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

Monday, October 25, 2010

Community input sought on Parks and The Centre

Community input and feedback continues to be sought through a series of public forums intended to allow citizens an opportunity to give input on recreation programming; input on future City of Rolla park needs; capital improvement projects (long-term and short-term) and ways to fund these projects.

The third and final public forum hosted by the City of Rolla, Parks and Recreation Department and The Centre will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Catholic Newman Center located at 1607 North Rolla Street (across from the Missouri S&T Electrical Engineering Building).
  If you are unable to attend the forum on Oct. 26 but would like to provide input and feedback, please feel free to pick up a comment card either at The Centre or Parks and Recreation Department, located at 1200 N. Holloway Street, or by downloading the card on the City’s Website at Additional information regarding the public forums, and park sales tax history can also be viewed on the City’s Website at the above link. For additional information regarding the forums, please contact the Rolla Parks and Recreation Department at 341-2386.

The City is also moving forward with the formation of Rolla’s Sesquicentennial Celebration Planning Committee, which will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. at Rolla City Hall, 3rd Floor Conference Room. The purpose of the planning committee, which was recently approved by the Rolla City Council, is to discuss and plan the various activities and events that will be held in conjunction with the City’s Sesquicentennial Celebration on Saturday, June 4, 2011. The City’s 150th birthday (date of incorporation as a municipality) is officially Jan. 25, 2011, but City staff thought it would be more advantageous to celebrate the City’s sesquicentennial during the weekend of Rolla’s Route 66 Summerfest held the first weekend of June in downtown Rolla.

History continues to play a vital role in Rolla’s heritage as is reflected in the Historic Walking Tour of Rolla (37 historic signs in the downtown area), the restored Frisco Caboose located across from City Hall on 9th Street, the massive 1501 Frisco Engine located in Schuman Park, the old Phelps County Courthouse (one of only two courthouses in the state that are pre-Civil War era), the Dillon Log Cabin that serves as a museum run by the Phelps County Historical Society, the old Phelps County jail, old wooden Main Street bridge, Hotel Edwin Long (now Phelps County Bank), and many other artifacts and buildings maintained and preserved by the Phelps County Historical Society. I will continue to keep the community updated on the ideas and plans generated by Rolla’s Sesquicentennial Celebration Planning Committee, and I look forward to sharing more about this event with you in the future.

In closing, I encourage you to take advantage of the City’s 12-mile-long pedestrian bike path system, including the newly constructed Deible Loop Pedestrian Bike Path. The fall colors are getting more vibrant every day, and spending time outdoors among the City’s parks and trails is a great way to enjoy the Missouri Ozarks. Have a great week.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Police Chief Chat

This week, the Rolla Police Department handled 714 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 22 arrests, 35 accidents, 48 traffic complaints, 102 traffic stops, 29 follow up investigations, 12 suspicious nature calls, 11 loud noise complaints, 28 assists of other agencies, 6 fingerprint requests, 49 - 911 hang up calls, 3 trespassing complaints, 6 escorts, 5 narcotics complaints, 14 stealing complaints and 9 public relations contacts. This call total is down 56 calls from last week. Yet, another busy week!

Well, the Fall season has arrived! Each October the Rolla Police Department begins preparation for October 31st with our “Project Halloween”. This operation is very simple and designed to keep our children safe during this period of activity. The operation includes beefed up patrols by both our Patrol Division and our Volunteers in Police Services members. This year Halloween falls on Sunday evening, which is when the traditional Halloween festivities will be observed in our neighborhoods. The Downtown Business Association decided to host their annual “Have a Safe Trick or Treat Night” event on Saturday, October 30, 2010, from 4 – 7 p.m. Local business and other organizations will be handing out candy and other treats to trick or treaters on Pine Street between 6th St. and 12th St.

The idea of essentially 2 nights of Halloween prompts us to remind you that we will now have 2 nights of children and adults downtown and in our neighborhoods participating in the Halloween celebration. Please remember to use extreme caution when driving through these areas. We will have our officers out in force watching for unsafe actions, lost or missing children and traffic violations that create undo hazards for the participants. We would like to also offer a few safety tips to insure that you and your family have a safe and fun-filled Halloween:
  1. Help your child pick out a costume that is fire-proof, reflective or light colored, with large eye openings and one that does not restrict movement.
  2. If you display a candle-lit jack – o’- lantern be sure the placement is not too close to your home and away from the area trick or treaters will frequent.
  3. Encourage children to travel in groups with at least one adult, and only frequent neighborhoods with which they are familiar.
  4. Serve a hearty dinner prior to going out so the children will be less tempted to sample candy and treats that have not been checked by parents. Remember, “when in doubt throw it out!”
  5. Teaching your children basic safety techniques such as, not getting into cars or talking to strangers, looking both ways before crossing streets and obeying cross walk margins, will make their Halloween experience safer.
By policy, the Rolla Police Department requires all commissioned police officers to qualify with handguns, rifles and shotguns twice a year in an effort to ensure officers maintain proficiency in the handling and use of these weapons. Typically the qualification sessions are scheduled in the Spring and Fall of the year and are preceded by training offered by our in house certified firearms instructors. Officers certified in firearm instruction include Senior Firearm Instructor Lt. Jim Macormic, Sgt. Kenny Moberly, Sgt. Jeremy Martens, Sgt. John Frey, Spo. Luke Kearse, Spo. Jason Copeland and Spo. Josh Campbell. Training typically includes reinforcing the basic essentials needed to properly and accurately shoot a firearm. They are position, grip, breath control, sight alignment, trigger squeeze and follow through.

This week, due to scheduling conflicts of the other firearms instructors, Lt. Jim Macormic was forced to conduct firearms training and qualifications single handedly. Jim began the training by briefly touching on the basics of firearm proficiency with an hour long block of instruction. Immediately following the session, officers reported to the qualification range where they were expected to qualify with their department issued handguns, patrol rifles and shotguns. Afterward, officers were then subjected to practical shooting scenarios that included moving target acquisition, low light / night firing and weapon reloading. Lt. Macormic was assisted by Volunteers in Police Services members Vince Giacolone, David Reynolds and Larry Seest who maintained range safety.

In closing, the Rolla Police Department Golden Shield Award’s Banquet will be held this weekend where officers, civilian personnel and communications personnel are recognized for service above and beyond the day to day requirements of their daily duties. Among the awards that could be presented are the Medal of Honor, Legion of Honor, Combat Cross, Wounded in Combat, Gallantry Star, Grand Cordon, Meritorious Service, Chief’s Achievement, Life-Saving, Samaritan, Judge JoAnn Mayberry Award and the Mayor’s Award. This is an annual event accompanied by a banquet which has been sponsored by the Behind the Badge organization.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Monday, October 18, 2010

Celebration of Nations embraced by local community

Rolla has a long tradition as a community that comes together for big events, big priorities, big causes, community projects and yes, even big celebrations. The Brey Sportsplex, Ber Juan Sportsplex, The Centre, Lions Club Park, ACORN Trail, St. Pat’s Parade, Rolla Christmas Parade, Fall Arts and Crafts Festival, Route 66 Summerfest, and most recently Veterans Memorial Park, are just a few examples of this community-wide support we see throughout the Rolla area.

Over two weeks ago the community and City, together with the leadership of the Rolla Area Ministerial Alliance and Rolla Police Department, and numerous businesses and agencies, held the 3rd Annual Operation Neighborhood Clean-up. Last Saturday the 32nd Annual Fall Arts and Crafts Festival was hosted by the Rolla Downtown Business Association, downtown merchants, numerous craft and food vendors, and non-profit organizations during the Missouri S&T homecoming weekend.

With the same community spirit and sense of collaboration we so often see in the Rolla community, the first annual Celebration of Nations was held last Saturday, Oct. 9 in downtown Rolla to celebrate our rich international community. If you didn’t have a chance to see either the Parade of Nations (over 81 countries represented), the International Festival or International Idol competition that was part of the Celebration of Nations, you missed a very delightful and festive celebration of international proportions. But what is even more impressive than the large turnout for this inaugural event, is the amount of collaborative energy and enthusiasm that went into it, and the amount of cooperation and teamwork demonstrated among Missouri S&T, the City of Rolla, and all of the businesses, organizations and individuals who worked together to host this unique and successful event.

Dr. Kent Ray, Provost of Missouri S&T, and the catalyst for the vision of the Celebration of Nations, said in his welcoming remarks at the downtown bandsehll during the Celebration of Nations, that he hopes the event will become an annual occurrence in the Rolla community, and I would like to echo his remarks. When you see all of the problems and turmoil being experienced in other countries throughout the world because of cultural differences, it is inspiring to see an event like the Celebration of Nations bring so much harmony, peace, and enjoyment to the Ozark foothills where we as a community embrace and support our cultural diversity. Of course I have not even mentioned yet the educational and social benefits of this event that allows children and adults of all ages to learn more about other countries, their culture and their way of life.

In closing, I’d like to remind everyone to please try to attend one of the upcoming public forums that are being hosted by the City of Rolla, the Parks & Recreation Department and The Centre to allow citizens an opportunity to give input on recreation programming; input on future park needs; capital improvement projects (long-term and short-term) and ways to fund these projects. The first public forum was held on Oct. 13 at the Rolla Elks Lodge. The second of the three public forums will be held this Wednesday, Oct. 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at The Centre (1200 North Holloway Street) and the third forum will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Catholic Newman Center located at 1607 North Rolla Street. For additional information regarding the forums, please contact the Rolla Parks and Recreation Department at 341-2386.

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful fall weather and colorful panoramic views that make this time of the year particularly enjoyable in the Missouri Ozarks. Have a great week.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Police Chief Chat

The Rolla Police Department handled 770 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 28 arrests, 43 accidents, 44 traffic complaints, 96 traffic stops, 44 follow up investigations, 14 suspicious nature calls, 17 loud noise complaints, 18 assists of other agencies, 8 fingerprint requests, 35 security checks, 5 juvenile complaints, 5 trespassing calls, 11 escorts, 5 domestic disturbances, 3 abandoned vehicles and 12 stealing reports. This call total is up 2 calls from last week. Yet, another busy week!

On Friday, October 8, 2010 at approximately 2:38 p.m., the Rolla Police Department received a 911 call indicating that there had just been a robbery at the Town and Country Bank located at 910 South Highway 63 in Rolla. Officers responded to the scene and learned that a white male had robbed two bank employees while they were filling the ATM machine located outside of the bank near the drive thru area. The suspect knocked one employee down and stole two plastic containers which contained United States currency. The robber left the bank on foot with an unreleased amount of cash. One employee sustained minor injuries during the robbery, the other employee was not injured. The robbery suspect was described as a white male, approximately 30 years of age, weighing 200-225 pounds, approximately 5'10" - 6'01" tall. The suspect was wearing a blue checkered button up short sleeve shirt, camouflage ball cap, blue jeans, black footwear and had placed a blue bandana over his mouth. He was also wearing sunglasses. The suspect fled from the scene on foot carrying two gray NCR brand, ATM containers which were approximately 15 inches long and 8 inches wide. The bank robbery is currently under investigation by members of the Rolla Police Department's Division of Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Since the robbery investigation began, our Criminal Investigations Unit and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation have developed several leads in this case. I have pulled out all the stops and will use all available resources to follow up on these leads and do our best to complete this investigation and bring this criminal to justice. All available officers from staff and our patrol division are assisting the CIU and FBI investigators and will do so until this investigation is complete. Anyone having any information pertaining to this bank robbery is encouraged to call the Rolla Police Department at (573) 308-1213.

Over the past few months the Rolla Police Department has been promoting our upcoming 10th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run “Trivia Night” scheduled for this Saturday, October 16, 2010. Regretfully, we have had to cancel this event due to scheduling conflicts. We are looking at a possible re-schedule date sometime after the 1st of the year. Even though we had to cancel this year’s event we would still like to thank our sponsors and continued supporters for their unending devotion to helping us, help our Special Olympic athletes. The event is somewhat unique in that it is not only a great fundraiser but also a night of fun and adventure. Each year businesses, organizations and individuals come forward and offer goods or services to make this event a success. Some of them are named here and without them, we would not have been able to provide the support for nearly a decade to Special Olympics. We would like to thank: Lee’s Chicken, Domino’s Pizza, Papa John’s Pizza, Tommy’s Tater Patch, Pizza Inn, Pizza Hut, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Imo’s Pizza, Casey’s General Stores, Wal-Mart Supercenter, Pryor’s Pizza, Rolla Elk’s Lodge, Result’s Radio, Fairground Chevrolet, Sheriff Rick Lisenbe and the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Cpt. LeeAnn Kenley and MSHP at Troop I, our scheduled guest emcee John D. Wiggins, The law firm of Beger and Bushie LLC, the law firm of Williams, Robinson, Rigler and Buschjost, Key Sport, Phelps County Bank, Bank of America, Fidelity Communications, McDonald’s, Big Lots, Game Stop, Slice of Pie, Applebee’s, Goody’s, Family Video, Blossom Basket, Verizon Wireless, Family Center, Creech Furniture Galleries, Trips & More and Coachlite Lanes. Thanks for a great 10 years!

We have some new faces here at the Police Department and I would like to introduce you to 4 new members of the Rolla Police family. Joining our ranks in the patrol division is Pto. John Stack. John resides in Sullivan Missouri and has most recently been employed with the Bourbon Police Department where he has served since May of this year. John will begin serving with the Rolla Police Department on Monday, October 18th which will include a 12 week field training program where he will be shadowed by one of our Field Training Officers who will guide him through the steps to becoming a Rolla Police Officer. Please be sure to say hello to John and welcome him to our community. Our next new member is none other than Ward Merrell. Ward has recently joined our Volunteers in Police Services ranks and will serve by patrolling schools, neighborhoods and our business districts. Many people around Rolla know Ward from having been President of the Rolla Chamber of Commerce and being a Rolla Ambassador. He has also been a successful businessman specializing in financial planning and insurance. Our next new face is that of Jeanne Jenks of Rolla, who is also a new member of our VIPS program. Jeanne comes to us from the medical profession and will be assisting our Records Division. Finally our last new face is that of Joyce Heidecke of Rolla, who is a registered nurse that has recently joined the ranks of the Volunteers in Police Services. Joyce will be assisting with the school, business and neighborhood patrols. I would like to welcome all of our newest members to the Rolla Police Department family and encourage all of you to welcome them in the community.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Energy conservation initiatives underway at Rolla City Hall

The City of Rolla is implementing the first phase of a comprehensive energy program to increase energy conservation measures at several City facilities and operations. Technicians with Retro Tech Systems began installing new energy efficient ballasts and fluorescent lights on the third floor of Rolla City Hall (Administration Department) on Monday, Sept. 20.

The new energy efficient lighting is part of an extensive energy conservation contract the City entered into with Siemens Technology. Retro Tech Systems will be working through the end of October at the following locations: Rolla City Hall, 901 N. Elm Street (Sept. 20 – Sept. 27); Rolla Fire & Rescue Headquarters, 1490 East 10th Street (Sept. 27 – Sept. 29); Rolla Fire & Rescue, Fire Station #2, 400 West 4th Street (Sept. 29 – Oct. 4); Rolla Police Headquarters, 1007 N. Elm Street (Oct. 4 – Oct. 6); The Centre, 1200 N. Holloway Street (Oct. 7 – Oct. 25); and Southeast Treatment Plant, Hwy. 72 (Oct. 25 – Oct. 28). Disruptions should be minor.

A new roof will also be constructed at the Rolla Police Department. If you have any questions regarding these energy improvements, please contact Steve Hargis, Director of Public Works, at 364-8659.

City of Rolla Fire & Rescue reinforce newer smoke alarm recommendations

City of Rolla Fire & Rescue reinforces newer smoke alarm recommendations

In an effort to better educate communities throughout the U.S. about smoke alarm recommendations, the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA ) is promoting “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!” as the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, Oct. 3-9, which the City of Rolla is supporting locally. NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for 88 years.

“Many homes in Rolla may not have any smoke alarms, not enough smoke alarms, alarms that are too old, or alarms that are not working,” says Robert Williams, Fire Chief of the City of Rolla Fire & Rescue. “We want residents to understand that working smoke alarms are needed in every home, on every level (including the basement), outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom. And, if a smoke alarm is 10 years old or older, it needs to be replaced.”

According to Chief Williams, smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire. NFPA statistics show that working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire nearly in half. But they must be working properly to do so. The association’s data shows that many homes have smoke alarms that aren’t working or maintained properly, usually because of missing, disconnected or dead batteries. Roughly two-thirds of all home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Through educational, family-oriented activities, residents can learn more about the power of smoke alarms, newer options for installing and maintaining them properly, and ultimately, how to better protect their loved ones from fire by attending the City of Rolla Fire & Rescue Open House on Saturday, Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

NFPA and the City of Rolla Fire & Rescue agree that interconnected smoke alarms offer the best protection; when one sounds, they all do. This is particularly important in larger or multi-story homes, where the sound from distant smoke alarms may be reduced to the point that it may not be loud enough to provide proper warning, especially for sleeping individuals.

“Most people have a sense of complacency about smoke alarms because they already have one in their homes. Fire Prevention Week provides an excellent opportunity to re-educate people about smoke alarms, new technologies and expanded options for installation and maintenance,” says Judy Comoletti, division manager for NFPA public education. “Ultimately, we want this year’s campaign to serve as a call to action for households nationwide to inspect their homes to ensure that their families have the full smoke alarm protection that’s recommended.”

The City of Rolla Fire & Rescue offers the following tips for making sure smoke alarms are maintained and working properly:

Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button, and make sure everyone in your home knows their sound.

If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.

Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they’re 10 years old (or sooner) if they do not respond properly when tested.

Never remove or disable a smoke alarm.

To learn more about “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!” visit NFPA’s Web site at

John Butz receives MML Distinguished Service Award

Rolla City Administrator John Butz, who has been an active member of the Missouri Municipal League (MML) for 22 years, was recently selected to receive the 2010 MML Distinguished Service Award.

Previous winners of the MML Distinguished Service Award are: Mollie Rickey, Howard Tooke, Joanne Collins, Dee Hudson, John O’Renick, Norma Caldwell, Willis Conner, Pat Killoren, Carolyn Gerdes, James Eagan, Kennard Whitfield, Marge Schramm, Gerald Gilkey, Joe Adams, Kevin O’Keefe, Marie Wessley, Howard Wright, Ray Beck, Glenn Van Leer, Karen Messerli and Gary Markenson.

Butz recently completed a two-year term serving on the MML Board of Directors where he assisted board members with the League’s legislative positions, strategic planning, business matters, and lobbying efforts at the state level.

“I’m thrilled that John was recognized by MML for this distinguished award, said Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks, III.” “John’s contributions to MML is reflected in this unique recognition, and I think reflects well on the City of Rolla not only at a local and regional level, but a state level as well. The City is very fortunate to have John’s knowledge, experience and awareness of state-wide issues that impact our community.”

The MML was formally established in 1934 in order to perpetuate and develop an agency for the cooperation of Missouri cities, towns and villages and to promote the interest, welfare and closer relations among them in order to improve municipal government and administration in the state. The basic goal of the League is to strengthen cities through unity and cooperation. League membership has increased from 200 municipalities in 1965 to 641 in 2006.

The MML also represents municipalities before the Missouri General Assembly; establishes legislative positions by municipal officials during the MML Annual Conference; and presents the local government point of view to state and federal legislators.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Police Chief Chat

This past week the Rolla Police Department handled 768 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 34 arrests, 20 accidents, 66 traffic complaints, 87 traffic stops, 8 suspicious nature calls, 7 recovered property reports, 12 loud noise complaints, 26 assists of other agencies, 9 fingerprint requests, 4 mental health calls, 4 prowler calls, 36 animal calls, 11 alarms and 3 trespassing calls. This call total is up 36 calls from last week. Another busy week!

On October 2, 2010 at approximately 10:20 PM, the Rolla Police Department received a 911 call regarding an armed robbery that had just occurred at the Country Mart grocery store located in the 1000 block of Forum Drive in Rolla, Missouri. A single suspect, dressed in a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt, dark-colored jacket, and blue jeans, entered the business armed with an edged-weapon. The suspect threatened several employees and demanded money. The suspect was able to obtain cash from the business and then fled on foot running north through the parking lot towards Forum Drive. A search of the area by law enforcement officers was conducted but the suspect was not located, however evidence from the crime scene, along with the weapon used and the clothing of the suspect, was found nearby the scene of the robbery. The amount of money stolen and further details are not being disclosed at this time. None of the victims involved sustained any injuries.

On October 4, 2010 the Rolla Police Department's Division of Criminal Investigations Unit received a tip on the identity of a possible suspect in this crime. After receiving the tip, Detectives and Uniformed Officers began following up on the tip. The suspect was later located and questioned regarding this robbery. A search warrant was later obtained for the suspect's residence located in the 1900 block of Farrar Drive. Seized during the execution of the search warrant was marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a substantial amount of money believed to have been stolen during the robbery. Arrested was Marquis D. Robinson age 34 of Rolla, Missouri. Robinson was arrested for 1st Degree Robbery, Armed Criminal Action, Felonious Restraint, Possession of Marijuana & Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Robinson was later incarcerated in the Phelps County Jail, pending warrant application. "The apprehension of this suspect is yet another example of the teamwork in our community. Had it not been for that one tip, we may have never identified the suspect or solved this crime. I am extremely proud of the efforts of the officers who investigated this serious crime." In appreciation for his service to the Rolla Police Department and the Rolla community, I presented the citizen (who wishes to remain anonymous) who contacted us with the confidential tip, the Rolla Police Department Certificate of Appreciation for his contribution.

On October 05, 2010 at approximately 11:45 a.m., The Rolla Police Department was notified of two suspicious acting individuals who were attempting to pawn several weapons at a local pawn shop. Upon arrival of the initial responding units, officers encountered two white male individuals outside the establishment near a vehicle with out of state registration. Upon investigation by the responding officers it was determined that the vehicle had been reported as stolen in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania on October 03, 2010. Officers quickly detained the two individuals. As a result of the ensuing investigation, officers discovered 6 firearms and camping gear which had been reported as stolen during the burglary of an Outdoor Store in Watertown, New York on October 01, 2010. Further investigation revealed that the two had robbed a hunter at gunpoint in Pennsylvania and had stolen his vehicle and crossbow after assaulting him. Arrested was Philip E. Hemminger, age 18 of Black River, New York, and Andrew M. O’Connor, age 19 of Carthae, New York. Hemminger & O'Connor were arrested and charged with Receiving Stolen Property. Both were incarcerated in the Phelps County Jail in lieu of a $400,000.00 bond, and pending extradition back to Pennsylvania and New York where they will face additional charges in those jurisdictions."The arrests of these two armed criminals were a direct result of our citizens cooperating and notifying law enforcement of suspicious activity, for that I would like to thank them for their initiative." In appreciation of his service to the Rolla Police Department and to the citizens of our community, I presented Chad Warren, owner of Warren Pawn and Gun of Rolla, the Rolla Police Department Certificate of Appreciation for his actions.

This next entry is a letter sent to me by a citizen in our community that was experiencing a bad reaction to prescribed medication. The citizen writes: I wanted to thank the officers who assisted me on September 9th, 2010. I believe they were, Sgt. Frey, Cpl. Dillon and SPO Davis. I was having a very bad reaction to some medication that was prescribed by Pathways, and I did not catch the reaction before I had totally destabilized. Not only were they very helpful, they helped keep my little dog, Annie, a standard cairn terrier who was in a puppy mill for 9 and a half years before I got her. My social worker was going to keep her, and they were instrumental in getting her to a safe place in the apartment and contacting her to come get her because I knew I was going to have to go into the hospital for a few days at least. She is very important to me, as a companion and therapeutic aid for my depression and anxiety. These men went above and beyond the call of duty, treating me so gently and so well until an ambulance could arrive and assess my situation. I was very upset about the situation and they were calm and reassuring to me about Annie and that I needed help, which I knew. I am active on the facebook page, and I got the names from there. My great appreciation needs to be passed along to these fine men, and I think they need a special thanks and recognition for their aid in my time of confusion and darkness. Please pass this note along to them, and let them know that they represent the best of our men in blue! Great job to Sgt. John Frey, Cpl. Derrick Dillon and Spo. Tommy Davis!

From the staff at Animal Control: On Saturday October 23rd, 2010, a one day free clinic will be held at the Phelps County Fairgrounds Community Building. Dogs and cats will be vaccinated free of charge. Owners will be responsible for securing pets during the procedure. All dogs must be leashed and cats must be in a secure crate or pet carrier. If any animals show signs of aggression the Phelps County Health Department reserves the right to refuse service in the interest of safety. Participating veterinarians are Dr. Brian Janke, Dr. Justin Berger and Dr. Mark Ranney. The clinic will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This past week, we took delivery on a new 2011 Harley-Davidson Police Electra-Glide motorcycle to replace the two 2010 Electra-Glides from our motorcycle division. Each year we lease 2 new motorcycles from Ozark Harley-Davidson in Lebanon, Missouri. The lease price is a fraction of the cost of the motorcycles and entitles us to use them for a year in our motorcycle program. The program was re-instituted in 2001 with the lease of a 2002 Harley-Davidson Road King. We continued leasing 1 motorcycle per year until 2005 when we realized the popularity and service offered by motorcycle patrol was on the rise and began to lease 2 bikes per year. This trend continued until this year where budget constraints restricted our lease options to 1 motorcycle. This year’s edition includes a black and white paint scheme to match the theme used on our patrol cars.

In closing, I would like to remind you that our 10th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run “Trivia Night” will be held next Saturday, October 16, 2010 at the Rolla Elk’s Lodge. The event has been declared the best trivia in the area and offers loads of fun, good healthy competition, free dinner and a cash bar. Teams of up to 10 members will answer 10 questions in 10 different categories with the winner being the team that correctly answers the most questions. Winners receive the coveted traveling trophy and will gain free berth to next year’s event. Our guest emcee this year is former Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney and Circuit Judge John Wiggins. Cost to enter a team is $100.00 donation to Special Olympics. To enter a team contact S/Sgt. Rick Williams at 308-1213.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Thursday, October 7, 2010

City to make plans for 150th birthday celebration

It wasn’t too long ago that members of the Phelps County Commission, and residents of Phelps County gathered in front of the Phelps County Courthouse to pay tribute to the 150th Anniversary (Sesquicentennial) of Phelps County on June 2, 2007. And if you didn’t have an opportunity to attend that event, you missed not only a very well planned and orchestrated celebration, but an historic event filled with music, historical re-enactments, well-known speakers, the Rolla High School chorus and so much more. 

Fast forward now to June 4, 2011, which is the planned date the City will be celebrating the City of Rolla’s 150th birthday as well. The City’s 150th birthday, or date of incorporation, was officially on Jan. 25, 1861, but in an effort to attract bigger crowds and generate more interest for the City’s Sesquicentennial Celebration, the celebration, like the County’s Sesquicentennial held three years ago, will be held the weekend of Rolla’s Route 66 Summerfest on Saturday, June 4, 2011. 

The Rolla City Council recently approved the formation of a planning committee that will be meeting to discuss the various activities, and schedule of events that will be part of the City’s Sesquicentennial. I’ll be sure to keep the community informed of this event, and the ideas that are generated from the planning committee over the next several months. But please put this date on your calendars for next year!

Speaking of celebrations, the Celebration of Nations will be held today, Saturday, Oct. 9 beginning with a parade of nations (81 total) that begins at the Havener Center on the Missouri S&T campus and ends at the downtown bandshell at 9th and Oak Streets. The parade will actually meander through the downtown business district, up Pine Street and down 9th Street before they begin the second part of the event, which is the Festival of Nations, and the International Idol competition at the bandshell and Downtown Festival Park. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and I’m hoping there will be a huge show of support from our community for this inaugural event. I hope to see you there!

In closing, I’d like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Rolla Area Ministerial Alliance and the Rolla Police Department for hosting the very successful third annual Operation Neighborhood Clean-up. It is amazing to see just how much can be accomplished with 100 or more volunteers, together with the assistance of businesses, organizations and agencies who want to give back to their community. This event would not be the success it is without this collaborative effort, and everyone who participated, including the Rolla Police Department, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Fire and Rescue, and Environmental Services Departments, who really came through big for the third year in row. We have a very community-minded City, and Operation Neighborhood Clean-up truly illustrates how helpful and generous so many individuals in our community can be.

Thanks again for all you do!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fall into wellness on Deible Loop Bike Path

Fall is by far one of the best times of the year to enjoy the beauty, serenity, and recreational opportunities that abound in the Rolla area and Meramec Valley Region. But before I invite you to explore one of the newest additions to the City’s ever-expanding pedestrian bike path network, I’d like to welcome all of the visitors and Missouri S&T alumni, who will be attending the 32nd Annual Fall Arts and Crafts Festival in downtown Rolla (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the various Missouri S&T homecoming festivities that are planned this weekend. If you haven’t visited the Rolla area for any length of time, I think you may be surprised with the many exciting changes and developments that are occurring in our area.

Many new restaurants, retail establishments, building projects, and even intersections and roadways, such as the Bryant Drive Extension on Kingshighway, reflect the upward growth trend that Rolla is experiencing. And what is more noteworthy is that much of this growth and expansion is attracting national retailers and businesses that see the benefit of relocating to the Rolla area where our unique location at the crossroads of I-44, State Road 63, and Hwy. 72, coupled with our distinction as the regional hub for South Central Missouri, is very appealing.

One of the greatest benefits of living in and visiting the Rolla area is spending time outdoors in one of our beautiful parks or on one of the City’s pedestrian bike paths. The most recent addition to our pedestrian bike path network is the new 1.8-mile-long Deible Loop Pedestrian Bike Path, which increases the length of the City’s trail system to over 12 miles. The Deible Loop Pedestrian Bike Path was designed by the City’s Public Works Department and runs adjacent to Lions Club Drive along Deible Creek from O Highway to State Road 63 South at CC Highway. The easiest way to access the Deible Loop Pedestrian Bike Path is at the ACORN Trail trailhead parking lot located on O Highway across from the Rolla Municipal Utilities’ service station just north of Sycamore Drive. You can park in the parking lot, follow the sidewalk that crosses Sycamore Drive and be on your way along the new trail. If you would like to obtain a map of the City’s pedestrian bike path network you can either view it online at, or pick one up at the Rolla Visitors Center located on Bridge School Road or at Rolla City Hall (901 N. Elm Street). I think residents and visitors alike will delight in the beauty and serenity of this new section of the City’s pedestrian bike network.

In closing, I’d like to once again encourage the community to attend the inaugural Celebration of Nations event next Saturday, Oct. 9. The event was created to promote awareness, understanding and the celebration of the ways cultural diversity enriches Rolla, Missouri University of Science and Technology, and the world. A Parade of Nations will kick off the event at 11 a.m. when the parade begins at the Missouri S&T Havener Center, (located on the Missouri S&T campus), travel through the downtown area, and end at the downtown bandshell. Colorful flags representing 81 countries of origin of the residents of this region will be carried in the parade. Following the parade, there will be festivities featuring international arts, crafts and food. There will also be an International Idol talent competition, which will be held at the downtown bandshell. Sponsors of the event include the City of Rolla; Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center; Missouri S&T’s student chapter of Engineers Without Borders; and Missouri S&T’s economics department, international affairs’ office, leadership and cultural programs, provost’s office and student life department. For more information about the Celebration of Nations please contact Stephane Menand at

I hope you enjoy the beautiful fall weather and all the festivities and events planned for this special weekend in Rolla.