Thursday, March 22, 2012

Police Chief Chat

This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 677 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 24 arrests, 7 alarm calls, 21 traffic accidents, 17 traffic complaints, 54 check the well being requests, 118 traffic stops, 22 disturbance calls (including domestics), 15 suspicious nature complaints, 19 assists of other agency requests, 15 field interviews, 7 escorts, 6 leave without paying complaints, 64 security checks, 1 loitering complaint and 39 animal control complaints. This call total is up 23 calls from last week and yes, another busy week!

The Rolla Police Department would like to invite you to attend a Town Hall meeting on the Dangers of Heroin to be held Tuesday, April 24, 2012 from 7:00pm until 10:00pm. at the Rolla Technical Center Board Room, located at 500 Forum Drive Rolla, MO. The meeting will be hosted by Phelps County Child Advocacy Network. The purpose of this meeting is to raise awareness and educate the community about the growing problem of Heroin use in our community. Law enforcement, treatment for addicts, and personal testimony from a parent whose child died from Heroin use will be featured. Be proactive and attend this meeting. Heroin use has become an epidemic in Missouri. Phelps County and the Rolla community are at risk.

Heroin has hit our country hard and Rolla is having the same problems, I have seen many people’s lives devastated by this drug. It’s amazing how much heroin is in our community as we deal with it almost daily. I'm one of the speakers at this event along with our street crimes unit; attend if you can as this effect us all!

In addition, Our Community is having a serious problem with synthetic drugs, we have had several kids overdose on the synthetic drugs commonly known as “bath salts” and “spice”. The “bath salts” are a powder form and are stimulants with similar effect of cocaine. The “spices”, also known as “K2” and “K3” have a similar effect of marijuana.

In Missouri, and nationwide, laws have been passed to deal with these substances, however, not all of them are illegal. When the laws went into effect, only certain substances were placed into the controlled substance list. The manufacturers of these drugs had their chemists alter the chemical compounds to keep substances legal, and one step ahead of the law. There are several of these substances on the market now that are technically legal. These items are commonly purchased in gas stations, smoke shops, liquor stores, novelty stores, and the internet. The synthetic drugs are marketed by the distributors as plant vitamins, bath salts, incense or anything other than a drug. They are not allowed to call it a drug and must say it is not for human consumption.

These synthetic drugs are especially inviting to younger people who see them as a safe and legal alternative to illegal drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. These drugs have been linked to several health problems, psychosis, and even death. The “bath salts” are snorted, smoked, eaten or injected. They increase the heart rate and body temperature. There have been several reports of overdoses on “bath salts” which have resulted in the brain damage and death due to the elevated body temperatures. There have also been suicides reported due to the hallucinations and psychotic behavior that affects some people.

These drugs are perhaps the most dangerous types currently in use do to the lack of regulation and laws. They have been in existence for a short time, so the long term damages caused are still to be determined. It also appears that each container of these drugs is different, so there is no consistency to the dosage. The packaging for these drugs and the way they are sold in stores makes it obvious they are used to get high, and not for plants or incense. Parents need to be aware of these drugs and the dangers they pose to their children. They are not going to show up on a drug test, and that is another appealing part of these drugs. Parents and teachers should research these drugs and become familiar with them. There are many sites on the internet where they can be viewed. The people using the drugs often talk about them in forums and comment sections regarding how they felt when using them. It is shocking that any store would sell these items, knowing what they are used for and the dangers they pose.

On a lighter note, the community celebrated the coming of St. Pat’s last weekend and the mild temperatures and cabin fever brought crowds out in record numbers both in attendance at the parade and concert and also to many local businesses in the downtown areas. Our Communications and Patrol Divisions were extremely busy most of the weekend with the increased activity. My staff and I came out and supplemented the taxed patrol officers on various shifts throughout the week. I would like to thank parade participants for upholding the new city ordinance prohibiting the throwing of candies and other objects from moving vehicles within the parade. This consideration seemed to keep crowds back a safe and manageable distance from the parade.

In closing, I would like to welcome home Senior Patrol Officer Tommy Davis who safely returned from his tour of duty in Afghanistan with the U S Air Force Reserve. Tommy served as a heavy equipment operator since his deployment in August of 2011. He will be returning to police duties on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. Tommy has served with the Rolla Police Department since November of 2005. When you see him be sure to welcome him back to the Rolla community. Welcome home Tommy!

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

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