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