The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Chief is willing to do some of the work federal officers and their local counterparts in Parkland, Florida refused to do: take seriously reports of potential mass shooters.
KCPD Police Chief Richard Smith wrote in his blog that officers in Kansas City don’t just think about the possibility of school shooters, they train for it.
“Every officer in our department is well trained and conducts practical exercises for such a horrible event,” he writes in a Feb. 27 blog post.
Smith posted his blog a few weeks after the horrific mass killing at a Florida high school that left 27 dead. There, local police responded 39 times to the home of Nicolas Cruz, the alleged killer, in the lead up to the shooting. The 19-year-old was caught shooting a neighbor’s chickens, stealing mail, vandalizing property, peeping, and stealing a neighbor’s bike. Law enforcement took reports of him posting pictures of himself on social media with guns, and Cruz not allowed to carry a backpack on school grounds after school officials found bullets in his backpack. He was eventually suspended from the school for disciplinary reasons on Feb. 8, but he had no trouble venturing back into school buildings with a weapon on Feb. 14.
The FBI received a tip that Cruz wanted to be a school shooter after he posted the information on YouTube using his real name, but the FBI said it was unable to identify him based on that information.
KCPD’s police chief writes his department takes those threats seriously.
“Just this past week, Kansas City Missouri Police have investigated two school shooting threats. Both times, we tracked down the originators of the threats and interviewed them,” he says. “Because of the unfortunate choices they made, the juveniles who made these threats may face consequences.”
He isn’t certain whether the actions of police stopped mass shootings from occurring, but he writes his officers have come across people who may have been capable of such attacks. He urged citizens to alert police if they are suspicious someone may have foul intent.
“Just one call or comment to an officer can make all the difference,” Smith writes. “It can stop mass shootings and save lives.”
But only if law enforcement listens.