Kansas City, KS police will now chase everyone who flees with pr - KCTV5

Kansas City, KS police will now chase everyone who flees with probable cause

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The Kansas City, KS Police Department announced a new crime initiative Tuesday aimed at decreasing crimes the police chief says are skyrocketing. (KCTV5) The Kansas City, KS Police Department announced a new crime initiative Tuesday aimed at decreasing crimes the police chief says are skyrocketing. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

The Kansas City, KS Police Department announced a new crime initiative Tuesday aimed at decreasing crimes the police chief says are skyrocketing.

In 2014, KCK police chose not to chase criminals, and now they are saying that could have led to the problem. Police Chief Terry Zeigler says it’s time for a change.

Two innocent people, 62-year-old Garciela Olivas and 8-year-old Jasmine Rodriguez, were killed in two separate crashes over the span of two months in 2014.

While Zeigler says his thoughts and prayers are with the families of innocent people killed in such chases, he says the criminals who fled are to blame.

Since their deaths, KCK police chose not to get involved in police chases unless the suspects had already committed a serious felony. Three years later, crime rates are up drastically, and Zeigler hopes a new plan, launching in June, will help.

“We’re going in the wrong direction and it’s time for us to change that,” Zeigler said. “It’s been on a sky rocket trajectory since 2012.”

In 2012, there were 22 homicides in KCK and 144 drive-by shootings. By 2016, homicides had more than doubled, jumping to 47. Drive-bys also increased to 286. In that time, police stopped chasing criminals unless it was a serious felony

Under that rule, if someone got pulled over for a traffic stop, they could just drive away and police would not be able to chase them, and criminals caught on. But years later, Zeigler says he has proof that traffic stops are how crimes are prevented.

Now, he says they will chase everyone who flees police as long as they have probable cause.

The new initiative, Project Act: Addressing Crime Together, will specifically help a historically crime-ridden area of KCK. Through the initiative, Zeigler looked at years of data to find where the most homicides and drive-by shooting occurred in KCK.

Through his research, he found that the area between Seventh Street and 18th Street and from Grandview Boulevard to North Pacific Avenue was best suited for the initiative.

Police surveyed and questioned 600 people in the area, and found that neighbors and police have the same concerns, drugs, drive-by shootings, burglaries and traffic issues. Now, officers won’t just be chasing but also stepping up patrols and working with community leaders.

“My message to them is this: KCKPD is going to be out there. Probably going to be some people going to jail some bad people are going to jail,” Zeigler said.

The new crime initiative begins June 1.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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