entry will receive one $100 discount/savings on an annual Centre membership. Other City departments that are also participating include: the Rolla Police Department headquarters (corner of 11th and Elm Streets), the Rolla Recycling Center (located at 2141 Old St. James Road), the City’s Sanitation Department (located on Sharp Avenue off 18th Street) and the City of Rolla Fire & Rescue Headquarters, Fire Station #1, located on 10th Street (BB Hyw.) across the street from Greentree Christian Church.

Speaking of the season of giving, The Centre staff once again sponsored the G.R.A.C.E. For Christmas Tree inside the lobby of The Centre where Centre members and residents fulfilled the wishes of children of various ages by adopting a star and donating Christmas gifts. This year The Centre also partnered with various groups to bring a little holiday cheer. Kicks for Kids, a dream project of new Life Ministries, provided shoes to foster children through The Partnership. And a three-day canned food drive to support the Fill A Ford for the Holidays again allowed Centre members to easily see the needs of area families.

While you are at The Centre you may also want to check out the unique and extensive Santa Claus collection consisting of all shapes, sizes and nationalities that are attractively displayed in the glass cases in the lobby. The Santa display was provided by local residents Don and Nancy Brackhahn, who are generously sharing their extensive Santa Claus memorabilia with Centre members and the community throughout the holiday season.

Severe winter weather has hit the Rolla area a little earlier than usual this year, and it is somewhat of a wake-up call to everyone to be prepared for cold weather days, icy roads, icy sidewalks and dangerous driving conditions. It is often said that one of the biggest culprits of traffic accidents is excessive speed and not heeding the conditions of the road. With Christmas just days away, last minute shopping, holiday and family get-togethers, weather and driving conditions can sometimes be an afterthought. Unfortunately, that is what can sometimes lead to avoidable accidents on slippery sidewalks, parking lots and our roadways. The City of Rolla’s Street Department, the Phelps County Highway Department and Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) all keep a close eye on the weather conditions, and will often be salting and plowing your roads in the middle of the night so iced-over and snow-covered roads aren’t as slick as they might otherwise be.

The City’s Public Works Department is aware that salt is hard on the environment, on concrete, on automobiles and is increasing significantly in price. So in order to reduce the negative aspects and increase cost of salt, the City is relying more on a combination of saw dust, sand and beat juice with less salt.
Remember, the best way to stay safe during the kind of unpredictable ice and snow storms we have in South Central Missouri, is to stay abreast of the latest weather reports, take a few minutes to warm up your automobile, de-ice your windshields and windows, and if possible, spread a little de-icing salt on your porches, sidewalks and driveways where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic. Sometimes the most dangerous patch of ground is that step before and after you enter or exit your vehicle.

Have a safe week, and remember to ‘shop local’ whenever possible.

Police Chief Chat

Chief Chat

This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 712 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 30 arrests, 26 accidents, 27 traffic complaints, 185 traffic stops, 19 disturbance calls (including domestics), 14 suspicious nature calls, 21 assists of other agencies, 52 911 hang up calls, 13 check the well being requests, 32 animal control calls, 18 stealing calls, 41 security checks, 13 alarms and 7 escorts. The call total is up 86 calls from last week. Yet, another busy week!

On Tuesday night VIPS Director Vince Giacolone, Phelps County Sheriff’s Deputy Mitch Wofford and I had the opportunity to address the residents of the shoe factory addition during their 2nd Neighborhood Watch Meeting. We were welcomed by Coordinators Rhonda Myers and Duane Nevels and a large enthusiastic group of residents who had questions and voiced concerns over ways to combat crime in their neighborhood. I relayed several plans in the works to assist this endeavor and received supporting feedback on the intended operations. Thanks to all in attendance!

Also on Tuesday night, Senior Patrol Officer Brad Lewis received a call of an intoxicated individual at a local convenience store. Brad made contact with the suspect and ran a check on him through Central Communications where he learned that the suspect was wanted on a warrant out of Phelps County on the charge of failure to appear on a driving while suspended charge. The suspect Bobby L. Doyle age 29, of Rolla, was arrested and searched incident to the arrest. During the search Officer Lewis discovered an uncapped syringe containing heroin in the suspects clothing. Paraphernalia consistent with drug use was also discovered. Doyle was incarcerated in the Phelps County Jail on the arrest warrant and additional charges will be pursued on the drug violation. Great job Brad!

On Wednesday of this week, Phelps County Coroner Larry Swinfard announced the appointment of our own Cpt. Jason Smith as Chairman of the Phelps County Child Fatality Review Board. This appointment will become effective on January 1, 2011. The review board is mandated by the State of Missouri and part of the Missouri Child Fatality Review Program. The board consists of representatives of Law Enforcement, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Coroner/Medical Examiner’s Office, Juvenile Office, Children’s Division, Public Health and Emergency Services. All deaths of children from birth to age 17 must be reported to the County Coroner. The coroner will then determine whether the death meets the criteria of mandatory panel review. Upon activation the panel will be the investigating body to determine the cause of death and then monitor the continued investigation. Congratulations to Jason on this appointment!

Also on Wednesday Central Communications was scheduled for an audit on the use of the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System. I would like to include an excerpt from our Communications Chief Paula Volkmer to the Communications Division following the audit. Paula writes: This morning we were paid a visit from the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Quality Assurance Team for our Region. As a part of our agreement to access the statewide law enforcement computer system (MULES), we must maintain their standards of record keeping, training, security and access. Because this system is predominately used by our communicators on behalf of law enforcement officers in Phelps County, our agency coordinator is Comm. Supervisor Chuck Satterfield. The Quality Assurance Team prepare in advance by researching our activity within the system, then evaluate our access and how we process those records. After careful review of our practices, this morning we were awarded 100% compliance. Great job Chuck, communicators and all RPD users of MULES.

On Thursday, Christmas came a bit early for me as I was surprised by my employees who presented me with a 7 ½ week old male Great Dane puppy! The employees got together and pooled their money to purchase the AKC registered Dane, then presented him Thursday afternoon. To say the least, I was elated as I have raised 4 Great Dane puppies and enjoyed them for several years. Sadly they all grew old and passed on. The last 2 passed just last year. The employees knew how much the animals meant to me and realized that the time was right to find a replacement. The new Dane is black in color and very laid back for a puppy. I have decided to make him the Police Department mascot and bring him in to the PD on occasion for the employees to enjoy. One problem I have is thinking of a proper name for him. With the success of our Facebook site and realizing putting 4,170 heads together is better than just mine, I decided to let the Facebook fans decide on a name for him. We opened the “Name the Pooch” campaign on Thursday afternoon and by Friday morning we had over 200 suggestions! There were several great ideas, and more are coming in so, I am fairly confident we will have a “handle” on this project very soon. Thank you to my RPD family for your consideration and wonderful addition to both the Police Department and my family. I would also like to thank the many Facebook fans for your great suggestions and continued support of the Rolla Police Department.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Monday, December 13, 2010

City reminds residents to 'Go Green' during the holidays

With Christmas just days away most folks are thinking about the possibility of having a white Christmas. But before you make plans for how you are going to enjoy the winter weather, I’d like to remind our readers and residents the importance of “Going Green” during the holidays.

While most of us are still busy shopping (remember to ‘shop local’ whenever possible) and getting presents wrapped for the holidays, don’t forget throughout the holidays as you receive gifts and packaged treats, you have the option of “going green” and recycling! The Rolla Recycling Center, located at 2141 Old St. James Road, accepts most types of wrapping paper and they take boxes as well. A Christmas tree drop-off site will also be available at the Rolla Recycling Center. Trees will be accepted at this location through Sunday, Jan. 17, 2011.

The City of Rolla’s Environmental Services Department will also continue to offer the pick-up of bagged leaves through Friday, Dec. 17, 2010. To receive this service, the leaves must be placed in brown paper biodegradable yard waste bags, which can be purchased at a reasonable price at many stores in the area. We also ask that you place your bags to the curb by 6 a.m. so our equipment operators can pick them up on your normal collection day. Please be aware that this service will be suspended from Dec. 20, 2010 through Feb. 25, 2011. Collection of yard waste (leaves, grass, clippings and small sticks) in brown paper bags will resume on Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Residents wishing to dispose of these materials during the winter suspension can use the compost site located at the end of McCutchen Drive just north of the Rolla Recycling Center on Old St. James Road. Residents may also arrange for a special pick up for a fee. For more information, please call the Environmental Services Department at (573) 364-6693.

In other news I’d like to announce that the Rolla City Council recently approved (at the Dec. 6 Council meeting) the appointment of Rolla resident Greg Sawyer to the Rolla City Council. Mr. Sawyer, who is a lifelong resident of Rolla, a 1977 graduate of Rolla High School, a graduate of The University of the Ozarks, a USGS 30-year veteran, and a member of the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission, was appointed to serve the unexpired term of former City Councilman Don Barklage, who served as Ward II Councilman for the past 14 years. Mr. Sawyer will be administered the oath of office at the next City Council meeting on Monday, Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Rolla City Hall (901 N. Elm Street).

Also during the Dec. 20 meeting Rolla Municipal Judge Bill Hickle, who served as municipal judge from May 1996 to Dec. 2010, will be retiring at the end of this year, and will be recognized for his 14 years of service. Judge Hickle will continue serving the residents of Rolla and Phelps County as a newly elected Associate Circuit Judge for Phelps County.  Long-time City Counselor John Beger (of Beger and Bushie, LLC), who served as City Counselor for the Rolla City Council from January 1995 to December 2010, will also be recognized for his 15 years of service. Mr. Beger will continue serving the residents of Rolla and Phelps County as the newly elected Phelps County Prosecutor.

In closing I’d like to remind everyone that filing for the City of Rolla’s 2011 General Municipal Election, which will be held April 5, 2011, begins on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 at 8 a.m. The positions open for election this year include: one Council Representative for all six wards (two-year term) and Municipal Judge (to fulfill a one-year unexpired term). Persons wishing to file their candidacy for any of the above-listed positions may do so between 8 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 and 5 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 in the Rolla City Clerk’s Office at City Hall (901 North Elm Street). Municipal candidates are not charged a filing fee.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Police Chief Chat

This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 626 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 21 arrests, 31 accidents, 27 traffic complaints, 64 traffic stops, 17 disturbance calls (including domestics), 16 suspicious nature calls, 31 assists of other agencies, 45 911 hang up calls, 13 check the well being requests, 28 animal control calls, 18 stealing calls, 7 escorts, 7 trespassing calls, 49 security checks, 2 abandon vehicles. This call total is up 75 calls from last week. Yet, another busy week!

With Christmas just around the corner, several charitable events are taking place throughout the community. These events are very typical for our community in that we live in a place where those more fortunate than others are quick to come to the aid of those less fortunate. One of the events is the “Cops Care” program hosted by the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department This program has been very successful for several years and seems to grow each year. The Sheriff’s Department has teamed with the Rolla Wal-Mart and has raised funds to allow less fortunate children in the community to accompany a law enforcement officer on a shopping spree where the children are provided with a $100 gift card to purchase whatever they desire to purchase for themselves for Christmas. Sheriff’s Deputies, Highway Patrol Officers, Corrections officers, Police Officers and even officer’s spouses accompany the child through the store to fill their Christmas wishes. Rarely does a child use all the money for themselves in that more times than not, they want to purchase items for parents or siblings that were not able to be there. Most of the time, if the child were to go over the $100 limit, the accompanying officer steps forward and pulls the additional cash out of their own pockets. If you would like to contribute to this cause, contact Sgt. Andy Davis at the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department at 426-3860.

Another program that is new this year is an idea created by the Edgar Springs Police Chief Kody Lucas. Kody and the Edgar Springs Police Department has teamed with the Division of Social Services to put together a coalition of law enforcement agencies in Phelps County who are accepting donations for the following needed items: Car seats (all sizes and ages), coats (sizes s-xl), kid’s shoes (all sizes), blankets, school supplies, socks, undergarments, diapers, toys and stuffed animals. These items will be accepted as well as monetary or gift card donations (make checks payable to: City of Edgar Springs) these donations can be dropped off at the Edgar Springs City Hall from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. or at the following law enforcement agencies from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are Rolla Police Department, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, St. James Police Department, Newburg Police Department and the Doolittle Police Department. Please drop off the donations by January 15, 2011. Many times children are rescued from violent or dangerous situations in the middle of the night and may have to leave without time to gather belongings. Your contributions will go toward providing these necessary items.

And finally, the last program I will mention this week has also been ongoing for several years here at Denny Ford of Rolla. Denny and his crew developed a campaign several years ago called “Fill a Ford for the Holidays” where they encourage the community to bring in non-perishable foods to be donated to the various food pantries in Rolla and the surrounding communities. The food is placed in the bed of a pick-up truck in the dealership until the end of the campaign, where it is then turned over to the needy entities. This year the Rolla Police Department is challenging our employees to support this cause by bringing in can goods and other non-perishable food items to be delivered to Denny Ford. We encourage you to meet our challenge and support this great cause.

This past week Special Olympics – Missouri held their 26th Law Enforcement Torch Run Kick-Off where plans are made for the upcoming year on how to better serve our Special Olympic athletes through several events hosted by law enforcement agencies across Missouri. the Torch Run is a campaign to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics. The mission of the LETR is to raise both dollars and awareness for Special Olympics. Nearly 200 agencies and 2,500 officers work year-round in Missouri to accomplish this goal; they are some of our greatest volunteers. All funds raised go toward supporting Special Olympics Missouri's year-round sports training and athletic competition program for more than 15,000 athletes across the state.

The Rolla Police Department hosts several events throughout the year to include the torch run, t-shirt sales and a trivia night. Past events include a motorcycle rally, fire-truck pull, the polar plunge and a “Cop-on-Top event. Over the past several years these events have raised thousands of dollars for the Special Olympic athletes and provided them the opportunity to compete in real sporting events and to experience real life exhilaration, a sense of accomplishment and even the sorrows of defeat. Our torch run t-shirts will be available early next week and will be just in time for Christmas. To order or view the new 2011 shirts stop by the police department and contact S/Sgt. Rick Williams or call 308-1213!

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Monday, December 6, 2010

City Council recognizes work of key City positions

Old Man Winter has finally arrived in Rolla with lower temperatures and an occasional snow flurry that always helps to get you in the holiday spirit, and this special time of year.

Speaking of getting into the holiday spirit, if you haven’t already noticed at Rolla City Hall, members of the Public Works Department have been busy lately setting up and decorating the 20-foot-tall Christmas tree that shines ever-so-brightly at night next to the bandshell in the Downtown Festival Park across from City Hall. The Frisco Caboose, yet another iconic symbol of Rolla’s rich train heritage, is also decorated with garland and Christmas lights thanks to the efforts of the Public Works crews, who also put up the large holiday wreaths that adorn the front of Rolla City Hall. I’d like to express my thanks and appreciation to all the members of the Public Works Department who do such a great job every year setting up the tree, decorating the Frisco Caboose and Rolla City Hall.

The lobby of Rolla City Hall is also beautifully decorated with a large tree, hanging bells and lights that create a holiday atmosphere. Be sure to stop by City Hall in the days and weeks to come to see the tree in the lobby and a unique tree on the 3rd Floor (Administration) that is uniquely decorated in red, white and blue ornaments as a tribute and in recognition of the members of the U.S. military and U.S. veterans. When you see the Christmas tree you can’t help but think of our military members in uniform who are stationed in some far off land serving our country so we can all enjoy the peace and freedom of the holidays. I think all of these displays, which were carefully created by Rolla City employees in the Public Works and Administration Departments, add a special holiday feeling to the downtown area.

I would also like to thank and recognize the individuals from the City’s Public Works Dept., Rolla Municipal Utilities and Fidelity Communications who have and continue to put up and display the large and festive Christmas Stars on the light poles around town.

As we approach the last month of 2010, I’d like to bring special attention to three individuals who are being recognized by the Rolla City Council for their many years of service to the City of Rolla. Councilman Don Barklage, who served on the Rolla City Council from April 1996 to November 2010, was recognized and thanked for his 14 years of dedicated service at the Nov. 15 City Council meeting.

Long-time Rolla Municipal Judge Bill Hickle, who served as municipal judge from May 1996 to Dec. 2010, will be retiring at the end of this year, and will be recognized for his 14 years of service at the Dec. 20 City Council meeting. Judge Hickle will continue serving the residents of Rolla and Phelps County as a newly elected Associate Circuit Judge for Phelps County.

Long-time City Counselor John Beger (of Beger and Bushie, LLC), who served as City Counselor for the Rolla City Council from January 1995 to December 2010, will also be recognized for his 15 years of service at the Dec. 20 City Council meeting. Mr. Beger will continue serving the residents of Rolla and Phelps County as the newly elected Phelps County Prosecutor.

On behalf of the Rolla City Council and City staff, I would like to personally thank Councilman Don Barklage, Judge Bill Hickle and City Counselor John Beger for their many years of dedicated service to the City of Rolla, and the Rolla community.

In closing I’d like to remind everyone that filing for the City of Rolla’s 2011 General Municipal Election, which will be held April 5, 2011, begins on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 at 8 a.m. The positions open for election this year include: one Council Representative for all six wards (two-year term) and Municipal Judge (to fulfill a one-year unexpired term). Persons wishing to file their candidacy for any of the above-listed positions may do so between 8 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 and 5 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 in the Rolla City Clerk’s Office at at City Hall (901 North Elm Street). Municipal candidates are not charged a filing fee.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Police Chief Chat

            This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 551 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 23 arrests, 15 accidents, 26 traffic complaints, 47 traffic stops, 17 disturbance calls (including domestics), 13 suspicious nature calls, 29 assists of other agencies, 58 911 hang up calls, 8 check the well being requests, 37 animal control calls, 12 stealing calls, 4 telephone harassments, 5 trespassing calls, and 36 security checks. This call total is up 79 calls from last week. Yet another busy week!


            On Tuesday November 23rd, 2010 at 12:30 a.m, the Rolla Police Department received a report of a robbery that occurred at the Phillips 66 store located at 1906 N. Hwy 63.  The suspect who was wearing a black mask, a red hooded sweatshirt, dark colored jeans, dark colored gloves and white footwear entered the store at approximately 12:15 a.m. and instructed the attendant to open the cash register drawers. The suspect then removed an undisclosed amount of money from the cash registers. The suspect then had the attendant go into the cooler, then instructed her to wait before coming out. The suspect then fled the area on foot. Fortunately, the attendant was unharmed. The suspect was described as being a male approximately 6’02” to 6-04” and weighing 150 to170 lbs. The investigation into the robbery is on-going. If you have any information regarding to the identity of this suspect or have any information pertaining to this case, please contact the Rolla Police Department at (573) 308-1213 or the Rolla Police Department Confidential Hotline at (573) 364-0111.

            In a concentrated effort to combat drug abuse, gang activity and serious crime in the Rolla community, Mayor Bill Jenks has formed a Community Action Team (CAT) comprised of representatives of several entities within the community that are already working towards improving these situations. The team includes representatives from the Rolla Police Department, the Department of Social Services, Division of Probation and Parole, the Rolla Housing Authority, Rolla Public Schools, Phelps County Regional Medical Center, Jamie Myers of Prevention Consultants, David Duncan of Pathways CBH Inc. and members of the Rolla Ministerial Alliance. The Community Action Team will meet periodically to develop strategies,  review options and to develop resources to combat the criminal element responsible for this activity.

            Over the past few years our community has seen an increase in the migration of what we call 1 % ers from other communities moving into our subsidized housing areas and bringing with them, the type of criminal activity such as drug abuse, gang activity and other violent crimes that we seek to counter. The established enforcement arm will be what we will call the Street Crimes Unit consisting of Spo. Luke Kearse and Spo. Josh Campbell. These officers were selected based on their previous experience in the Narcotics Unit, Patrol Division, K-9 handling and drug interdiction. Officers Kearse and Campbell will attend Street Crime Training next week in Chicago Illinois before assuming their duties later this month.

            The Street Crime Unit will concentrate their enforcement efforts on areas of the community identified as target areas by the CAT team. Duties will include criminal investigation, area patrol and surveillance, intelligence gathering and dispersal and strict law enforcement. In addition to law enforcement related training, the Street Crime Unit will also receive ongoing training concerning urban housing issues, battered women facilities and Section 8 housing requirements and allowances.

            This Saturday, December 4, 2010, the Downtown Business Association and Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce will present the annual Christmas Parade scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. The parade route will be manned by our officers from the patrol division and also members of Volunteers in Police Services and our reserve unit. Officers will be on site to ensure safety of both the spectators and parade participants. We ask that parents be sure to keep children back away from the passing parade units to avoid a mishap. We also ask parade participants to keep to the center of the parade route and to be sure any items tossed from the parade route do not land in the roadway. We ask motorists to use caution when approaching or leaving the parade route and to be sure to watch for pedestrian traffic near the area. The parade route will start at 6th and Rolla Streets, travel east on 6th to Pine, then north on Pine to 12th St. The parade participants will then begin dispersing along Rolla Street.

            In closing, This past week I was invited to visit with the Rolla Noon Rotary Club at their weekly meeting at Zeno’s. I prepared a brief presentation on the history of the Rolla Police Department, an overview of changes made since becoming your Chief, and a preview of the direction I would like to see the Rolla Police Department
follow in the near future. The Rotary Club was very receptive and a gracious host. They are a fine group of men and women who have provided many opportunities to the Rolla Community.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Police Chief Chat

This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 472 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 27 arrests, 18 accidents, 23 traffic complaints, 78 traffic stops, 24 disturbance calls (including domestics), 22 follow up investigations, 6 suspicious nature calls, 16 assists of other agencies, 33 911 hang up calls, 11 check the well being requests, 13 stealing calls, 7 telephone harassments and 5 trespassing calls. This call total is down from 108 calls from last week, yet still a busy week!

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, this week was a time to give thanks for the many blessings we have received throughout the year and was also a time to reflect on just how fortunate as Americans, Missourians and citizens of Rolla, we really are. Those of us in this community are extremely fortunate for many reasons such as clean healthy air, a strong economy, an affordable way of life and good quality schools, hospitals, and churches. Community oriented civic groups are plentiful and support our community in many different ways. We are spared long lines in grocery stores and fuel stops, continuous traffic congestion, air pollution and the unhealthy hustle and bustle of big city life. I still like to think that we live in a friendly close knit community where citizens care for one another and work together to make the community a great place to raise our families.

From a law enforcement perspective, I feel we are very fortunate in that Rolla is home to several great Federal, State, County and City based law enforcement entities with a combined list of services, programs and resources second to none. We begin with our local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The local FBI office here in Rolla is a satellite office from the St. Louis branch and consists of 2 resident Special Agents Pat Cunningham and Mike Maruschak, who are assigned to investigate all federal level complaints. These agents are also quick to assist State, County and local authorities on major crimes such as bank robberies, kidnappings and many white collar crimes. An interesting note is that Pat Cunningham’s father, Dave Cunningham served as the sole Special Agent here in Rolla for several years before retirement.

Next in line would be the Law Enforcement branch of the U.S. Forest Service based here in Rolla. Officers from this agency patrol federal forest land and investigate complaints based on violations occurring in the Mark Twain National Forest. These agents also assist State, County and City agencies in marijuana eradication and other illegal drug activites.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has 8 Troops positioned throughout the state and Rolla is home to Troop I. This local troop is staffed by men and women of the MSHP who patrol our highways and secondary roads ensuring motorist safety. Troop I is commanded by Capt. Leann Kenley, who began her career with the Rolla Police Department. Cpt. Kenley has a background in illegal narcotics investigation. In addition to road patrol, Troop I’s Criminal Investigation unit investigates major crimes in the entire troop area. They are also quick to assist County and City agencies with local investigations.

The Phelps County Sheriff’s Department also calls Rolla home as Rolla is the County seat. Sheriff Rick Lisenbe and his crew patrol all county roads and conduct investigations in all areas of the county not covered by a municipal law enforcement agencies, although they are quick to assist any municipal agency with major investigations. In addition, the Sheriff’s Department is responsible for civil process service, jail administration, courtroom security and many other tasks.

Missouri S&T Police with Chief Christine Laughlin at the helm patrols campus properties and conducts investigations stemming from university related complaints. In addition MS&T officers provide security at sporting events, assist with student registration and parking issues and are also quick to assist county and local law enforcement in special assignments at investigative requests. In addition, MS&T officers are commissioned police officers with the City of Rolla and have authority to enforce any and all municipal ordinances.

Rolla, St. James, Newburg and Doolittle and Edgar Springs Police Departments are tasked as the primary law enforcement agency within their municipal jurisdictions. These duties include, traffic enforcement, criminal investigations, community policing and service, as well as many other tasks. St. James Police Chief Jim Anderson and his team keep crime in check in St. James. Newburg Police Chief Kim Elrod and Doolittle Police Chief Scott Jones work to keep their joining communities safe through the creative use of a small full time force enhanced with an active reserve unit. Edgar Springs Police Chief Kody Lucas uses a similar operations plan within their city.

Then finally, last but certainly not least is the Phelps County Regional Medical Center’s Department of Public Safety. Director Rick Hanrahan and his crew are tasked with hospital security, employee safety, criminal investigations and on-site patrol. Currently most Public Safety Officers are commissioned police officers with local area jurisdictions.

All in all, you can see that the Rolla community has a lot to be thankful for. Speaking for the Rolla Police Department we are very fortunate to have the added safety of these fine professional law enforcement agencies right here in our community. Their willingness and commitment to assist, the added benefit of the additional resources, combined with the comradery and respect of each agency just makes our job that much easier. Coupled with the support of a progressive and pro-active city council and you the people of the community, we will work together to keep the Rolla community the great place it is to live work and worship.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Chief Mark Kearse
Rolla Police Department
1007 N. Elm St,
Rolla, Mo. 65401

Monday, November 22, 2010

Construction activity continues in Rolla

The Rolla City Council at last Monday’s Council meeting (Nov. 15) gave the green light for a site plan for the development and construction of a second Dollar General store that will be located on the west side of North Hwy. 63. In addition to this new store, the construction of a new two-story, 4,448-square-foot Sushi restaurant is underway on Hwy. 63 North across from Denny’s Restaurant.

These establishments will be located in areas that are located in visible and highly traveled gateways to the City. In addition considerable improvements were made to prepare the site where the Sushi restaurant will be located – giving a more attractive and pleasing appearance to that area of town. These two recent additions to the community are, of course, very welcomed news and an indication that Rolla continues to attract businesses, restaurants, and investors to our area. It is also an indication that word is spreading about the appeal and marketability of our community, which is gaining stature with the new Missouri S&T Innovation Park, expanding health and medical facilities, the Rolla Arts and Entertainment District, and an impressive array of dining and entertainment establishments.

The City continues to strive to enhance the quality of life and quality of living in our community, and another way the City Council and City staff are able to address the needs of our citizens, and make improvements, is by conducting a citizen satisfaction opinion survey about every two years.

ETC Institute, one of the nation’s leading community-based market research firms based in Olathe, Kansas, began conducting a citizen opinion telephone survey last week to assess citizen satisfaction with the delivery of major city services and to help determine priorities for the community as part of the City's ongoing planning process. About 1,200 residents will be contacted, which will provide a statistically valid random-sample survey of 400 responses.

The telephone survey takes about 10 minutes and consists of a series of questions that help to objectively measure the overall attitudes of residents in 14 major categories. In addition, the survey allows for customized local questions. The City of Rolla has chosen questions related to public safety and parks and recreation.
This survey is a great way for City Administration and Council to measure how well the city is delivering a variety of services to our residents, and the City has used it effectively for the past several years to help assess our performance and enhance the level of services we provide to the community. If you happen to be contacted regarding the survey please realize your input and suggestions are important, and that the city encourages your participation. For more information regarding the survey, please contact John Butz, Rolla City Administrator, at 426-6940.

In closing, please remember that Rolla City Hall will be closed for the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 26. The Environmental Services Department also will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 25 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Thursday’s trash will be picked up on Wednesday. There will be no special pick-ups on Wednesday, Nov. 24. If you have any questions, please call the Environmental Services Department at 364-6693. The Centre, Rolla’s Health and Recreation complex, (located at 1200 North Holloway Street), will also be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, and will be open the following day on Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

I hope you have a safe and memorable Thanksgiving holiday. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

City departments offer services for leaf pick-up

Along with the natural beauty that comes with the fall foliage in the Ozark Highlands there also comes the downpour of leaves, and the question of how to dispose them in the most convenient and efficient manner.
The City of Rolla’s Environmental Services Department will continue to offer the pick-up of bagged leaves through Friday, Dec. 17, 2010. To receive this service, the leaves must be placed in brown paper biodegradable yard waste bags, which can be purchased at a reasonable price at many stores in the area. We also ask that you place your bags to the curb by 6 a.m. so our equipment operators can pick them up on your normal collection day.

Please be aware that this service will be suspended from Dec. 20, 2010 through Feb. 25, 2011. Collection of yard waste (leaves, grass, clippings and small sticks) in brown paper bags will resume on Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Residents wishing to dispose of these materials during the winter suspension can use the compost site located at the end of McCutchen Drive just north of the Rolla Recycling Center on Old St. James Road. Residents may also arrange for a special pick up for a fee. For more information, please call the Environmental Services Department at (573) 364-6693.

For a nominal fee, Rolla residents can also get their leaves picked up by the City’s Parks & Recreation Department through Dec. 10, 2010. We do ask that you please rake all leaves to the curb along city streets, and that you do not place any leaves in the streets, gutters or ditches. And please remember that private driveways or private areas will not be entered by city vehicles. Leaves will be picked up by a large vacuum and deposited into a large dump body and trailer and then taken to the compost site (located at the end of McCuthcen Drive) to be recycled.

Leaf pickup will take place Monday through Friday (leaves will not be picked up after 12  p.m. Friday or during weekends and holidays). New users of this service must pay a $150 refundable deposit or leave a credit card number. The fee is $50 per half hour with the minimum charge of $50 and all fees must be paid within two weeks of the service being completed. Credit card payments (Visa, Master Card & Discover) are preferred. Homeowners will also be required to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement. If you wish to use this service, or to get more information, please contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 364-4278.
With the holiday season fast approaching – Thanksgiving is just 12 days away -  I’m sure many of our residents are beginning to make plans for traditional family get-togethers, outings, celebrations and what I consider one of the most special times of the year. Rolla has been fortunate throughout the past couple of years to see both new dining and retail establishments spring up throughout the community. I would like to encourage everyone to please try to patronize our local restaurants, shops and businesses that, like other retailers throughout the state, rely heavily on the holiday season for a large portion of their business. As Rolla continues to grow and develop the number and variety of dining options and retail choices has improved as well. Our economy depends largely on these sectors of society, and we will all benefit from keeping our dollars locally invested.

While we are on the topic of the economy and all the new growth and development that has taken place in the Rolla area with the new Bryant Drive Extension, Missouri S&T Innovation Park, Kingshighway, Bishop Avenue, and Rolla’s new Arts and Entertainment District, I’d like to mention that Rolla City Administrator John Butz will be giving an overview of the state of our economy at the upcoming monthly Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 11:45 a.m. at Matt’s Steakhouse. If you would like to attend the luncheon, please RSVP to the Rolla Chamber at 364-3577. John will also be making a similar presentation at the Rolla Rotary Club luncheon on Friday, Dec. 17 at 11:30 a.m.

In closing, please remember that Rolla City Hall will be closed for the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 26. The Environmental Services Department also will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 25 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Thursday’s trash will be picked up on Wednesday. There will be no special pick-ups on Wednesday, Nov. 24. If you have any questions, please call 364-6693. The Centre, Rolla’s Health and Recreation complex, (located at 1200 North Holloway Street), will also be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, and will be open the following day on Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Police Chief Chat

This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 715 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 31 arrests, 22 accidents, 31 traffic complaints, 101 traffic stops, 1 fight, 28 disturbance calls (including domestics), 11 field interviews, 36 follow up investigations, 11 suspicious nature calls, 19 assists of other agencies, 8 fingerprint requests, 63 9-1-1 hang up calls, 18 destructions of property, 6 recovered property calls, 11 escorts, 5 telephone harassments and 9 fraud complaints. This week’s call total is up 10 calls from last week. Yet another busy week!

On Thursday, November 11, 2010 we celebrated Veteran’s Day where the nation recognized the men and women who have proudly served our country in the US Armed Services. Veteran’s from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and US Coast guard were remembered for their patriotism, honor, duty and sacrifice as they boldly stepped forward in defense of our great nation. All veterans from the newest recruit just entering boot camp, the men and women fighting present day battles and to those entombed in Arlington deserve our respect, support, reflection and unending gratitude for allowing us to continue to live our lives as free Americans! Thank you to all our veterans for what you are about to do, what you are doing and what you have done!

The Rolla Police Department receives numerous fraud complaints from citizens regarding fictitious money orders that are sent to them through the mail. The fraud takes-on various forms but essentially the victims are asked to do the same thing with the money order. The victims are instructed to take these fraudulent money orders to their bank to be cashed and then wire-transfer the money to the suspect. As time passes, the victim realizes that they have been duped. There are four stages in this type of fraud that can be targeted to reduce this crime: 1) stopping the suspects from sending fraudulent money orders, 2) citizen awareness, 3) banking awareness, and 4) wire-transfer service agent awareness. As you can imagine, we’ve had no effect on the first option. The Rolla Police Department has made several efforts to warn citizens about potential frauds but they continue to occur. The message about “If it’s too good to be true then it isn’t” is just not reaching everyone. The latest victim was an 85 year old lady who lost about a thousand dollars.

We plan to coordinate our efforts with the banking community by verifying that the bank tellers are:

1) Trained to ask questions about the origins of a money order? Does your bank have a policy which prohibits/restricts tellers from asking the client about the transaction?
2) Do your tellers/employees have a way to verify a money order before the funds are made available to the client?
3) Are tellers allowed to contact law enforcement if they suspect a fraudulent money order?
4) Would you allow law enforcement to make a presentation to your employees on how to spot these types of frauds?

We are not looking for any banking secrets so please do not divulge anything too detailed. The information that you share will not be released to anyone and only be used by law enforcement as and additional tool to end these fraud violations. To the citizens of our community, once again: If it appears to be too good to be true, then that is probably the case. If you receive this type of request, contact the Rolla Police Department at 308-1213!

Our Rolla Police Department Facebook page is doing very well and now boasts 3900 friends and fans. We have recently added a “Media Log” tab that offers our daily media release blotter as submitted to the Rolla Daily News. This tab will provide you with day to day arrest, complaint and call information as it is entered by our patrol officers and Central Dispatch. In the very near future we will also add a “Rolla’s Most Wanted” tab that will include photos and descriptions of criminals we are looking to apprehend in our area. We realize that utilizing not only our 3900 strong fan base, but also getting information to the rest of the community just adds that many eyes and ears to our search efforts. Do not hesitate to contact us with any type of criminal information you may have witnessed or heard of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 308-1213. If you want to call but need to remain anonymous feel free to contact our Rolla Police Department Confidential Crime Tip Hotline number at 364-0111. Remember, keeping our community safe is not only up to us, it is also up to you! We will continue to provide as much information to you that can be released through our many media release portals in an effort to keep you informed.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our newest member to the Rolla Police Department family by introducing Animal Control Associate Katie Strawbridge!
Katie comes to us with a background in professional pet care and teaching. Katie has accepted a position with our Animal Control Division and will serve as an Animal Control Associate. Her duties will include animal and kennel care and maintenance, animal adoption services, record maintenance and building supply. Katie is married to her husband James and they and their 2 children live in Rolla. On another note, Katie’s father Steven Volz serves as a volunteer with our VIPS program. Welcome to the RPD family Katie!

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rolla's Sesquicentennial Committee plans for June 4, 2011 Celebration

The kick-off meeting held Thursday at Rolla City Hall for Rolla’s Sesquicentennial Planning Committee helped chart the course for both a historic and festive day-long celebration of Rolla’s 150th birthday.

The City of Rolla was originally chartered (incorporated) on Jan. 25, 1861, but members of the Sesquicentennial Planning Committee want to capitalize on both the large crowds and summer weather that are part of the annual Route 66 Summerfest festivities held the first weekend in June. Committee members unanimously agreed to hold the City’s Sesquicentennial Celebration on Saturday, June 4, 2011 in conjunction with Route 66 Summerfest festivities that will take place primarily in the City’s Downtown Festival Park where the downtown bandshell will be the hub of activity for this day-long celebration.

Following the initial meeting of the Sesquicentennial Planning Committee, plans are already underway and moving forward to kick-off the June 4, 2011 celebration with a Sesquicentennial parade that morning in downtown Rolla that will represent every decade from 1861 to 2011. Larry Stratman, who was the driving force behind the very successful Phelps County Sesquicentennial Celebration, has generously agreed to head up the organization and logistical aspects of the parade, and would like anyone interested in being part of the parade (floats, bands, vintage cars, vintage tractors, soldiers, cavalry, cowboys, covered wagons, etc.) to contact him at his office at the Phelps County Courthouse at 458-6121 or at

Also included among the plans for Rolla’s Sesquicentennial Celebration will be “A Walk Through History,” which will be displayed both in the downtown festival park and in City Hall; a “Written History” of Rolla; historical reenactments and interpretations at the Old Phelps County Courthouse. Plans are also underway with the committee to create and unveil a new City of Rolla flag, and to launch a community-wide contest for the creation of a Rolla Sesquicentennial logo that will be imprinted on banners that will be displayed in the downtown area to promote the celebration and on the Sesquicentennial Commemorative T-shirts. The deadline for logo entries is Dec. 2, and entries should be directed to the attention of Scott Grahl, the City’s Communications Coordinator, who can be reached at 426-6943 or or at Rolla City Hall (3rd floor), 901 N. Elm Street. The committee hopes to unveil the new Sesquicentennial banners in late January 2011 to commemorate Rolla’s 150th birthday on Jan. 25, 2011 and to kick off the festivities planned for the City’s Sesquicentennial Celebration on June 4, 2011.

A Sesquicentennial Ceremony that will take place after the parade on June 4, 2011 is in the planning stages as well, and will include many of the local and state leaders, and pioneers who have helped play a role in shaping the history and landscape of Rolla over the years.

I would like to personally thank the following individuals who have agreed to volunteer their time and talent to serve on the Sesquicentennial Planning Committee, and who will be meeting on a regular basis to plan, promote and organize Rolla’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. The members of the committee include: Larry Stratman, Phelps County Commissioner, and former Chairman of the Phelps County Sesquicentennial Planning Committee; Dr. Wayne Bledsoe, former Chairman of the Missouri S&T History Department and General Manager of KMST radio station (located on the Missouri S&T campus); Jaime Rinehart, Rolla Junior High School History teacher; Mark Stauter, member of the Phelps County Historical Society; Carolyn Tilford, President of the Phelps County Historical Society; Dan Henke, Phelps County Historical Society member and historical re-enactor; Dianne Henke, Curator of the Phelps County Historical Museum; Judy Jepsen, former Rolla City Council member and past president of the Ozark Actors Theater Board of Directors; John Petersen, the City’s Director of Community Development and Living History organizer; Aimee Campbell, Tourism Director, Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce. Ex-officio members of the committee include John Butz, Rolla City Administrator; Steve Hargis, the City’s Director of Public Works and Scott Grahl, Communications Coordinator.

In closing I’d like to remind everyone that Veterans Day is just around the corner on Thursday, Nov. 11. Rolla City Hall will be closed in observance of Veterans Day, but there will be several Veterans Day ceremonies celebrated throughout the community on Nov. 11 at various Rolla Public Schools (RMS, RJHS, and RHS) and at Veterans Memorial Park (located on Southview Drive) at 11 a.m. The ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park will be open to the public and everyone is invited to attend.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bryant Drive Extension to trasnform intersection

Anyone traveling along Kingshighway near the construction of the new McDonalds restaurant and Bryant Drive Extension can quickly see by the number of orange cones, slowed traffic and abundance of bulldozers that the new Bryant Drive extension will transform this new intersection.

The size and scope of the Bryant Drive Extension project is probably one of the most significant construction and development projects the City of Rolla has seen in recent years in terms of how much it will change the look, feel and image of this area on Kingshighway. The Ridgeview Road Extension at State Route 63 and Hwy. 72, where the new Walgreen store is located, has transformed that area of the city as well, but did not involve the relocation of a traffic light or quite the magnitude of construction activity we are seeing at the Bryant Drive Extension. While the City realizes the construction activity is impacting traffic flow and causing time delays along Kingshighway, we ask the public to please be patient, drive with caution, and realize the work at this intersection will greatly benefit this area of town. In the coming weeks and months, we will not only have a new intersection at Bryant Drive and Kingshighway with a new traffic signal installed by the Missouri Department of Transportation, but an alternative route to access Fairgrounds Road and eventually 10th Street.

The new Bryant Drive Extension, which will serve as one of the gateway entrances to the Missouri S&T Innovation Park, runs north and then northwest as it bends to the west and terminates on Fairgrounds Road near the Mark Twain National Park Headquarters. The current traffic light at Kingshighway and Fairgrounds Road will be removed by MoDOT this fall as part of the entire redevelopment of the new Bryant Drive Extension intersection. Future plans for Kingshighway involve the addition of two lanes of traffic (creating five lanes) from Fairgrounds Road, across the I-44 overpass and the other side of the overpass.

Also included in the agreement with MoDOT, but slated for 2012, will be improving the Kingshighway Interchange with Interstate 44. These improvements will consist of the installation of two roundabouts, which will greatly improve the capacity and safety of these heavily traveled intersections. The current traffic signals at the Martin Springs Drive intersection will be removed and replaced with a roundabout, and the second roundabout will be located on the north side of the Kingshighway/I-44 overpass. Plans also include the eventual stripping by MoDOT of the I-44 overpass at Kingshighway so there will be two east-bound lanes and two west-bound lanes. The estimated cost of these improvements is $1,760,051. The improvements are part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan, which will be funded by MoDOT.

In addition to these improvements, the City of Rolla will be responsible (as MoDOT relinquishes ownership to the City for Kingshighway) for widening Kingshighway from three to five lanes from the Martin Springs Drive/Kingshighway interchange (adjacent to HJ Drive) to the new intersection of Bryant Drive. This will be done during the same time frame in 2012 as the interchange improvements and is estimated to cost $250,000.
In closing I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to attend one of the three public forums that were hosted on Oct. 13, 20 and 26 by the City, Parks and Recreation Department and The Centre to allow input and suggestions regarding the future of our Parks and The Centre. The feedback and comments we are receiving are greatly appreciated. If you did not have the opportunity to attend any of the forums, you are encouraged to provide input by either filling out one of the comment cards available at The Centre or on the City’s Website ( Additional documents relating to the open house information, parks sales tax history and general fund financial data is also available on the City’s Website.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Police Chief Chat

This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 662 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 35 arrests, 21 accidents, 32 traffic complaints, 65 traffic stops, 53 follow up investigations, 16 suspicious nature calls, 27 disturbance calls, 14 assists of other agencies, 6 fingerprint requests, 48 911 hang up calls, 13 destructions of property, 5 recovered property calls, 6 escorts, 21 stealing reports and 13 check the well being calls. This call total is down 52 calls from last week. It was a welcome break yet still a busy week!

Last Saturday night we held our 4th Annual Rolla Police Department Golden Shield Award Ceremony where officers, telecommunicators and civilian personnel are recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty in their divisions. The event was held at the Rolla Lion’s Den where employees and their spouses were treated to a wonderful dinner prepared by the Rolla Lions. Immediately following the dinner we enjoyed a video program created by our award’s committee and spearheaded by our own Spo. Frank “Cecil B. Demille” Hawkins! The program included a “Guess Who” segment which featured baby photos of some of our personnel secretly submitted by their families. We were then entertained by the idea of what it would have been like if “Elvis” had been a Rolla Police Officer. This segment showed a fully jump suited Elvis, complete with black hair, chrome sunglasses and sideburns, responding to calls, directing traffic and singing his way through investigations. It was very entertaining.

Finally, we reached our award segment where the following awards were issued to the following recipients: 
  • Best All Around Officer—Officer Chris Reeder
  • Best All Around Dispatcher—Tel. Suzie Vogeler
  • Best All Around Supervisor—Tel. Sup. Stacey Smith
  • Employee Who Always Greets You With A Smile—Sgt. Ken Nakanishi
  • Best All Around Civilian Employee—Admin. Secretary Kerri Shults
  • Employee who has A Positive Impact on the Youth in our Community—Sergeant Wayne Rapier
  • Officer with the Best Abilities to Stay Calm Under Stress—Sgt. John Frey
  • Telecommunicator with the Best Ability to stay Calm Under Stress—Suzie Vogeler
  • Officer Who Demonstrates the Best Officer Safety Skills—Cpl. Adam Meyer
  • Officer with Most Traffic Contacts—Officer Steven Gray
  • Officer with Most Arrest—Officer Leann Robertson
  • Officer with Most Driving While Intoxicated Arrest—Sgt. Kenny Moberly
  • Officer with Most Drug Arrest—Cpl. Adam Meyer
  • Telecommunicator who dispatched the most calls—Tel. Amanda Jones
  • Animal Control Officer who went on the most Animal Calls—Animal Control Manager John Redshaw
We closed out our award segment by issuing the following awards: Certificate of Appreciation: (All VIPS volunteers) Dave Reynolds, Keith Lecroix, Steve Volz, Tony Giacolone, Don Reed, Larry Seest, Keith Peterson, Janessa Martin, Ward Merrell, Joyce Heidecki, Katherine Mattison, Don Rowland, Connie Giacolone, Jeanne Jenks

Letter of Recognition: Sgt. Ken Moberly, Cpl. Derrick Dillon (2), SPO Chrissy Smith, SPO Jason Copeland (3), SPO Frank Hawkins, SPO Jaime Solis, PTO Chris Reeder, PTO Jessie Hoyt, PTO Vince Giacolone, PTO Steve Gray, Reserve Officer J Fleck, Communications Chief Paula Volkmer, Tel. Stacey Smith, Tel. Tony Craft, Tel. Jamie Jones, Tel. Alicia Hill, Tel. Amanda Jones, Tel. Tom Grisham (2), VIPS Dave Reynolds, VIPS Larry Seest

Honorable Service Award: Sgt. Ken Nakanishi, Cpl. Derrick Dillon, Cpl. Adam Meyer, Det. Hank Harper, SPO Jason Copeland, PTO Steve Gray, Tel. Tabitha Stanley

Grand Cordon Award: SSgt. Rick Williams, Sgt. Ken Nakanishi (3), Sgt. John Frey (2), Cpl. Derrick Dillon, Det. Robert Jones (3), Det. Hank Harper (2), Cpl. Adam Meyer (2), SPO Tommy Davis, SPO Josh Campbell, SPO Frank Hawkins (2), SPO Jaime Solis, SPO Leann Robertson, PTO Steve Gray

Exceptional Duty Award: PTO Chris Reeder, Tel. Clint Capps, Tel. Tony Craft, Tel. Susie Vogeler

Meritorious Service Award: Sgt. Jeremy Martens, Cpl. Derrick Dillon, Cpl. Tim Mayfield, SPO Tony Lauth, SPO Ben Tinsley (2), SPO Tommy Davis, SPO Frank Hawkins, SPO Jaime Solis, Tel. Matt Goss, Tel. Susie Vogeler, Tel. Tom Grisham.

Judge Joanne Mayberry Award: Spo. Josh Campbell

Mayor’s Award: VIPS Director Vince Giacolone

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our supporters, without whom this event would not be possible. They are: Behind the Badge Organization, Rolla Lion’s Club,
Merle’s Music, Honorable Judge Joanne Mayberry, Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks, Joyce Williams, Lynne Reed, Charlene Mumma, Delinda Girardi, Stevie Kearse, Aimee Campbell, Carolyn Peplow, the 2010 Award’s Committee and special thanks to Spo. Frank Hawkins! Great job to all!

Last week the Rolla Police Department held the annual Physical Fitness Testing for all commissioned police officers. This test is mandatory for the officers but also open to any RPD employees who wish to participate. The test includes sit-ups, push-ups, sit and reach and a 1 ½ mile run. The passing score for the test is 70% overall for all events. Lt. Doug James and Detective Hank Harper are the department’s certified fitness instructors. They received their training through the Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas. Recently the police department began to include the physical fitness test in our hiring process. We feel that the test will enhance our abilities to hire the best candidates for our police officer positions. This decision was based on the inherent physical dangers that sometimes accompany this position.

In closing, I wanted to pass on a brief story told to me by Mayor Jenks who had received a call from the father of a teenage driver who had been stopped by one of our officers for speeding and not wearing a seatbelt. The officer issued the driver a summons for the seatbelt violation, and released him with a warning on the speeding. The father told Mayor Jenks that his son was then involved in a single car crash where his vehicle rolled several times and was totally destroyed. The son had been wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash and escaped death and serious injury. The father credits the Rolla Police officer for saving his son's life by issuing him a ticket for the previous seatbelt violation. Please remember "Click it or Ticket!"

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse