sees big jump in larcenies in 2005s
Police chief says department
A recent spike of thefts in Parkville has city officials
questioning their ability to equip the police force with
the tools necessary to get the job done.
One-hundred sixty-two larcenies took place in 2005,
up from 96 in 2004.
Theres got to be something we can do to help
you get these numbers down, Alderman Marc Sportsman
said to Police Chief William Hudson during the board of
aldermen meeting Tuesday night. I want to be able
to tell the citizens, This is what were doing
It being the one crime occurring every 30
hours in Parkville, a statistic Hudson said wasnt
as bad as it sounded.
A lot of the larcenies are shoplifting cases,
Hudson said. And some are repeat offenders. We had
one individual steal whiskey on 12 different occasions.
Several of the others involved minor items like barrettes,
skin cream, and girlie magazines.
Hudson emphasized that these crimes coupled with rising
incidents of both auto theft and fraud are being dealt
with to the best of the department's ability. He says
the biggest setback in keeping a tighter ship is the citys
lack of officers.
Weve run short-handed all year, he
said. Were down two bodies and have been most
of the year.
He said recruiting quality officers is no walk in the
park, requiring more money and benefits for the cream
of the crop to stay.
I think next year we need to look at raising the
salaries, he said. Weve got some good
people and if we want to keep them weve got to pay
them more. Ive pointed out before that were
trying to change our tactics in recruiting. We may start
recruiting people that havent been through an academy.
The large cities send their people through their own academies.
Theyre hired, they go there, and they stay there.
So what we end up with are people that ended up out on
the street without being offered a job after school.
Certain factors initially attract officers to serve in
Parkville, including a health care plan Hudson says is
probably the best in the region. It also gives
the officers the opportunity to work in a department where
a majority of crimes dont go unpunished.
We offer something that a lot of agencies dont,
he said. You can do actual police work here. We
clear 54 percent of the crime because we have the time.
We can run down leads. In Kansas City you just get a report
and thats the end of it. Its too much volume
and they dont have the time we do.
But on the other hand if youre wanting be
a police officer and you want to be where things are happening,
you go to Kansas City where patrolmen top out at around
$60,000 a year.
The absence of other incentives to join the force may
also put retention at a disadvantage.
We dont have a retirement plan. A lot of
the other agencies around have one. A guy goes in, does
20 years and leaves with half-pay. You cant do that
here. Ive got guys who have been here over 20 years
and all they have is the annual five percent we give them.
That would be fine if we were all money managers. But
most policemen are policemen because theyre not
great money managers. Otherwise theyd be something
Sportsman sees the setup in Parkville as a costly cycle.
My two biggest things are prevention and retention,
he said. We need to do whatever it takes not to
get the bottom of the bottom but the top of the top. Every
time we bring an officer on, they get used to the city
and the system and then leave after 12 months. It ends
up being money down the drain.