Friday, July 15, 2011

Police Chief Chat

            Drug watch: This past week, the South Central Drug Task Force, Rolla Police Department, and Phelps County Sheriff’s Department served a narcotics search warrant in the 800 block of South Highway 63 in Rolla, Missouri.  As a result of the search warrant, methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia were located and seized.  The following people were arrested and incarcerated at the Phelps County Jail as a result of the investigation: Jeannette E. Faulkner age 44 was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Jimmy D. Seest age 50 was arrested for possession of methamphetamine. Jeremy S. Kirkpatrick age 30 was arrested for possession of methamphetamine. The charges for which Faulkner, Seest and Kirkpatrick were arrested are merely accusations and are not evidence of guilt.  Evidence in support of the charges must be presented before a court of competent jurisdiction whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence. 

            Also this past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 832 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 25 arrests, 18 alarm calls, 23 accidents, 23 traffic complaints, 15 check the well being requests, 115 traffic stops, 83 disturbance calls (including domestics – 62 of those are fireworks complaints), 15 suspicious nature reports, 16 assists of other agencies, 9 narcotics violation complaints, 60 security checks, 28 stealing reports and 17 escorts. This call total is down 17 calls from last week, but yet another busy week!

            On July 14, 2011, at approximately 1338 hours, Street Crimes Officer Josh Campbell was traveling eastbound on I-44 near the 182 mile marker. During this time, he overheard the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Troop I Dispatch, advise their officers of a possible child abduction. The location of the crime was in Arkansas, however; Troop I stated Arkansas investigators had cellular phone contact with one of the two children. The contact put the children’s location between St. Robert and Rolla, Missouri. Troop I advised the suspect vehicle was a black Mazda passenger car bearing West Virginia registration. Troop I also stated the vehicle would be occupied by an adult female a (12) twelve year old female and an (11) eleven year old male. According to Troop I, missing person’s alerts were entered into the computer for the children.

            At approximately 1339 hours, Officer Campbell observed the vehicle traveling eastbound on Interstate near the 182 mile marker following too closely to a tractor trailer. Campbell allowed the vehicle to travel some distance before pulling into traffic as not to alert the driver and in an effort to get more patrol units in the area before making the stop. At the east bound 185 mile marker, extra units staged out of sight and Campbell initiated a traffic stop.  The suspect pulled to the right of the roadway and came to a complete stop.  Campbell  made contact with the driver. The vehicle also contained a juvenile male and a juvenile female. Campbell advised the female driver of the hold request for child abduction from the State of Arkansas then transported her and the 2 juveniles to the Rolla Police Department.

            Once at the police department, contact was made with investigators from the Benton County Arkansas Sheriff’s Office.  Confirmation was made of pending warrants for the female’s arrest, and she was incarcerated in the Phelps County Jail on a (24) hour hold pending warrants from Benton County, Arkansas. The two minor children were released to the custody of The Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division.

            On Thursday,  Communications Chief Paula Volkmer attended the first meeting of the Interim Committee on 911 Access at the Missouri Capitol.  This committee was appointed in the Missouri House of Representatives to study the current 911 emergency service systems in the State of Missouri.  They heard testimony from the Missouri 911 Director’s Association and several others outlining the situation that Missouri has found itself in, being the only state in the nation that does not have a statewide 911 funding source.  Individual counties and municipalities have long shouldered the burden of funding 911 centers in their communities.  Most struggle under the mounting costs of increased call volumes and keeping pace with advancing technology that most citizens have come to rely on. 

            The majority of centers achieve their funding by initiating a surcharge on landline phones or a sales tax.  In today’s mobile society, the landline phone is dwindling, along with that the ability to support 911 equipment from a surcharge solely supported by land line phone customers. Twice, the voters in the State of Missouri have failed to approve a surcharge on cell phones/wireless devices that are currently averaging 60-70% of the 911 call volume in the centers across the state.  That, along with ever changing technologies, have created a funding crisis for most 911 centers today.  Our county is one of many that have been forced to turn away from the dwindling landline surcharge to implement a sales tax to cover the expense of operating a countywide 911 dispatch center.  Though our Phelps County community leaders have made proper receiving of 911 calls a priority, we are also faced with significant upgrades to our system to implement the necessary equipment needed in these quickly emerging technologies.  We are among the fortunate ones, there are several counties across Missouri who do not have adequate 911 capabilities due to lack of funding to support such a system.  The goal is to protect everyone as they live, travel and do business in Missouri by making funding available for every county to have access to 911.

            In closing, I would like to mention that due to vacations and a manpower shortage at the animal shelter we have found it necessary to temporarily adjust our hours of operation.
Beginning the 3rd week of August, we will need to close the shelter on Saturdays which will be August 20, August 27, and September 3, 2011. We will resume opening on Saturdays on September 10, 2011. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

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