January saw a slight increase in crashes over January 2023. A total of 13 crashes occurred in Parsons this January with 4 involving injuries. Much of this can be attributed to the snap of cold weather.
A total of 62 arrests were made in January, comporable to 2023. Burglaries and thefts in town took a slight decline over last January's numbers.
Most concerning was the rise in domestic violence calls. Last month police handled 29 incidents, while January of 2023 ad just 13. Mental health calls with people in crisis was similar for the two Januarys with 22 this year and 18 last January.
Dispatch handled 2,555 total phone calls which was down slightly from the year before. But, 210 91-1-1 calls were received. Police responded to a total of 2,229 incidents in January, nearly tying last January.
Foot track into the police lobby soared to 1,000 people verse last January's total of just 380.
A total of 107 animal calls were handled this year with 26 impounded animals.
Social media continues to surprise us. There are now over 5,100 Facebook followers, 282 Twitter followers and 818 households signed up with NextDoor.com. The police web site continues to be busy. In January there were 10,658 unique visits to www.parsonspd.com.
As 2023 wrapped up the Parsons Police Department set new records. Most notable was the increase in arrests made. In 2023, 1,233 arrests were made. This was a ten year high, with 806 arrests made in 2022. This was a 35% increase in arrests.
The Parsons Lock-up processed nearly 600 bookings which totaled over 1,800 person days of incarceration. The lock-up usually holds prisoners long enough to prepare them for transfer to the Labette County Jail.
Drivers received good news with safer streets in Parsons. The number of crashes dropped to a ten-year low of 127 wrecks. This was an 8% reduction over the 2022 total of 138 crashes.
Officers and dispatchers alike were busy in 2023. Dispatchers answered 33,934 incoming phone calls and handled 2,658 emergency 9-1-1 calls (roughly a 26% increase). Officers were dispatched to 29,495 incidents ranging from the benign to the deadly. This was nearly an 8% increase just since 2022.
Animals continue to be a constant challenge. In 2023, 1,55 animal calls were handled and resulted in 537 animal impounds, the investigation of 26 animal bites and 94 Ferrel animals being trapped.
The power of the internet continues to amaze us. Our police website averages nearly 12,000 unique visitors every month. In less than -years our Facebook page acquired over 5,000 followers, and our NextDoor.com app (the electronic version of Neighborhood Watch), has participation by 20% of all Parsons' households.
Outreach continues to be important to provide transparency to the Parsons community. Consequently, the agency issued 79 press releases, conducted 28 radio and TV interviews, posted 44 podcasts on the PD website, and conducted 36 community presentations.
Winter Driving and Crime Prevention Tips
As your Chief of Police, I want to ensure the safety and well-being of our community, especially during the winter months when challenging weather conditions can pose unique risks. In collaboration with the National Highway Safety Administration and KDOT, I am pleased to share some essential tips for winter driving and crime prevention to help everyone stay safe and secure.
Winter Driving Tips:
- Plan Ahead: Check weather forecasts and road conditions before heading out. Allow extra time for your commute and plan your route accordingly.
- Vehicle Maintenance: Ensure your vehicle is winter-ready. Check your brakes, tires, battery, and fluids. Consider installing snow tires for added traction.
- Drive Cautiously: Slow down and maintain a safe following distance. Roads can be slippery, and visibility may be reduced. Use your headlights even during the day.
- Emergency Kit: Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, including a blanket, non-perishable snacks, water, a flashlight, and a first aid kit.
- Stay Informed: Stay updated on weather and road conditions through reliable sources. Be aware of any road closures or advisories.
Crime prevention during winter months is also a partnership between citizens taking proactive prevention steps and officers on patrol. In 2023, well over 1,100 arrests were made by your police officers. But prevention is a far better investment than making an arrest after a crime has occurred. Help us, help you to be crime free in 2023. Here are simple crime prevention tips.
Crime Prevention Tips:
- Home Security: Ensure your home is secure. Lock all doors and windows and consider installing motion-activated lights around the property.
- Holiday Packages: If you are expecting packages, try to have them delivered to a secure location or ask a neighbor to collect them to prevent porch theft.
- Travel Plans: If you are planning to be away, let a trusted neighbor or friend know. They can keep an eye on your property and collect mail or newspapers to give the appearance that someone is home. Do not announce that you will be going on a trip on social media.
- Vehicle Safety: Avoid leaving valuables in your vehicle, especially in plain sight. Lock your car doors, and park in well-lit areas.
- Community Watch: Stay connected with your neighbors and consider signing up with NextDoor.com, the 21st Century electronic neighborhood watch. The Parsons Police Department has nearly 800 homes signed up on this electronic platform. Look out for one another and report any suspicious activity to the police at 620-421-7060.
By following these tips, we can all contribute to creating a safer and more secure community during the winter season. Remember, your safety is our top priority. If you have any concerns or need assistance, do not hesitate to contact your local law enforcement.
Wishing you a safe and enjoyable winter season.
Robert Spinks, MA, MS
Chief of Police - Parsons, KS
Welcome the new year on a good note with these party dos and don'ts.
You may be out late celebrating the new year. Welcome it in safely with these New Year's safety tips.
Be safe in the new year
Plan a ride in advance
On average, driving accidents rise during the holidays, so it's crucial to have a safe ride on a night when so many people are out and about. Don't assume you'll be able to hail a cab. Know your options in advance and decide whether you'll take public transportation, use a ridesharing service or carpool with your friends.
Plan for guests' safety
If you're hosting a party, you'll want to be sure your guests get home safely. One option might be to hire a driver for the evening to provide people a way to get home. Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party ends, provide additional food or snacks and ensure that guests do not drive after drinking.
Make a plan with your kids
Set a reasonable curfew with your kids for their New Year's Eve festivities. If they're old enough to drive, be sure they understand the dangers of driving on the holiday. Encourage them to stay in one location instead of hopping from party to party. Discuss dangers of driving distractions and how to avoid them. A teen passenger and teens driving with friends face a higher safety risk than teens driving alone.
Take care of your pets
New Year's Eve can cause high anxiety in pets. Keep them safe in the house and comfortable by drowning out loud outside sounds. If your pet has a history of high anxiety, consider consulting your vet for anxiety medication.
What to avoid on New Year's Eve
Avoid leaving your car overnight
New Year's Day is the most active holiday for car thefts. If you must leave your car somewhere overnight, be sure it's locked and try to pick it up as early as possible the next day. If you do decide to drive home, let someone know when you leave and when you arrive safely at home.
NORAD Tracks Santa is an annual Christmas-themed program in which North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks Santa Claus, who is said to leave the North Pole to travel around the world on his mission to deliver presents to children every year on Christmas Eve. The program starts on December 1, but the actual Santa-tracking starts at midnight annually on December 23. It is a community outreach function of NORAD and has been held annually since 1955.
According to Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks, "NORAD claims to use radar and other technologies to track Santa, their website provides the tracking of Santa and displays predetermined location information to users. You will be able to see the time when SE Kansas and Parsons is visited by the Jolly Man himself by using the NORAD Stana Tracker web site or app."
You can visit the NORAD Tracks Santa web page at: www.noradsanta.org or visit the App Store and search for 'NORAD Track Santa.' This is a free app.
"The Parsons Police Department 9-1-1 Center plugs into NORAD Command using the NORAD Tracks Santa web page. We provide NORAD and Santa with updated weather information for SE Kansas to assist Santa and his reindeer with the best possible routes to our local communities," says Parsons Communications Director Marti Shields.
NORAD relies on volunteers to make the program possible. Each volunteer handles about 40 telephone calls per hour and the team typically handles more than 12,000 e-mails and more than 100,000 telephone calls from more than 200 countries and territories. Most of these contacts happen during the 20 hours from 4 a.m. on December 24 until midnight MST on December 25.
You can learn about NORAD Headquarters, visit the Library at Santa's Village to learn about Santa, his magic sleigh, and holiday traditions or watch movies about Santa and NORAD at the Theater!
"The Parsons Police support this national program to expand the knowledge about Santa and the technology that is used today to ensure his safe passage through U.S. airspace.," said Deputy Chief Dennis Dodd.
FREE GUN LOCKS AVAILABLE NOW!
Through a generous grant from the Parsons Area Community Foundation in partnership with the Parsons Police, Labette Sheriffs Office and the Parsons Chapter of Moms Demand Action, free gun locks are available for the Holiday Season at the front counter of the Parsons Police Department.
"Practicing safe gun storage protects our kids, prevents accidents, and keeps guns out of the reach of criminals," said Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks.
Gun locks are available free 24 hours-a-day at the Parsons Police Front Lobby located at 217 North Central in Parsons.
Locks will be given away until the current supply is exhausted.
For additional gun safety rules checkout:
It's Never Too Late to Donate!
Thanks to the many people who donated to support Shop-With-A-Cop at the recent Main Street Christmas Concert that starred The Duke Mason Band!
You can still make a donation if you missed the concert. We are collecting donations until Friday, December 15th. You can drop off a donation or make a check to the Parsons Police Department at 217 North Central, Parsons, KS 67357. Donations are accepted 24 hours-a-day at the front counter of the police department.
Help make this the best Christmas ever for children who need that extra helping hand during the holidays.
The Parsons Police Department's Shop with a Cop Program collaborates with the Parsons School District USD 503 and is a cherished initiative that aims to build positive relationships between law enforcement officers and local youth while providing them with an unforgettable holiday shopping experience. The program not only helps foster trust and understanding but also ensures that children of families who are struggling with hardships in the community have the opportunity to enjoy a festive season.
"We are extremely grateful for the overwhelming support we received during the Duke Mason Concert," said Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks. "The generosity of the community and the success of this event will make a significant impact on our Shop with a Cop Program, allowing us to bring joy to even more children in need."
The funds raised will go directly towards ensuring that the Parsons Police Department can continue its Shop with a Cop Program, providing local children with the opportunity to create lasting memories during the holiday season.
Mark your calendars to attend the Main Street Christmas Concert on Saturday, December 2nd at 7pm at the Parsons City Auditorium at 112 South 17th in Parsons.
The headline group will be The Duke Mason Band!
In the spirit of giving to others during the holiday season, a freewill offering will be taken to help support the Parsons Police Department's SHOP WITH A COP Program.
For more information, call 620-421-7032 or visit: www.parsonsauditorium.com
Funds raised got to the SHOP WITH A COP Program. The more donations raised - the more kids that can be helped!
Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 21st from 10 am to 4 pm and come out to the 2nd Annual Parsons Public Safety Fair. Police, Fire, EMS and Med-Flight along with other helping agencies will be on-site.
There will be a ton of safety information and displays. The irst 500 attendees will receive a FREE Child Identification Kit!
The Fair will be at the Parsons Convention Center at 1500 Cattlemans Drive right next door to the Holiday Inn Express.
Don't miss this fun filled and exciting event!We'll see you at the Fair.
The Labette County Sheriff's Office and Parsons Police Department are sharing a joint update on the review of K9 Karim's passing.
As previously shared in the media the Sheriff's Office was asked to review our K9's passing with an outside investigative eye. That investigation continues. AT the same time the Parsons Police Department placed the K9 Handler on administrative leave and opened a personnel investigation to determine if any policy or work rules had been violated.
K9 Karim was taken to the Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. A legal (in depth) necropsy was performed by the College's Diagnostic Laboratory staff. The final report has not yet been completed and both the Sheriff's Office and police department are awaiting that report.
In talking with the Chief Pathologist, the results of the toxicology tests are expected soon. These tests go along with the physical examination for poison, medical conditions, communicable disease tests, examination of organs for any chronic disease, etc.
The Handler is represented by private counsel and has been interviewed by the Sheriff's Office along with other individuals. Because of a scheduling conflict with the Handlers attorney the police personnel interview (called a Garrity Interview) is waiting for the attorney to return to work.
This investigation, like all police work, is designed to find the facts. To rush to judgment or to take shortcuts would not only be a disservice to the Handler but would be an affront to K9 Karim.
The Sheriff and I have nearly 80 years of combined police expertise along with direct experience with K9 program supervision and management. From the start of this process, we said that the outcome of the joint investigations would be shared as would the necropsy report.
K9 Karim remains a loved and respected member of the Parsons Police Department. He is respected and missed by every officer and staff member at the police department. We worked with Karim, played with Karim, and miss his presence each and every day.
For anyone in the social media world to suggest anything else is asinine. Neither agency will respond to the rare but nonsensical posts in social media, but we will continue to use our media contacts and social media platforms to update the public.
Through joint investigations the City Manager, City Commission and local media have received updates.
On Friday, September 22nd Deputy Chief Dodd, Lt Ludwig and myself picked up K9 Karim's cremation ashes at KSU. We met with the diagnostic staff and presented them with K9 Challenge Coins and thanked them for their professional and caring handling of K9 Karim.
It was a long and sorrowful drive back to Parsons with K9 Karim. K9 Karim turned over to the Wall Funeral Home where he will be cared for until his memorial service is scheduled. That service will be held after the investigations into his passing are completed.
The memorial service will be held at City Hall in the municipal auditorium, date and time will be announced later.
We appreciate the donations received in K9 Karim's memory and those have been placed into the Police K9 Foundation account at the Parsons Area Community Foundation.
We're Listening - A Citizen Asked a Question . . .
Traffic Fines Must Bring in a Bundle for City Hall, Right?
A few weeks ago, the police staff noticed a discussion on Facebook, with citizens making comments and some wildly inaccurate statements about traffic enforcement and ticket revenue. We all know that traffic tickets are the easy way to balance any city budget and pull in tons of revenue, right?
The police department emphasizes the use of the lowest level of enforcement to gain the highest level of voluntary compliance. Officers have discretion to issue a verbal warning, written warning and/or traffic citations or in the case of traffic crimes make an arrest. Officers look at the totality of circumstances when enforcing traffic laws, not at generating the most citations. The ultimate goal with traffic enforcement is to reduce traffic crashes and ensure the safety of not only vehicles but also pedestrians and bicyclists. Traffic enforcement is not a huge revenue generator for the City, and it should not be. The revenue generated from tickets and arrests is listed below along with the cost of operating the municipal court, jail costs and medical care of prisoners.
The result of our efforts with traffic enforcement has been a multi-year reduction in traffic crashes, and that is the primary reason for traffic enforcement. There are secondary reasons - we find many, many wanted people driving, we make drug arrests and seize illegal narcotics from traffic stops, not to mention suspended drivers or individuals with no vehicle insurance.
Oh, we hear about a one or two Facebook warriors complaining about seatbelt enforcement. Yet only 3% of all traffic citations last year involved a seatbelt violation, usually with a warning for some other driving violation.
How Many Tickets?
Let's take a look at revenue from those pesky traffic tickets. First, not everyone that our officers stop for a traffic violation receives a ticket. We want officers to use common sense in their enforcement. They have the discretion (as all police have) to look at the totality of the circumstances for each vehicle stop. Does it make the most sense to issue a verbal warning, a written warning, issue a citation for one violation or several?
Of the 2,040 vehicle stops made last year, 736 citations were issued or roughly 36% of vehicle stops resulted in a traffic ticket.
Ok, you might say, but what about that big bundle of money that City Hall must get from tickets as well as other misdemeanor crimes like disorderly conduct, assaults, and thefts? The Municipal Court must be a real money maker, right?
In 2020 the net positive revenue from municipal court cases was $1,295.08 which went to the City's General Fund, in 2021 $14,274.25 went to the General Fund, and in 2022 $15,075.48 went to the General Fund.
Where did all of the money go then? Court operations, assessment fees that are required to be paid to the State, daily jail charges for prisoners lodged in the county jail on municipal charges (misdemeanors) and prisoner medical costs.
You can see the play-by-play costs associated with enforcing misdemeanor and traffic charges by visiting our NEW Traffic Safety Corner page on the Parsons Police web site at: www.parsonspd.com/traffic-safety-corner
AUGUST MONTHLY ACTIVITY REPORT
Previous year totals for domestic violence were 168 in 2018, 182 in 2019, 176 in 2020, 136 in 2021, and 121 in 2022.
JUNE MONTHLY ACTIVITY REPORT
Calls for service totaled 2,454 in June that were handled by officers with the year-to-date total being 14,475.
Officers continued to be active responding to community needs in May. Officers made 97 arrests bringing the year to date total to 648.
Crimes against persons (murder, rape, robbery, assault) involved 2 battery's in May. While crimes against property (burglary, theft, criminal damage) totaled 10 burglaries (YTD 64), 50 thefts (YTD 253), and 17 criminal damage reports (YTD 412).
Domestic violence continues to be a significant community problem with 17 domestic violence cases in May. The YTD total for DV cases hit 176.
There were a total of 8 crashes with 3 involving injuires and the rest being property damage. YTD there have been 63 crashes.
Dispatch remains a busy area in the police department, they handled 3,452 incoming phone calls (YTD 17,877) with an additional 295 9-1-1 Emergency Calls were received. The police lobby handled 395 citizen visits to the police department (YTD 2,272).
Our Community Service Officer (CSO) Program responded to 102 animal calls (YTD 804) and impounded 55 animals (YTD 255).
I recently sat down with Ike and Cameron Reitemeier for their 'Big Hill Small Talk' podcast. This weekly podcast is a local production that hosts a wide range of local and regional leaders, performers, story tellers and more from SE Kansas.
We talked about crime, perceptions of crime, the struggle with recruitment and retention, the impacts of social media and the need for greater transparency in policing, and so much more. Of course we talked about the revolving door of justice and the impact that the court system has on public safety.
Tune in to hear a candid interview:
MAY MONTHLY ACTIVITY REPORT
Calls for service totaled 2,606 in May that were handled by officers with the year-to-date total being 12,122.
Officers continued to be active responding to community needs in May. Officers made 205 arrests bringing the year to date total to 551.
Crimes against persons (murder, rape, robbery, assault) involved 1 battery in May. While crimes against property (burglary, theft, criminal damage) totaled 11 burglaries (YTD 54), 44 thefts (YTD 203), and 19 criminal damage reports (YTD 335).
Domestic violence continues to be a significant community problem with 46 domestic violence. May saw 46 DV cases bringing the YTD total to 159.
There were a total of 10 crashes with two involving injuires and the rest being property damage.
Dispatch remains a busy area in the police department, they handled 3,079 incoming phone calls (YTD 14,425) ith an additional 277 9-1-1 Emergency Calls were received. The police lobby handled 375 citizen visits to the police department (YTD 1,877).
Our Community Service Officer (CSO) Program responded to 137 animal calls (YTD 702) and impounded 48 animals (YTD 200).
The death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis (TN) police officers is appalling and indefensible.
The brutality suffered by Mr. Nichols and the failure of any of these individuals to intervene is sickening and leaves everyone, including police officers, disgusted, infuriated, and outraged. Our thoughts go out to Mr. Nichols' family, his friends, colleagues, and community.
The individuals involved have rightly been fired and criminally charged in the death of Tyre Nichols. There is no excuse for their actions. They have betrayed their oath of office, disgraced the law enforcement profession, and brought shame on the officers across the nation who work selflessly each day to protect their communities.
As police leaders we remain committed to emphasizing dignity and respect for all and instilling within our agencies a fundamental commitment to the preservation of human life. But we must, and will, do more. We must remain committed to working together in partnership with community members, advocacy organizations, elected officials, and others to build a future that ensures dignity, security, and justice for all.
Statement from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
Endorsed by Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks (Life Member of IACP)
The 12 Days of Holiday Safety
In the true spirit of the season, and to help keep family and friends out of harm's way, here are some tips and helpful hints for The 12 Days of Holiday Safety:
On the First Day - prepare for the holidays and safety. Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. If you live in an apartment or are staying in a hotel, know where the fire alarms and emergency exits are located.
On the Second Day - make a plan. Your family may not be together when an emergency occurs. Plan how to meet or how to contact one another, and discuss what you would do in different situations.
On the Third day - think about special needs. Establish a personal support network of friends, relatives, health-care providers, and neighbors who understand your personal needs. Write down details about accommodation needs, allergies, family medical history, medical conditions, etc.
On the Fourth Day - decorate with safety in mind. Never leave burning candles unattended and keep them away from children and pets, decorations and wrapping paper. Cut candlewicks short to prevent a high flame, and if candles are used in a centerpiece, make sure candles don't burn low enough to ignite decorations.
On the Fifth Day - make your tree safe. When buying a real tree, check that it is fresh (needles are hard to pull off). Water the tree daily - trees can consume up to a gallon of water a day. Place the tree away from high traffic areas, doorways, heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles. If young children are around, use safe decorations.
On the Sixth Day - keep lights bright. Make sure you use indoor lights inside your home and outdoor lights outside. Check the light strings and extension cords, throwing out any that are frayed or have exposed wires, loose connections or broken sockets. Never run electrical cords through doorways or under carpets. Turn off all holiday lights before you go to bed or leave your home.
On the Seventh Day - choose appropriate toys. Always follow age recommendations when choosing toys for children.
On the Eighth Day - get ready for severe winter weather. Blizzards, ice storms, and high winds can develop quickly. Set up weather alarms on your smart phone or listen to local radio or television stations for severe weather warnings and
On the Ninth Day - prepare your car for an emergency. Install winter tires and make sure windshield washer fluid is always filled. Prepare a kit to keep in your vehicle in case of an emergency, with items such as a blanket, a candle in a deep can and matches, and first aid kit with a seat belt cutter.
On the 10th Day - prevent illness. A flu shot is the safest and most effective way to prevent infection, reduce the severity of the symptoms if you do get sick, and to keep from spreading the virus to others.
On the 11th Day - learn first aid. Knowing first aid could save a life.
On the 12th Day- know the risks. All across the United States, we face a number of natural disasters, such as earthquakes and wildfires in California, blizzards in Dakota, ice storms in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma and Winter Snowstorms in the Northeast and Midwest. Knowing the risks where you are can help you better prepare and eliminate stress... especially during the holiday season.