Archive for Thursday, June 9, 2005

Council OKs new police detective

June 9, 2005

CSI: Basehor.

So maybe the hiring of the city's first-ever full-time investigator isn't as glitzy as the popular television sleuth series, but Basehor Police Chief Terry Horner said it does signal the city's willingness to solve elusive crimes and further protect the public.

"I think it's a start in laying the foundation for what's coming to the city of Basehor," Horner told Basehor City Council members Monday night.

At Monday night's city council meeting, Horner received near unanimous approval, on a 4-1 vote, to hire a full-time investigative officer. City council president John Bonee was the lone vote in opposition.

In recent weeks, Horner has contended that his department was falling behind on investigating crimes because an increase in crimes that require probes was taking patrol officers off the streets. Monday night, Horner had several voices of support.

Horner told council members that officers from the police department wanted to attend the meeting in support of the position, but that he asked they not attend and let the city council make its own decision.

But two Basehor residents lent support to the hiring.

"We do need additional law enforcement in this town," Ed Bush said. "We don't have a lawless city here but we do have problems."

Dennis Mertz agreed. Mertz said he doesn't want patrol officers out investigating cases. "I need them near my home," he said.

He also said he's reported two minor thefts from his Basehor home and local police officers didn't have the time to investigate the case because patrol duties called them away.

"A patrol officer just does not have enough time to handle it," Mertz said. He added, "There's a difference in what a patrol officer does and what an investigator is for the city."

The police chief said the investigator would be responsible for searching for and apprehending alleged criminals, interviewing suspects, obtaining information about crimes and serving search and arrest warrants, among numerous other duties.

Horner said the investigator would answer to the police chief, but that "once an investigator shows up at the scene of a crime, he becomes the officer in charge."

The investigating officer will earn approximately $30,000 per year, plus benefits.

Although she voted in favor of the hiring, City Council member Iris Dysart expressed reservations. She said she received several telephone calls from Basehor residents and "they were all negative" regarding the investigator position.

Bonee said he'd "struggled" with the decision. He said that "my gut tells me we're too small" and that one of his primary concerns was how paying the additional salary would affect city coffers.

Horner said the new investigator must have at least three years of experience as either a full-time police officer or in a related field and that the officer initially would work under a six-month probationary period.

The police chief said he's willing to interview all interested candidates, but did not rule out hiring from within the police department.

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