Friday, July 22, 2011

Police Chief Chat

Drug Watch: Recently, I accompanied members of the South Central Drug Task Force to serve a search warrant on a house reported to be selling and manufacturing methamphetamine. We were joined by members of the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department and our Patrol Division. As we approached the residence, we observed a small child approximately 5 years old, in the front yard without adult supervision. One of the plain-clothes officers went to the child and picked her up to get her out of harm’s way. We entered the residence and discovered and adult male in the living room sleeping on the couch. We located another adult male and an adult female in one of the bedrooms of the residence. All 3 adults were secured in the living room of the home and officers initiated the search. The search netted methamphetamine, methamphetamine products and illegal drug paraphernalia.

The Division of Family Services was called and were able to locate responsible family members to care for the 5 year old juvenile. Just recently I had to deal with a situation where two children’s parents were addicted to methamphetamine and due to the neglect and the addiction, the parents lost custody of those children. Sadly these situations are occurring every day and those that suffer the most are the children. Rolla is a great place to live and raise a family, but we do have a problem with drug addiction here, just like every town in America, but we have taken responsibility and launched a specialty unit whose primary mission is to combat illegal drugs. This unit works hand in hand with the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, the South Central Drug Task Force and our own Patrol Division to bring those that deal in these illegal poisons to justice. This unit is very unusual for a town our size, and we are very fortunate that we are able to support this unit. This unit is responsible for the indictment of suspects in over 50 Federal drug cases in the last two years, and several hundred other drugs cases where methamphetamine and meth labs were seized. The Rolla Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies are taking a strong stand to get those that deal in heroin, meth and other illegal drugs so that we can keep Rolla a great place to live. If you have suspicious activity that you think might be drug related call our confidential hotline number at 364-0111.

This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 679 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 10 arrests, 17 alarm calls, 20 accidents, 21 traffic complaints, 65 check the well being requests, 66 traffic stops, 14 disturbance calls (including domestics), 16 suspicious nature calls, 23 assists of other agencies, 54 security checks, 16 trespass complaints, 7 destruction of property reports and 9 intoxicated persons. This call total is down 153 calls from last week and was a welcome break.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome 2 new members to the Rolla Police Family. Telecommunicators Melissa Maddox and Keri Lloyd joined us this week to begin their extremely intense 15 week training period that will transform them from interested citizens to certified 9-1-1 dispatchers. The vacancies in Central Dispatch were created when veteran telecommunicator Trina Duarte moved to the State of California and Salem’s own Clint Capps was accepted in the Missouri State Highway Patrol academy. Melissa and Keri’s training involves hands on familiarization of Central Dispatch policies and procedures, M.U.L.E.S. operation, multi-tasking skill enhancement and radio techniques among many other features. Telecommunication Supervisor Stayce Smith will offer the brunt of the training but other supervisors and operators will assist. Melissa Maddox was born and raised in Rolla, then after graduation from Rolla High School, attended William Woods College where she graduated with a bachelor’ degree. Melissa lived in Columbia, Missouri 10+ years before returning to Rolla and accepting the challenge to become a Central Dispatch telecommunicator. Melissa enjoys photography and staying active outside with gardening and exercising, among other outdoor activities and animals. Be sure to welcome Melissa back to the community when you see her.

Keri Lloyd is the eldest daughter in a military family. Her father, who now works with Missouri Department of Natural Resources, is a retired US Army officer. His career took their family all over the world - everwhere except central Missouri, at least until he retired. Keri attended UMR in the mid-90s, and have been "here and back" to Rolla a few times, moving first to upstate New York, then to Minne"snow"ta. Professionally, I have worked for Military OneSource as an information specialist and provided tech support for Xbox (there may have been a few other jobs in there as well). Personally, I knit my own socks and slay internet dragons for fun. I am happy to be back in Rolla and am very excited to be training as a telecommunicator - it really does make a difference to my happiness to know that every day, I will have done something to help someone! Please be sure to welcome Keri back to the community when you see her.

The Rolla Police Department will be cracking down on impaired drivers during a sobriety checkpoint to be held July 24 through July 30. Law enforcement efforts will be increased in an endeavor to reduce the deaths and serious injuries caused by impaired drivers. Those caught drinking and driving could lose their license, money, and freedom.
Consequences of drunk driving include jail time, loss of your driver’s licenses, or being sentenced to use ignition interlocks. Insurance rates also go up. Other financial hits include attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job or job prospects. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators can also face tremendous personal embarrassment and humiliation.

In closing, as you know summer is upon us with a vengeance and our near record high temperatures this past week has dealt quite a challenge. Please remember to venture out into the heat only if absolutely necessary and if you must remain outdoors during this period, drink plenty of fluids. Also remember to think of pets and livestock as well as the heat affects them too. If you know of family members or friends that may reside alone be sure to check in on them periodically, and especially if they do not have air conditioning. Do not leave children and pets in vehicles unattended, as temperatures in sun baked vehicles reaches dangerous and fatal levels.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

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