Friday, August 19, 2011

Police Chief Chat

Drug Watch: The Rolla Police Department Street Crimes Unit arrested (6) six individuals last night following a traffic stop for a minor violation. During the stop, officers learned that the driver had just smoked marijuana and was driving under the influence. Further investigation led to the seizure of several new items commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine. All of the individuals admitted to coming to Rolla for the sole purpose of purchasing meth making materials.

Last week, Senior Patrol Officer Josh Campbell of the Street Crimes Unit and K-9 Ziggy conducted a sweep at a local parcel delivery service that resulted in the discovery of several ounces of high grade “medical” marijuana inbound to a residence on Vichy Road from the State of California. A search warrant was obtained and the marijuana was seized. A plan was then devised to use an undercover officer to impersonate a parcel driver and successfully deliver the marijuana to the suspect recipient. Once the suspect signed for the delivery, a search warrant for the residence was executed by Sgt. Jeremy Martens, Cpl. Tim Mayfield, Street Crimes Spo. Luke Kearse and Spo’s Brad Gibbs, Tony Lauth and Ben Tinsley. The search lead to the seizure of the marijuana, drug paraphernalia and the arrest of the recipient.

This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 712 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 26 arrests, 10 alarm calls, 18 accident reports, 17 traffic complaints, 15 check the well being requests, 57 traffic stops, 18 disturbance calls (including domestics), 15 suspicious nature calls, 19 assists of other agencies, 6 narcotics violations, 40 security checks, 15 escorts, 32 follow up investigations, 2 runaways and 3 malicious mischief complaints. This call total is down 197 calls from last week, yet another busy week!

Early morning on Sunday, August 14th, 2011, The Missouri State Highway Patrol initiated a pursuit of a mini-van eastbound on I-44 in Pulaski County. The pursuit continued into the Rolla area where Cpl. Derrick Dillon set up and successfully deployed stop sticks at the 184 mile marker. Senior Patrol Officer Jason Copeland and Patrol Officer Chris Giacolone set up and successfully deployed stop sticks again at the 185 mile marker. The vehicle continued eastbound with the Highway Patrol officers and now Rolla Police officers in pursuit. The suspect vehicle exited I-44 and continued through Rolla to the area of 12th and Iowa where the driver abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. Investigation revealed that the pursued vehicle had been stolen from a residence near Springfield, Mo.

Pursuing officers quickly set up a perimeter and Street Crimes Officer Josh Campbell and K-9 Ziggy was called to the scene in an attempt to track the suspect. Officers maintained the perimeter and continued to search for the suspect for the next hour without success. As Cpl. Derrick Dillon patrolled the area of 10th Street and Independence he observed a vehicle approach the intersection from the opposite direction and stop at the stop sign. Cpl. Dillon pulled up and stopped at the intersection as well. The driver of the vehicle across the intersection did not proceed as if waiting for Cpl. Dillon to go first. Cpl. Dillon became suspicious and continued to wait for the vehicle to proceed. The driver of the vehicle finally began to drive forward but seemed to have trouble getting the vehicle to move. Cpl. Dillon stopped the vehicle and noticed that the driver was perspiring and appeared extremely nervous. The driver of the vehicle also had what appeared to be a recent injury to his hand. Cpl. Dillon questioned the driver as to where he was from and where he was going. The driver provided information that did not make sense and was contradictory to the direction he was heading. The driver claimed to be from out of town, but a license check on the vehicle showed that the vehicle was registered locally. Cpl. Dillon suspected this driver to be the suspect in the earlier pursuit and took him into custody. Further investigation revealed that the second vehicle had just been stolen from a residence on Independence Drive. The suspect is being held in the Phelps County Jail on a $25,000.00 bond. The MSHP are continuing their investigation into the pursuit and stolen vehicle out of Springfield. Great job to all the officers involved in this incident.

Drinking and Driving: The sobering fact is that impaired driving contributes to nearly 30% of all Missouri traffic fatalities. In 2010 alone 234 people were killed and 957 seriously injured in crashes involving an impaired driver. That’s why the Rolla Police Department will join other Missouri law enforcement agencies to crack down on drunk driving Aug. 19 – Sept. 5, 2011. The Rolla Police Department will participate in statewide sobriety checkpoints and DWI saturation patrols enforcing Missouri’s DWI laws and keeping impaired drivers off the road. Consequences of drunk driving include jail time, loss of driver licenses, or being sentenced to use ignition interlocks. Insurance rates 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. “Driving drunk is simply not worth all the consequences,” said Corporal Tim Mayfield, Rolla Police Department Traffic Division Traffic Supervisor. “Our message is simple and unwavering: You Drink and Drive. You Lose.” For more information, please visit

In closing, I would like to thank all of you for your consideration and patience while driving in traffic during our first days of the new school year. Our officers and VIP volunteers were assigned to patrol and assist with traffic control around all of the area schools this past week. There were no incidents reported and even with the new construction at the Junior High School and Rolla High School traffic flowed smoothly. Please continue to exercise caution in these areas and remember to show consideration at crosswalks and intersections as students travel to and from school. Speaking of crosswalks, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our newest member to the Rolla Police family in the hiring of Duane Nevells as our crossing guard at Truman Elementary School. Duane began his duties this week and is looking forward to his duties at the school. Welcome aboard Duane. Be sure to say hello as you travel through the area.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

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