Mission Police Department adding specialized unit to focus on analyzing crime trends, solving problems

The Mission Police Department is adding a Directed Patrol Unit next year to build cases, analyze crime data and solve problems.

The Mission Police Department is creating a special unit of two police officers dedicated to solving problems, building cases and analyzing crime trends in the community.

Cap. Dan Madden said the officers, who will likely be hired internally, will receive specialized training as the police department’s first Directed Patrol Unit.

“They’re essentially a problem-solving unit, being able to look at and interpret data, and know where to get it,” Madden said.

The officers in the Directed Patrol Unit will function like a hybrid of patrol officer and investigator, taking a look at crime statistics and piecing together data to build cases.

“A lot of our crime tends to happen in sprees — like the business burglaries from last week; if we’re going to have one, we’re going to have five — so it makes it challenging, being in a metropolitan area,” Madden added. “You have all of these agencies pulling data; it’s all out there if you have the right resources and the right contacts.”

Madden said the specialized unit will also focus on fostering relationships with important contacts between law enforcement agencies, but especially in the greater community — for instance, the maintenance staff at an apartment complex, which sees all the activity in and out of the area — to begin turning information into intelligence.

“Our patrol unit is great, investigators are good, but we don’t have that ‘Let’s reach out and put our ears down, see what’s going on in our community that we can address,’” he said. “Once you start to build that data and you get the programs in place to analyze the trends — not just here in Mission but what’s happening in Overland Park and Lenexa and Prairie Village — you can start to build better trend maps and hot spots, and do some analysis and predictions about next steps in what a crime series is going to do.”

Madden said he hopes the unit will be able to address problems in the city “that nobody wants to talk about” such as drugs and areas of regular criminal activity.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Madden said. “I think what we’ll find is after they get up and running and have some opportunity for training and get some experience… probably, you’re going to see a spike in drug arrests or some of the crimes our numbers usually aren’t too high in because we’re going to have people dedicated to it, dedicated to looking for this stuff.”

The city council last month approved its 2020 budget, which includes funds dedicated to the Directed Patrol Unit. Salary and benefits for the two officers in the unit were estimated at $135,000, as well as a new low-profile, fully-equipped police vehicle at $70,000 out of the city’s general fund, according to city documents.

The police department may start the process of adding the Directed Patrol Unit in January.