Archive for Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Patrolling city streets a quiet shift for police

July 25, 2001

As other police departments in the Kansas City metro area are kept busy by high crime rates, officers from the Basehor Police Department quietly patrol the streets with few disturbances.

On Saturday, July 21, during a ride-along with two different officers from the Police Department from 9 p.m. to 2:45 a.m., the crickets were louder than the streets in Basehor.

In the nearly six hours spent with the officers, there was one call for medical assistance, no traffic tickets given, and a group of people warned about the illegal nature of urinating on the side of the road.

"That is about as illegal as it gets," Officer Dick Boultinghouse said to a group of motorists on 150th Street.

The group of three took the comment as a sign to quickly leave the area before receiving a citation from Boultinghouse.

Boultinghouse has been on the Police Department for 10 years and normally works the shift of midnight to 10 a.m. He said he doesn't mind the quiet nights, but sometimes a little action doesn't hurt.

"You got to have something so the sleep monster doesn't kick in," Boultinghouse said.

During the course of a patrol on the weekend, there are at least a few calls that come into the officer on duty, Officer Rachel Sherer said.

Sherer patrols the city from 2 p.m. to midnight when Boultinghouse relieves her.

"It's going to be quiet tonight, but we might get something after the concert is over," Scherer said.

On Saturday night, the rock group Aerosmith performed at the Sandstone Ampitheatre.

Scherer said concerts at Sandstone sometimes mean more speeding tickets are written or arrests made for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Any arrest made for a DUI earns the violator a ride

Leavenworth County Jail, Scherer said.

On the other hand, concert nights could mean giving out directions to people that were lost and trying to find their way home, Scherer said.

After the concert is over, Scherer mans her post at a location along Kansas Highway 24/40. Officers from the Police Department cannot give speeding tickets to motorists traveling east on the highway because it is out of the departments jurusdiction. Anyone heading west is fair game, Scherer said.

Scherer parks the car in a dark area and turns off all the lights. A radar gun is switched on and the speeds of the oncoming cars flash up on the screen. To no luck, for the next 20 minutes and the rest of her shift, Scherer does not catch anyone speeding.

Part of the responsibilities of the on-duty officer during the night shift is to make sure the employees of the Casey's General Store lock up and exit the business without incident.

Up to this point, there has been no activity in the city although the big event of the night comes up quickly.

While contemplating the difference of a Mounds bar or a Kit Kat, a call comes in for medical assistance at a residence on North 155th Terrace. The adrenaline is now flowing as the squad car races down 155th Street at a high rate of speed.

Shortly after arriving at the residence, Scherer learns that an elder male is complaining of chest pains. Scherer enters the residence and begins checking out the patient. A local paramedic and an Emergency Medical Service unit arrived shortly thereafter, and the patient is taken to the hospital.

"I like to help people," Scherer said. "Sometimes there won't be a call all night and sometimes you are busy the whole night. I never want to go to a bigger city to work. It is quiet here."

Following Scherer's shift, the ride-along switched to a different patrol car under the helm of Boultinghouse.

Before beginning any patrol, Boultinghouse makes a point to check the calibrations on the radar gun. This is done in part for the sake of the motorists as well as the officers on patrol.

"Lawyers like to use it as a trick if you have to testify in court," Boultinghouse said. "This way when they ask if you checked the calibrations you can say yes."

Aside from learning about the finer details of the radar gun and the locations of the most costly speed traps, Boultinghouse's shift was quiet, a trend that would continue through the heat of the night and into the coolness of the morningin the back of the patrol car and a night's stay in the

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