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