Police chief pledges crackdown on 'few deviants' at Country Club - KCTV5

Police chief pledges crackdown on 'few deviants' at Country Club Plaza

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Problems with youth traditionally have been a problem at the Country Club Plaza in warmer months when school is out, but issues are again flaring up.

Police Chief Darryl Forte said the issue is one for the community but said he is working to complete a plan to deal with the issues. He said he will then share the plan with stakeholders and hopes to get wrapped up by the middle of the week.

Councilman Jermaine Reed said the council may need to look at tightening up the city's curfew law. He praised the police department's handling of the situation Saturday night.

"Kids need to be behave appropriately when out in public," he said.

Kansas City police were first called to Cinemark Palace, located at 500 Nichols Rd., about 8:15 p.m. on a large disturbance involving about 150 juveniles.

Police said they dispersed the unruly group; however, they scattered through the Plaza.

There were three fights reported with four getting ticketed for the problems. 

Three of those ticketed were in their late teens and are considered adults. One was a juvenile.

The citations were issued based on behavior, not race, Forte said in a Twitter post.

"Expect more citations to be issued in the near future," Forte said.

Forte said that more citations are likely to follow. He said police will do everything in their power to tackle this issue.

"Plaza is a great place to visit. Most kids are well behaved. The few disorderly kids stand out. We'll give the non-compliant attention," Forte wrote. "We're going to continue to do everything we can to identify and impact the few deviants while allowing others peace."

In 2010, Kansas City drew national headlines after out-of-control youth brawled on the Plaza.

The Kansas City Council passed a beefed up curfew ordinance in 2011 after shootings occurred just feet from Mayor Sly James, who had been checking out whether the issues on the Plaza needed a curfew. Most of the issues occur as large groups of youth congregate near the movie theater during the warmer months, especially when school lets out. 

The city has vowed to do more to provide recreational opportunities for youth, but that has had limited success.

Plaza business owners say issues flare up all too often despite the curfew.

Those working and enjoying the Plaza Saturday night described a chaotic scene with high school-age kids running through the streets and police rushing to the scene.

"It's kind of a growing problem," said Kelly Griffin, a manager at Brio Tuscan Grille.

John Szudarski, another manager at the restaurant, said he would like to see a further crackdown to avoid even more problems.

"I've seen lots of things happen where they push people down in the street. They walk across our patio and knock people's drinks over. They are not very courteous kids," he said.

Some groups are already talking to teens about what happened this weekend.

"The city is theirs just like anyone else's, so we want to encourage our kids to take advantage of what's going on positive in the city," said YMCA Director Stephanie Smith. "We know families that play together stay together, so we like to encourage our families to be together."

She said parents and community leaders must help teach respect and self-worth. The hope is to provide outlets for children that help them avoid fighting and arguments.

Some young people already walk the walk.

Stanley Taylor, 25, is teaching his 9-year-old brother, J.T., to stay calm and out of trouble.

"It's making sure kids can do something better with their time. It's not all about fighting or bickering or petty things that are irrelevant," Taylor said. "Let's figure out some kind of way to solve this problem in the community that's tearing us apart."

To see Forte's tweets, click here.

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