Crime down, needs up for Grandview police

GRANDVIEW - The rate of major crime in Grandview is the city's lowest in at least a decade. It's been slashed by half in a span of just five years. That's according to figures provided by Police Chief Dave Charvet yesterday, Tuesday, during a Grandview City Council retreat. Grandview's major crime stats show just 382 were committed in 2012, compared to 450 in 2011 and 776 in 2007. "Is it because we're doing a better job? I could say that, but the state and national trends are that crime is declining," Charvet says. "When you hear other agencies say they're doing a better job of fighting crime, well, everybody's doing a better job." Charvet's was one of several staff presentations during yesterday's retreat to bring council up to speed heading into budget preparations this fall. In wide-ranging comments, Charvet encouraged the city to promote from within when he retires in January 2014. That includes promoting Assistant Chief Kal Fuller to Charvet's chief post. Charvet also called for a committee to look at future police needs in Grandview. Mayor Norm Childress replied that he's not a fan of committees, preferring instead to let council move issues forward. At the same time, the mayor said he would be open to the idea of a police committee and Charvet's suggestions for transition within the department after he retires. Further information shared with council included a crime report - "it's a program we can run without hiring a crime analyst," Charvet said - showing the number of arrests made for each day of the week and each hour of the day during 2012. For example, the only days and times without any arrests were Saturdays between 6 and 7 a.m. and Tuesdays between 2 and 3 a.m. The busiest time for arrests last year, by contrast, was Wednesdays from 9 to 10 a.m. when 49 arrests were made in 2012. Overall, Wednesday was the busiest day for Grandview police with 314 arrests on that day in 2012. Looking ahead, Charvet says there are many needs facing the Grandview Police Department. They include: - Hiring more police officers. Grandview has 17 officers serving a population of nearly 11,000. The per capita rate of officers to citizens in Grandview is just 1.56 per 1,000 population, says Charvet. "We're down five officers to get the job done," Charvet told council. "It's important you know that so they don't run ragged." He provided statistics showing that in 2012 Grandview police issued more traffic citations than ever before. Last year's total of 2,870 citations saw a more than 60 percent spike in tickets for cell phone violations, nearly 50 percent uptick in stop light/sign violations and a more than 40 percent surge in seatbelt violations. - A new police station and jail. The current building is more than 70 years old - it was officially opened by Charvet's grandmother, Grandview's mayor at the time - and he says it poses a safety issue to staff and inmates. Charvet says the booking area, for example, is so cramped he's surprised there haven't been assaults on officers. Including land purchase, a new jail/police station site would cost in the vicinity of $10 to $12 million, he estimates. - Updated computers for Grandview's police vehicles, as Charvet noted the ones in use now were already three years old at the time they were purchased. - Increased training opportunities. Charvet noted the $5,000 budgeted for this year was not enough. "During budget time I'm not following Dave because there won't be any money left," Childress quipped after Charvet's at times passionate appeal. On a serious note, the mayor suggested bond approval by Grandview voters would likely be required for a new police/jail facility. "I know the community hasn't been receptive to bond issues," Childress said of a failed bond vote a few years ago for a new pool. "But this is a public safety issue. At some point the people have to put their money where their mouth is."


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