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Responding to Domestic Violence

Responding to Domestic Violence

Just recently, your police officers responded to yet another felony domestic violence assault in Parsons. Two children were traumatized as was the victim in this unsafe relationship.

Domestic violence (both misdemeanor and felony incidents) account for a significant percentage of crime and violent crime in Parsons. Nothing new - that's historical. In 2020, the Parsons Police responded to a total of 176 domestic violence cases - one every 49 hours and 46 minutes.

 

Almost 1/3 of the City of Parsons Violent Crime derives from Felony Domestic Violence cases.

Domestic violence is not a private matter or a family problem; it is a crime that demands both a law enforcement and a community response. This pervasive problem cuts across cultural, ethnic, religious, and economic boundaries, and its consequences extend well beyond the significant harms inflicted directly upon battered women by their abusers.

Domestic violence also traumatizes the children who witness the violence in what should be their safest haven their own homes. These children are also frequently abused and are at higher risk for substance abuse, school failure, emotional and physical health problems, and particularly for boys' aggressive behavior that can escalate to violence. To further add to this tragedy, the abused partner is often unable to pay sufficient attention to the children's needs due to her own deteriorating physical and emotional health, substance abuse and/or lack of social and financial resources.

Helping women escape from violent partners substantially reduces the risk that they will continue to harm their children. Domestic violence laws have long presented such challenges to law enforcement agencies and their officers. The highly emotional, often violent atmosphere surrounding these situations, which often tear families apart, also place a heavy burden on the officers who respond to these disturbances.

To add to this burden, victims frequently hesitate to prosecute the assailant or seek shelter, because many still believe that domestic violence should be resolved by family members. Unfortunately, some citizens have this belief. For instance, the way society often views domestic violence is evident in a television commercial in which a couple preparing for bed overhears a violent argument coming from the apartment next door. The couple look at each other, look at the telephone, look back at each other and then turn the light off. The announcer says, "If their music was too loud, they would call the police."

While mandatory arrest laws help give the police a basic tool to remove an offender by arrest. The arrest is only a small piece of the pie. Parsons needs to bake a better pie with the community taking its responsibility seriously.

A multi-faceted approach is required from all the community entities that have a stake in the outcome.

Research confirms that many wife abusers are also child abusers, and the cycle is often repeated generation after generation. A recent study revealed that abused children are 38 percent more likely to commit violent crimes and be arrested as juveniles than non-abused children, because they learn most of their conflict resolution skills at home.

I have asked our Public Safety Advisory Board to address ways of bringing together community resources to include schools, public health, civic and fraternal organizations, the faith-based community and others to address domestic violence in Parsons. I hope that we can build a process that will provide direction to improve the way our community can intervene on behalf of children and other victims of domestic violence.


AMBER ALERT

Chanute Police issued an Amber Alert for 6-year-old Nina R. Senkbeil. According to the alert, she was last seen today, Aug. 11, 2021, at Santa Fe Park in Chanute, Kansas. Her father is suspected of taking her. Authorities believe she could be in imminent danger.

She was last seen wearing a shite Tweetie bird shirt with a pink design, Nike shorts and white in color, Nike shoes that are pink and black.

The Chanute Police Department provided the information to the KBI around 1:30 p.m. this afternoon - which issued the Amber Alert.

"At around 10:30 a.m. Nina Senkbeil was taken by her father from Santa Fe Park, in Chanute, KS. She was with her father at a supervised visitation when they disappeared in an unknown direction.

At 12:15 pm, Jacob Senkbeil and Nina Senkbeil were seen at 17515 Oak Wood Lane in Fall River, KS where the father made comments to a witness that makes Law Enforcement now believe the child is in imminent danger. The suspect left with the child in an unknown direction in a black 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee KS license plate 852FGX.

Call 911 immediately if you have seen a missing child, or suspect. If you have other information on a missing child call 911 or the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-KS-CRIME."

SUSPECTS

The Amber Alert lists 32-year-old Jacob Senkbeil as a suspect.

  • Description: last seen wearing Green shirt, Pants: blue jeans, Hat: blue and orange ball cap

VEHICLES

The Amber Alert lists a 2004 Black Jeep Cherokee with the license plate 852FGX.

 

AMBER ALERT: 6-year-old out of Chanute, KS - KOAM (koamnewsnow.com)


How Much Do You Value Your Integrity?

Here's a great article by Dave Anderson - Becoming a Leader of Character

We can't just talk about Integrity. We must DO Integrity.

Lots of leaders talk about Integrity. They claim Integrity is the top attribute they want from a new hire. Integrity is probably the most common core value that organizations proclaim. The saying is easy. The doing is hard. Many well intentioned leaders talk a good game when it comes to Integrity, but they set a bad example when it comes to putting their convictions into action.

I'm not saying these leaders are running around intentionally deceiving people. But many, including me, have set a bad example in the simplest tests of our Integrity. Some of the simplest tests are set up by the commitments we make. What commitments are the ones many leaders fail to fulfill? How about:

  • "I'll check into that for you."

  • "I'll follow up with you on Monday."

  • "I am open to feedback."

When we make these statements, we are making a commitment - a promise. Too often, I have made these same statements with good intentions and then let those promises slide. Other things distract me, or I procrastinate. I don't look back at my notes, and later realize I failed to fulfill another promise by the agreed upon deadline. I am sure I am not the only one. But the more we do it, the more it becomes a habit - a bad habit of character.

We may make ourselves feel better and rationalize away the importance of those commitments. We have so many things to do. An unscheduled meeting or something else makes the commitment fall to the bottom of our priority list. These things happen to all of us. But we have to ask ourselves these questions:

  • Is our word important to us?

  • If people don't believe our word is important to us, why should their word be important to them?

As we stated in last week's blog, the root word for Integrity is integer. Integer means whole or pure. The purity of a piece of gold establishes its value. That is the same for our word. When we make a commitment, if we are hit and miss on fulfilling those simple promises we make so quickly, why should anyone value our word?

A leader at work or at home, who wants to inspire Integrity in the people we lead, has to not only talk about Integrity, but also DO Integrity. The small tests come daily and prepare us for the big test to come. Our teams and our families are watching how we respond to those tests. Each time we fall short on those tests, we cheapen the value of our word. This also sets the example that Integrity is cheap for everyone.

The leaders in any organization, whether it is a Fortune 500 company, a law enforcement agency, a smaller work team, or a family, establish the value of Integrity through both their words and their actions. No matter who we are, or what title we hold, our Integrity will be valued based on how we keep our commitments - the big commitments and the small ones.

Dig Deep Questions:

  • What value do you place on your Integrity?

  • Would the people observing you set the same price on your Integrity?


High Water/Flood Safety: How To Stay Safe

Parsons (KS) is no stranger to high water and flooding. Recent rains dropped up to 10 inches of water in and around the Parsons area. This has resulted in high creek and river levels that have impacted the community. Additional standing water has left high water on the many roadways or has made some areas in town impassable.

High water and flooding can be dangerous because they happen quickly and can be unpredictable, says the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL). If a flash flood strikes, it's important to know what you can do to help keep you and your family safe. Here are some tips to help you prepare and stay safe during a flash flood:

WHAT IS A FLASH FLOOD?

Flash floods are sudden, fast-moving floods that typically occur within three to six hours of heavy rainfall, says the National Weather Service (NWS). A flash flood or high water in Parsons (KS) is usually the result of a severe downpour associated with thunderstorms. It's important to remember that since it can rain anywhere, everyone is at risk for flash flooding. However, you may be at a higher risk for flash floods if you live in a flood zone, near Labette Creek or in low lying areas in the City.

GENERAL FLASH FLOOD SAFETY TIPS

Because flash floods can happen with little warning, it may be helpful to prepare during dry times. Consider developing an evacuation plan and create an emergency "go bag" so that you're ready to evacuate quickly if a flash flood threatens your area. You should also be sure that you and your family understand the difference between a flash flood watch and warning. The NSSL explains that a flash flood watch means flooding is possible, while a flash flood warning is issued when flooding is about to occur or already happening.

HOW TO STAY SAFE AT HOME DURING A FLOOD

If you're at home when a flash flood strikes, the NWS offers these tips to help you stay safe:

  • Follow evacuation orders: If local officials have provided evacuation instructions before or during a flash flood, it's important to take them seriously as the timing of these floods can be unpredictable.
  • Move to higher ground immediately: If your home floods, get to higher ground as soon as possible. However, you should avoid seeking shelter in a closed attic as you may risk becoming trapped by rising floodwater. Only get on the roof if necessary and signal for help once you're there.
  • Avoid contact with floodwater: Try to avoid contact with floodwater that enters your home. Avoid rooms, including the basement, where floodwater has touched or submerged electrical outlets or cords. This is because you may be at risk for electrical shock.

HOW TO STAY SAFE IN A CAR DURING A FLOOD

If you're in the car and a flash flood is imminent or occurring, try to stay calm and remember these tips from www.Ready.gov :

  • Don't drive around barricades: If you come across a barrier blocking a flooded road, do not drive around it. Instead, back up and find an alternate route.
  • Avoid driving on bridges over fast-moving water: Floodwater can wash out a bridge with little or no warning. If water is moving quickly under a bridge, avoid driving over the bridge.
  • Avoid driving through floodwater: Driving through floodwater is dangerous, as it only takes 12 inches of water to for a small sedan or SUV to float, says the NWS. You should also avoid driving through large puddles. They may look more shallow than they are, and can disguise hazards such as a washed-out road or sharp debris.
  • Stay in your vehicle if you're surrounded by fast-moving water: Unless water is rising inside your vehicle, do not exit the vehicle when you're surrounding by quickly-moving floodwater. If water is rising inside your vehicle, exit the car and get onto the roof.

If you're ever in doubt about you or your family's safety during a flood, remember to turn around, don't drown, says the NWS.

Flash floods can happen suddenly and without warning. By planning ahead and remembering these flood safety tips, you and your family can be better prepared if a flash flood affects your area.

 

Chief Robert Spinks, MA, MS

Parsons Police Department

620-421-7060

www.parsonspd.com

 


Have a Safe 4th of July Holiday

Safe and Sane 4th of July

The Parsons Police Department hopes that you are having a fun and safe summer vacation.  The Fourth of July-also known as Independence Day or July 4th-has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

 

July 4th Safety Tips

According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, there are nearly 9,000 emergency room-treated injuries associated with fireworks a year. Here are a few tips on how to have fun but also stay safe on the 4th of July.

  • Never give fireworks to children.
  • Always follow the instructions on fireworks packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never relight a 'dud.'
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

 

Driving Safety Tips

July 4th is the second-most-deadly holiday period of the year - just behind New Year's - due to impaired driving. Drunk driving is a serious crime.  If you're caught we'll place you under arrest.  No exceptions.  No excuses. Much of the tragedy that comes from impaired-driving related crashes could be prevented if everyone would take a few simple precautions before going out to party this Fourth of July holiday. Always follow these tips for a safer July 4th celebration:

  • Whenever you plan on using alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your keys;
  • If you're impaired, call a taxi or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely;
  • Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement;
  • Wearing your safety belt or using protective gear on your motorcycle  is your best defense against an impaired driver;
  • And remember, Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk.  If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

 


The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth

June 19th marks a historical day of remembrance that has often been overlooked of the decades. The following article from the Smithsonian provides great historical context.

Chief Bob Spinks

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On "Freedom's Eve," or the eve of January 1, 1863, the first Watch Night services took place. On that night, enslaved and free African Americans gathered in churches and private homes all across the country awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect. At the stroke of midnight, prayers were answered as all enslaved people in Confederate States were declared legally free. Union soldiers, many of whom were black, marched onto plantations and across cities in the south reading small copies of the Emancipation Proclamation spreading the news of freedom in Confederate States. Only through the Thirteenth Amendment did emancipation end slavery throughout the United States.

But not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. As a result, in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later. Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as "Juneteenth," by the newly freed people in Texas. 

The post-emancipation period known as Reconstruction (1865-1877) marked an era of great hope, uncertainty, and struggle for the nation as a whole. Formerly enslaved people immediately sought to reunify families, establish schools, run for political office, push radical legislation, and even sue slaveholders for compensation. Given the 200+ years of enslavement, such changes were nothing short of amazing. Not even a generation out of slavery, African Americans were inspired and empowered to transform their lives and their country.

Juneteenth marks our country's second Independence Day. Although it has long celebrated in the African American community, this monumental event remains largely unknown to most Americans.

The historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is a community space where this spirit of hope lives on. A place where historical events like Juneteenth are shared and new stories with equal urgency are told.

Source: Smithsonian - National Museum of African American of History and Culture

https://nmaahc.si.edu/blog-post/historical-legacy-juneteenth 


Memorial Day Sacrifice

MEMORIAL DAY AND SACRIFICE

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2021 will occur on Monday, May 31. 

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

My family is a Blue Star Family with one of our Son's, Vince serving as an Army Green Beret Master Sergeant, so the recent celebration of Armed Forces Day on May 15th and the upcoming 245th birthday of the US Army on June 14th holds special significance in our household.   Memorial Day is a hallowed holiday for the many who have sacrificed their all in the defense of our freedoms. I know many in our community have sacrificed for our nation. The Honor Roll in the lobby at City Hall lists the contributors to freedom from Parsons. Today there are many Parsonians who have currently serving family members deployed across the country and around the world this weekend. 

 

Sacrifice

The incredible sacrifices that our military men and women make is indescribable, valiant, beyond heroic, and sometime forgotten by the privileged masses today.

These people, sons and daughters, husbands, and wives, lay their lives on the line for their country, for strangers and especially for the men and women around them.

I hate to compare movies to real world experience, but for many in our country those wide screen experiences are as close to living the military experience they will get.

Recent decades we could look to Restrepo (2010), Lone Survivor (2013), 12 Strong (2018), and many others to get just a glimpse of the sacrifices that have faced serving military members in recent years. Remember that there are about 1.3 million active-duty military personnel, or less than one-half of 1 percent of the country. We demand a lot from this small sliver of our population.

My Father was a Pearl Harbor Survivor on the USS Ralph Talbot a destroyer. Like many families, all my Uncles served in each of the services from Navy, Marine, Army and Army Air Force. There are a couple WWII movies I enjoy.

Watch "Midway." Consider the reality. These pilots, knowing the majority of them were not coming back from their missions, fought to get into those planes, take off and attack their enemy. Marvel at the fact that several of them jumped back into questionable aircraft after experiencing the terror of hundreds of guns firing at them while they tried to hit a moving target that was almost invisible because of the smoke, flak and explosions enveloping their planes. Ponder the sheer horror of watching dozens of their friends being blown out of the sky by anti-aircraft fire.

Band of Brothers. A fact only alluded to in the series is how many of those paratroopers, wounded, went AWOL from the hospital, not to flee the military and avoid the fighting but, incredibly, to return back to the front and join their company in battle! Their sacrifices and the sacrifices of our currently serving military members show amazing bravery. We enjoy the fruits of their sacrifice, living peacefully and safely. Memorial Day is a great day to remember, thank and support.

 

Policing

So those in policing across the United States, many who are also veterans, thank our military members this weekend. We appreciate their sacrifices. The ranks of policing include 1,000,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, again less than one-half of 1 percent of the U.S. population try to partner with our community members to increase the safety and livability of our communities large and small.

In closing, we have to make significant break throughs not just on the faraway battlefields of the world for our military. But, on our local streets. Remember that active shooters are a challenge across the nation. Over 600 mass shootings in 2020, compared with 417 in 2019. That carnage has continued into 2021, with at least 232 mass shootings as of May 26, (including the recent mass shooting in San Jose, Calif). We will talk more about shootings in a future blog.

 

Remember that Memorial Day Weekend is more than the beginning of summer, it's a time to reflect upon service, lives lost and dreams yet to be achieved.

 

Robert Spinks - Chief of Police

 

 

 

Inspired from an editorial by Lt Jim Glennon (ret) at Calibre Press

Data from The New York Times, A Partial List of Mass Shootings in the United States in 2021, downloaded on May 27, 2021 from: https://www.nytimes.com/article/mass-shootings-2021.html


National Police Week - May 9-15, 2021

Nearly 60 years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officer's Memorial Day and the week in which it falls as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

This year, National Police Week will be commemorated with virtual events that can be viewed from anywhere in the world. From May 9-15, the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum will deliver programs to keep current officers safe and healthy, as well as ceremonies to honor those fallen officers whose names have been recently added to the Memorial.

Since January 91 Police Officers have been shot across the United States, with 19 killed by gunfire and 23 shot in ambushes. Even more eye opening is that 60,632 police officers were assaulted in 2018 (the most recent year for statistics). This past year, 5 Parsons Officers were assaulted and injured in the course of making lawful arrests.

The average size of an American police agency is just 25 officers. That is where the meat and potatoes of American policing occurs day in and day out. Policing in small towns is no less dangerous than in large metropolitan areas (in fact statistics show that the risk to police officers in small rural communities is actually greater than in the downtowns of most metro-cities). The difference is that in cities like Parsons, Independence, Coffeyville and hundreds of others, local police officers are active and engaged members of the communities and neighborhoods they police.

The police are you. And the community is responsible for policing their city by engaging in crime prevention (lights, locking doors, reporting suspicious activity), providing necessary resources for professional policing and in owning the livability of their town.

No question, we have seen some illegal, unprofessional, and discouraging acts by a small fraction of the policing community over the past year. Those actions have to be condemned by professional law enforcement and our larger community. Fortunately, our ever-evolving Parsons Police Department continues to lead in meeting regional, state, and national expectations for our work. We are an award-winning police department that is committed to continuous improvement. We have made significant investments in the transparency of our organization.

There is of course much to do - our community is a busy town. Merely making arrests will not solve some of our deep seating community challenges of domestic violence, drug addiction and people in crisis. But we remain open to partnering with all facets of our community. We all live here, we all call Parsons's home, and we will continue in our efforts to WOW our fellow neighbors, friends and Parsonians.

 


AWARD WINNING!

AWARD WINNING!

Yes, your Parsons Police Department is an award-winning law enforcement agency. Recently, I was asked what awards we have received - great question.

Traffic Safety Award

AAA Awards Logo.JPG 

The American Automobile Association (AAA) has a nationwide traffic safety program that recognizes law enforcement agencies that have a combination of community outreach or education, engineering, and enforcement activities with the goal of reducing crashes in their communities.

For the past five years the Parsons Police Department has been an award-winning agency. In 2020, the Department received the AAA Platinum Award. AAA defines this as: Platinum Awards are given to communities that have documented new, perhaps innovative, traffic safety programs, projects, or initiatives for the previous year. These communities have also demonstrated outstanding success with high scores in all scoring categories.

The Parsons Police Department is one of 43 law enforcement agencies - comprising 32 police departments and 11 sheriff's offices - throughout the state that were honored with AAA Kansas Community Traffic Safety Awards for our 2020 work to keep roadways safe through a variety of initiatives and programs, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 26 of the 43 agencies achieved the Platinum status that Parsons did (20 were police departments). There are 371 law enforcement agencies in the State of Kansas.

The awards have been presented annually since 2011 by AAA Kansas to community law enforcement agencies for their efforts to foster and improve local traffic safety successfully and cost-effectively. The agencies are scored and recognized for their efforts in multiple categories, including education, emergency medical response, enforcement and traffic engineering collaborations and solutions.

Excellence in Policy & Training Management

Your Parsons Police Department was also awarded Gold Award Status by Lexipol LLC for Excellence in Policy & Training Management. The program uses metrics that look at the operating policies of the agency, quick policy modifications due to law or court decisions, participation in a daily training bulletin training program, the percentage of staff that have completed the DTB process over the past year and validation that policies have been reviewed and signed off by staff.

Parsons was only one out of 17,985 local law enforcement agencies nationwide. Of those roughly 4,500 were qualified to be a participant in the Lexipol evaluation. Nationwide less than 400 agencies received the Gold Award Status. This equates to Parsons PD being in the top 2.2% of agencies nationwide and in the Top 9% of agencies qualified to participate in the evaluation program nationwide.

What are the Recognition Levels?

Lexipol Award Performance Levels.png

This is how Parsons PD rated:

Lexipol Performance Metrics.png

As you can see, Parsons PD far exceeded the minimum requirements for the Gold status.

Parsons Police Annual Report is a Winner!

Another area that the agency received praise from was part of the 2019/20 CRI-TAC Grant that was administered by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) from the Department of Justice (DOJ). During the exit interview with the team from IACP in reviewing our community outreach efforts, and in developing a community survey (that will be administered later in 2021), the agency was complemented on our Annual Report. We were told that our Annual Report was one of the best in the nation in its thoroughness, transparency, and depth of information.

Annual Reports are not statutorily mandated, but they are the report to the community on work volume, crime rates, arrest and traffic data, crash information, use of force reporting and offer accountability and transparency to the stakeholders of a community - our citizens.

Of course, these awards and other achievements of your police department can occur only through the hard work of the officers and staff of the Parsons Police Department.

 


Partnerships in Parsons: Yes, It Works!

Not quite 3-years ago when I arrived in Parsons, our town was a different place. But, change and evolution is not something that you can stop, even if we'd like those 'good old days' that exist only in our memories.

Policing in Parsons and throughout our region has gotten more challenging and more dangerous over my tenure as Chief of Police. That has meant that developing partnerships and policing smarter has become critical.

For our part, you see some of the best partnerships in policing happening locally. The Labette County Sheriff's Office, Parsons PD, and County Attorney's Office as well as the Juvenile Department and our federal partners (US Marshal's Office, Drug Enforcement Administration) along with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation share information, partner in programming, and investigations and are tied together through our Kansas - Combined Anti-Drug Taskforce (K-CAT).

Sounds like simple common sense doesn't it?

That cooperation is not always alive in all areas of the country. The idea that a Sheriff's Deputy and a city police officer would share 'common ground' as we do in Parsons is the exception and not the rule across the country. Sure personalities, politics - those things impact the criminal justice system just like they do in life in general. Fortunately, that has not been the case in recent years here in Parsons and in Labette County. Labette County Sheriff Darren Eichinger and County Attorney Stephen Jones have been instrumental in working with, listening to, and developing new partnerships that reach throughout SE Kansas to enhance the criminal justice system.

I have had a unique policing career covering four-decades, I've worked in all three of the west coast states as well as in metropolitan and rural venues that have also includes airport, seaport, and railroad operations. I jumped into University policing as a Chief for 6 more years in Louisiana. Needless to say, I've been exposed to all levels of the criminal justice system. Here in Labette County, today - we have some of the best inter-agency relationships, information sharing, and investigative successes ever seen in Labette County. Regardless of big cities or rural venues - things are working, even with strained budgets, in our County. Sheriff Eichinger and County Attorney Jones are not one's to self-promote, but they are the lynch pins in our areas many successes.

A recent drug interdiction effort that resulted in multiple arrests included a team of Parsons PD, Labette Sheriffs, KBI Agents and Chanute PD K-9 Teams.  We are collaborating on training and technology with our other partner police agencies of Independence (Chief Jerry Harrison), Coffeyville (Chief Kwin Bromley) and Pittsburg (Chief Brent Narges) and we want to grow those relationships even more. Without this cross jurisdictional support and teamwork, well things are just more dangerous.

Locally our Department has increased transparency with a new web site that provides a massive amount of information about policing, crime data, prevention tips, podcasts and so much more. You can sign up to receive alerts by text or email. Please visit us at www.parsonspd.com . The COVID-19 Pandemic had us rely more upon social media platforms such as Twitter and www.NextDoor.com . The results have been overwhelmingly successful.

Citizens can't sit on the sideline. Thirty-five years ago, a national campaign was birthed that introduced McGruff the Crime Dog as an American icon that is "taking a bite out of crime."

In the early 1970s, most people thought it was strictly up to law enforcement to prevent crime. However, a group of concerned private citizens and government leaders believed that working individually and collectively, in tandem with the police, could aid in crime prevention.

Since his debut, McGruff has been instrumental in showing adults and youth alike how their involvement can reduce crime. Today more than three out of four Americans believe they can personally do something to prevent crimes from occurring. While crime in general has been reduced from the highs seen in the 1990s, it remains a reality in communities across the nation every day, including Parsons. To this end, it is clear that even with a more diverse, older, technology savvy nation, McGruff the Crime Dog still has a job to do.

In the past quarter-century, McGruff has become more than just a familiar face. He is a true piece of Americana.  We can all "Take A Bite Out of Crime." For more information about the National Crime Prevention Coalition, visit www.ncpc.org. Locally, we have seen a huge increase in citizen participation by adopting our motor of 'See It! Hear It! Report It! Check out the crime prevention and information resources available on-line at the Parsons Police Department's web site at; www.parsonspd.com


Robbery Prevention Tips

Armed Robbery Graphic

Robbery Prevention

Dating back to 1829 (Robert Peele), the police are the public and the public are the police. Law enforcement officers today are merely individuals who focus on policing on a full-time basis, but the community is still responsible in making the city safe. Policing in America has always been a shared responsibility. Unfortunately, that shared responsibility is sometimes forgotten with people thinking they no longer must be engaged, participate, or take responsibility for community safety.

In recent days there has been an armed robbery of a local short-term loan store and a grocery store pharmacy. Those investigations are on-going. Crime continues around us as well in Coffeyville, Independence, Pittsburg . . . Parsons doesn't have a corner on the crime market in our region. But, let's discuss some useful prevention methods - if you have a business then these are worthwhile points for you to review and implement.

Robbery is a crime against your person rather than against your property. If someone breaks into your home or business and takes property from the premises, the crime is called a burglary. However, if you are confronted by an individual on the street or in your home, car or business and force is used or threatened against you, you have become the victim of a robbery.

It is important to remember two things:

  •    Robbers want one thing - your money or property - and they want it quickly. 
  •    Robbery is a risky business and robbers are usually nervous. You do not want to delay a robbery in any way and increase the potential for violence. Give the robber what he or she wants and do it quickly. Do not risk your life, or another person's life, for property.

Be Alert

  •    Robberies occur at predictable times. Opening and closing periods are particularly vulnerable times due to low staffing and large amounts of cash on hand. Lunch hours are primary times for the same reasons. Robberies increase during the holiday season due to the increased cash volume and the presence of large crowds that distract and preoccupy store and company personnel.
  •    Report suspicious activity. If you observe an individual, or occupied vehicle, lingering around your business for a time, or in a manner that makes you suspicious or uncomfortable, write down the license number, color of the car and description of the individual(s) and call the police non-emergency number (620-421-7060). Be sure to inform other employees of your suspicion.

Visibility

  •    Good visibility allows employees to be aware of suspicious activities outside the store. It also increases the chance passersby will observe robberies taking place inside the store.
  •    Keep doors and windows clear. Post any necessary signs to the side, top or bottom of the display windows to allow maximum visibility into and out of the store. This will help customers see your merchandise too.
  •    Locate the cash register in a central place. Keep it in clear view of the door, with the customer's back to the entrance. The register should be visible from the outside.
  •    Keep counter displays low. This allows employees to see over the top. You can also rearrange displays to allow surveillance up and down both sides of each aisle.
  •    Place wide-angle mirrors in strategic locations. This will assist with visibility in blind areas of the store.
  •   Always make sure interior lighting provide good visibility in the store. Outdoor lighting should be even and directed toward the sides of the building, not outward where glare can create hiding places for robbers.

 

Cash Control

  •    Do not keep unnecessary amounts of money in the till. Keep only the amount you will need to conduct normal business and transfer the rest to the bank or a safe. Provide an anchored drop-vault for employees and do not provide them with the key to the safe. Post the fact that you use a drop-vault and, therefore, cannot make change for large denominations.
  •    Drop all checks and food stamps. Allow customers to see you do this and explain why. Ask customers for exact change or the smallest bills possible.
  •    During the evening, take even greater precautions. Check to see that outside lights are on and working. In money order sales, collect money and make your drop before printing the money order. Open unused register drawers and tip them for display.
  •    Make trips to the bank often, varying travel times and routes to reduce predictability. Carry money in a disguised container and have someone accompany you when possible. Do not transport money at the same time every day and do not use the same route every time. If you are making a night deposit, do not approach the deposit unless it is clear of other people. For high risk areas, or when transferring considerable amounts of cash, consider employing an armored car service.
  •    List some serial numbers from larger bills before going to the bank. Be aware of any suspicious persons lingering near the store. Call 9-1-1 if necessary.
  •    Drive or walk directly to an open business, police precinct or fire station, if you feel you are being followed while transporting money.
  •    Prepare marked money. Record non-consecutive serial numbers and series dates of five and ten-dollar bills. Do not use these bills in normal transactions; rather place the money in a till to be included in the money given to the robber. Keep the record of the marked bills in a secure location other than the till or the safe.
  •    Post store policy that no more than some pre-determined amount (often $25 to $50) is kept in the register at one time and that the store will accept no larger than $20 denominations. When the clerk receives the $20 bill it should be dropped immediately. Never place large bills in the drawer under the tray. Robbers know this practice.

Building Security and Security Devices

  •    Control access to the building. Keep all doors locked except the main entrance. Ask employees to use the main entrance.
  •    Install a lock on the back-room door that can be unlocked from the inside. Supply this room with an extra key, a phone, and a panic button. This will enable an employee to summon help if locked in during a robbery.
  •    Create a sense of territoriality. People should feel they are on your turf when they enter the store and not free to do as they wish.
  •    Install a door signaling system like a buzzer/bell. This will alert staff of new arrivals.
  •    Use signs inside and outside the store to emphasize your security policy on limited cash on hand and employee inaccessibility to the safe.
  •    Silent "hold-up" alarms should be considered. Alarm signaling devices can be installed on the floor and tripped by foot, wired to a money clip in the till, hidden under the counter or inside an office or freezer, among other possibilities.
  •    Install a "buddy alarm" system. A simple bell or buzzer connected to the neighboring business can be an effective and inexpensive "panic" alarm. It should not be hooked to lights, for a flicker could warn the robber that an alarm has been sent. It should not be loud enough to be heard by the robber. The alarm should be activated only if there is no possibility of detection. A slight movement or sound could trigger a panicking robber into violence.

Identification

  •    Greet each customer. Establish eye contact and remember their general appearance. Good customer service discourages hesitant robbers as well as other thieves. This attention to detail conveys control and puts people on notice they have been observed and can be identified later.
  •    Place height markings along the vertical frame at the entrance. This allows employees the ability to tell how tall the robber is at a glance so employees can tell at a chance how tall the robber is.
  •    Consider installing a quality video camera and recorder kept high on the wall but visible. Don't use fake cameras. Robbers know the difference. Have several cameras connected to the system, some visible, some not. Only the managers should have access to the tape.

Policy Considerations

  •    Recognize your potential of being held up.
  •    Check references of prospective employees. Do a background check of previous employers.
  •    Keep a file on all employees, including their pictures. Past employees know store procedure and where money is kept. They sometimes share this information with others who use it to plan robberies at the store. Pictures of suspects are much more useful than verbal descriptions.
  •    Re-key locks and alter safe combinations or codes when employees are dismissed for cause.
  •    Establish clear and consistent policies regarding money in the till. Establish how much money will be kept in the till, what bill denominations employees will accept, how to respond to "suspicious" inquires and how to handle loiterers. All employees should be trained and given a written description of store policy. Stress that their commitment to security procedures will reduce their risk of criminal confrontation and physical harm.
  •    Staff should never admit customers to premises after closing hours, particularly when the employee is alone. 
  •    Always maintain adequate staff levels. Be especially careful during opening and closing periods, lunch hours and holiday seasons when there is more money on the site and more distractions.
  •    Store clerks should remain alert to what is going on outside their shop. Carefully observe phone booths, parked cars with people inside and loiterers in the vicinity. Many robbers like to watch and wait for the right opportunity. If a parked car containing several people has been noticed on many occasions, get the license number and a general description of the occupants. Notify the police. A discreet investigation can be made, and no one embarrassed in case the situation is an innocent one. Be sure to notify the individual(s) following your shift of suspicious circumstances.

Leader & Mentor

Dr King Picture

In Observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 18)

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 until his death in 1968. Since 1986, the birth date of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been observed as a federal holiday by the federal government. It should be a day of community and humanitarian service, and interracial cooperation.

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'" - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Given the need to continue to evolve professional policing across the nation, Dr King's words and commitment to non-violent protest are even more important today. This weekend as we celebrate Dr. Martin Lurther King Day, I remember growing up listening and watching how Dr King championed nonviolent protest. I admired the character it took to face violent responses without lashing back. Today more than ever I appreciate his commitment to this principle of nonviolence.

I am also committed to the concept that policing is a Guardianship service first. This merely means that the Parsons Police Department focuses first on being a helping agency before jumping right to our enforcement responsibilities.

Commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with service. Let us give back to our community today or find an opportunity to serve in the near future. Search for volunteer opportunities on: https://www.nationalservice.gov/serve-your-community/mlk-day-service

 


Holiday Cognition with B.F. Skinner

Holiday Cognition with B.F. Skinner

December 9, 2020

     It's the holiday season! Are my follow readers going to again become rats in the maze and respond this season to the psychological traps of the holiday with their spending? This year you can pick which psychological door you will open and follow - let's take a look at the thought processes that 20th Century psychologist B. F. Skinner brought to us.

     Will you follow the operant conditioning mode and follow the trigger of the holiday season and grab that nearest credit card? We've all learned that putting plastic cards into machines will result in goods, services and presents being deposited into our shopping carts with little concern for the unseen and mounting holiday debt. We've grown to love that conditioning.

     Other fellow shoppers will engage in reinforcement and run out to their banks looking for an increase in their line of credit hoping for a low interest rate (positive reinforcement), making the continued ability to buy, buy, buy a pleasant experience, even if only on a temporary basis.

     Not to be forgotten is our superstitious holiday shopper, could this be you?  Last year you were able to juggle credit card balances and credit limits and it worked then.  So it will of course work the same way this year . . . no reason to be like that busy squirrel in childhood cartoons who worked so hard all year saving up nuts for the winter rush. 

     Now this year we have the added community burden of COVID-19. Watching credit cards, balancing holiday gift giving against the need for having food, utilities, rent, car and cell payments is going to be even harder. If you can give, please reach out to helping agencies. If you are in need, also reach out to those same helping agencies, family, and the faith-based community.

     At the end of the holidays when January hits us hard and heavy, who will be left with the cycle of punishment if we haven't or couldn't balance our holiday needs? Skinner would have equated that to being stuck with huge credit card payments and little else left to provide the positive feeling that we bought instead of nurtured during the recent holiday cycle . . . but, heck Spring vacation is just right around the corner, along with a COVID-19 vaccine - right?


HOMICIDES IN PARSONS: A DECADE REVIEW

A recent comment in the social media universe commented about the two homicides in Parsons that occurred this year. The post complained that these homicides were a failure of your police department.

 

  •    1) The first murder occurred in February and was a domestic violence case involving two residents from Montgomery County. The male and female were passing through Parsons, the murder victim was suffocated. The suspect was arrested.
  •    2) The second case occurred in April and was a domestic related murder. The female suspect ran over the Victim (boyfriend) on US 59 south of US 400 in Parsons. The suspect was arrested.

 

Parsons violent crime rate which is lower today than in the previous years of 2017 and 2018. Felony Domestic Aggravated Assaults remain the driving force behind our community's violent crime rate.  Domestic violence is also the leading cause for homicides in Parsons for the past decade too. Last year, there were also 182 domestic violence (misdemeanor) cases. Reduce or eliminate domestic violence in Parsons and our crime rate plummets.

 

Nationwide only 61% of all murders are solved. Over the past decade 100% of the homicides investigated by Parsons PD have been solved.

 

There is one case that we partnered with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) the occurred in mid-2018 which has been assigned to them as the lead agency. That case is an active and viable investigation being handled by KBI.

 

  •     In 2010, there were two murders one in June and one in September. One was drug related and the other involved a family member (domestic related). Arrests were made in both.
  •     In 2011, a juvenile was murdered by a known individual who was the Victim's mother's boyfriend (domestic related). An arrest was made.
  •     In 2013, a multiple murder resulted in the arrest of an individual who had been a stalker. An arrest was made with Parsons PD partnering with KBI.
  •     In 2015, there were two murders that resulted in arrests. One incident was drug related and the other was domestic connected.
  •     In 2017, there was a domestic related homicide that resulted in an arrest.
  •     In 2018, this murder case is being handled by KBI and remains an open and viable investigation.
  •     In 2019, a Suspect committed suicide after a domestic related homicide.
  •     In 2020, as listed above both homicides were domestic related with arrests made in both cases.

 

Domestic violence whether a misdemeanor battery, a felony aggravated assault or a domestic related homicide are tuff crimes to think that law enforcement on our own can prevent. These are crimes that require community investment.

 

The Center for Problem Oriented Policing (POP) has a useful booklet on Domestic Violence that you can download at:

 

https://popcenter.asu.edu/sites/default/files/domestic_violence.pdf

 

The police and fire departments are working to create a Public Safety Advisory Board that Fire Chief Ward and I are working to create. This advisory board will provide input to our Departments and partner with us to identify community challenges to work on. You will hear more about this in the coming weeks.

 

To learn more about how a community can reduce domestic violence visit the following web sites:

 

https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/intimate-partner-violence/index.html

 

https://www.domesticshelters.org/articles/ending-domestic-violence/10-ways-you-can-help-prevent-domestic-violence-where-you-live

 

https://www.theduluthmodel.org/stop-violence-community/

 

Robert Spinks, MA, MS

Chief - Parsons Police Department

www.parsonspd.com

See It!  Hear It!  Report It!


Is Crime Major or Minor?

Violent Crime: Is Crime Major or Minor?

By Chief Robert Spinks, Parsons Police  10/19/2020

When was the last time you saw or heard about a purse snatcher, a robbery, or a violent assault in Parsons?

The FBI uses a measure of Murder, Rape, Robbery and Aggravated Assaults to create a community's violate crime data. By dividing the population into the number of these select id grouped crimes (violent crime) you can create a 'crime rate.'

Interesting, but violent crime must be rampant in Parsons since we hear that on social media. Right?

Wrong!

Every community is unique. Every city wrestles with its own demons. By far the largest demon in Parsons is felony domestic assaults. If that single crime was eliminated, then our community's violent crime plunges.

Certainly, any crime, violent or persons based, or property is too much, especially if you are the victim.

4.5% of the 16,202 incidents that Parsons Police responded to in 2019 involved an incident defined as a violent crime by the FBI.

Parsons dirty secret is that our worst crime occurs not on our streets or alleys, in dark parks or school campuses. The crimes of felony domestic assault (53) and misdemeanor domestic violence (182) as well as rape (8) and even murder (1) have a common thread of partner abuse.

But what about drugs, shootings in the street, and mayhem?

Mayhem is not Parsons. Yes, SE Kansas has long been plagued by illegal drugs - though less than in the glory days of meth and backyard meth labs of a decade ago. Drugs to bring armed confrontation.

The largest issue is that the police continue to make arrests at a substantive rate. Not every crime is solved, but our rate of solvability usually hovers at twice the national average. Last year 671 criminals were booked into the Parsons lock-up serving over 3,000-man days, with many then headed to the Labette County Jail.

But you cannot arrest a community out of crime. Every arrest that is made is a community failure. An arrest is the last option society has to try and remove someone from circulation. But about 98% of all arrestees and incarcerated folks in prison eventually return to local streets.

If socio-economic woes, lack of education, inadequate mental health and helping services as well as safety nets that also include the faith-based community aren't available or have huge holes in their net then we will continue to see revolving doors of victimization.

2019 FBI defined Violent Crime (73 Violent Crimes or 1 every 5 days) :

1 Murder

8 Rapes

9 Robberies

55 Aggravated Assaults

 


HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

Halloween is right around the corner! Kids love this holiday because they can dress up and get free candy! Let us help your kids have some good Halloween memories with a few safety tips.

Some of you kids already know things that you can do to be safe, like how to cross the street, not to talk to or go with strangers and things like that. However, we adults know how exciting Halloween can be and sometimes you forget to be careful.

Halloween Graphic 1.jpg

Here are some tips that we have just for you kids, to help keep you safe on Halloween night.

  • Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
  • Plan a trick-or-treating route in familiar neighborhoods with well-lit streets.
  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don't run from house to house.
  • Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
  • Be careful when you cross a street. Make sure to look in both directions and make sure that there are no cars coming. If you have a little brother or sister with you, take their hand and help them get across the street, too. If the street has a stop light, wait until the cross walk light tells you that it is okay to cross now, but still check before you cross, look both ways.
  • Choose bright costumes, and have children carry flashlights or glow sticks so they are easily visible. (Hint - Try adding reflective tape to costumes and candy bags!)
  • Never, ever go into a strangers house or even ring their door for treats unless your parents are with you and say that it's okay.
  • Always walk younger children to the door to receive treats.
  • Be sure children do not approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless you are with them.
  • Never accept rides from strangers.
  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
  • Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
  • Make sure children know your cellphone number, their home telephone number, and address in case you are separated.
  • Consider giving them a cellphone so they can reach you easily.
  • Teach children how to call 911 in an emergency.

Teach children to say "NO!" in a loud voice if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept anything other than a treat, or leave with them. Tell them to try everything they can to escape, including yelling, hitting, and kicking.

 

Parsons Police wishes that you have a safe and happy Halloween!

 


New Chief's Corner Blog

We are excited about this new feature to the website. Please check back often for thoughts and information from Chief Spinks.


New Parsons Police Dept. Blog Coming Soon

Please check back soon to see our new website blog!