SWAT teams return to Midtown, expand duties

Tactical teams operations are again consolidated at Central Patrol, 1200 E. Linwood Boulevard. Officers are also patrolling the most dangerous areas of the city in an effort to reduce homicides.

The police SWAT teams who handle operation 100s such as hostage situations are now also patrolling the most dangerous areas in the city – and again doing it from the lower level of the Central Patrol station in Midtown.

The patrol station at 1200 E. Linwood Boulevard was built to house the three tactical teams in the 1990s but they were dispersed after that.

Police Chief Darryl Forté, who started the job about a year ago, consolidated them there again in April.

Major Philip Lawler.

“We’ve kind of come full circle,” said Major Philip Lawler, commander of the Tactical Operations Division. Other police at Central Patrol cover almost all of Midtown, from the river to Brush Creek, State Line Road to Prospect Avenue.

The three teams of a dozen tactical officers and two sergeants each still respond to about 30 operation 100s a year. Those operations involve people who lock themselves and sometimes others into a structure.  But the tactical team duties don’t stop there.

Since May, they have also worked help patrol four city hot spots for violence and murder. Forté is targeting those to reduce homicides and build connections with citizens in hopes of getting more witnesses to cooperate.

On Monday morning, the homicide total for this year stood at 94 compared to 89 for the same time last year, but a closer look at the numbers shows the hot spot effort that started in May has had an impact.

From May 10 to Oct. 27, there were 19 homicides in those areas compared to 30 for the same period last year, Lawler recently reported to the city council.

Many of this year’s homicides were early in the year before the hot spot patrols started, he said.

Another effort that Forté supported is about to go into operation with a goal of reducing killings by one third.

That is the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, in which police work with prosecutors, probation and parole, family support groups, social workers and others to either help violent criminals or send those who engage in more violence to prison.

That effort uses police intelligence to identify networks of criminals, including their connections, beefs and alliances.

In his first year in office, Forté has also helped the city get a gunshot detection system that immediately tells police where weapons are fired.

He also recently held the first forum of its kind that involved families of homicide victims meeting with detectives. That earned him praise from the city council and board of police commissioners.

But for now, people keep killing each other. Homicide number 94 happened Sunday evening when a man was found shot dead on the floor in the 4300 block of Northern.



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