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Operation SURGE impacts crime, quality of life problems in historic Northeast

Publish Date 09/23/2016

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KCPD Media Unit

Officers in the East Patrol Division have concluded a week-long effort to improve quality of life issues and impact crime in the old Northeast area of Kansas City.

Operation SURGE (Strategic Uniform Response Group Effort) took place Sept. 19-22 in the area of Thompson to 7th Street, and Benton to Elmwood. Itresulted in the clearance of 67 warrants, six felony arrests, five drug and three firearm recoveries. It also led to the removal of about two tons of trash and plant overgrowth.

East Patrol Commander Major Joe McHale said the target location was chosen through crime data, officers’ observations and concerns from residents and business owners. That 2.2-square-mile area alone generated 287 police reports from Jan. 1 to Sept. 1, 2016, ranging from shootings to drug paraphernalia.

With coordination by Captain Ryan Mills and Sergeant Andrew Uptegrove, officers focused primarily on quality-of-life issues for the impacted neighborhoods, such as narcotics usage, illegal dumping, prostitution, theft and other crimes associated with a nearby homeless population.

In addition to the enforcement saturation and arrests, officers partnered with local service providers to offer health and counseling services to women engaged in sex work so they might leave their at-risk life-style. They got resources to needy residents. They worked with the City to remove trash ranging from mattresses to tires to brush. Unlike many other major police operations, members of the community were invited to stop by Operation SURGE’s command post at Independence Avenue and Gladstone Boulevard to check in with police on how things were going and share their concerns. Throughout the Operation, officers took note of issues that will need follow-up. They recorded 78 locations that had codes or city violations and will continue to work with city government to address those.

Major McHale said Operation SURGE showed the kind of proactive work patrol officers can do.

“The overall intent of this operation was to engage the community, problem solve, take immediate action, and develop a list of further action needed,” Major McHale said. “The most important part of this operation, however, was highlighting that our district personnel can do so much more than just react to calls for service.”

East Patrol has been flooded with e-mails and calls of appreciation throughout the week for their work during Operation SURGE. They said they were impressed with the visible results of the project. One neighborhood leader even wrote, “I have seen the glory with my own eyes!”