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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 5, 2002
CONTACT: Lara Schopp, (816) 513-3503

Mayor, Police Chief Announce
Operation Neighborhood Preservation Program

Initiative will take action against housing code violators as Police begin serving
outstanding bench warrants to delinquent property owners

Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes and Police Chief Rick Easley today announced the kickoff of Operation Neighborhood Preservation, an effort which will take sustained action against housing code violators who have been issued bench warrants for failing to appear in housing court. The briefing will take place at 10 a.m. in the Mayor's Office on the 29th floor of City Hall.

As a result of a request by the Property Maintenance Advisory Committee, Operation Neighborhood Preservation was developed through the Mayor's ServiceFIRST process and its recent examination of the Department of Neighborhood & Community Services' code enforcement practices. The initiative's goals are to reduce the number of housing code violations by incorporating into the day-to-day activities of members of the Kansas City Police Department's Patrol Bureau the arrest of delinquent property owners who have not maintained their properties according to City code and who have ignored bench warrants to appear in court.

In the past, the Police Department has periodically conducted sweeps of violator properties, arresting property-owners who had been issued bench warrants. Under the new program, the Police Department will work with the Neighborhood & Community Services Department and the Mayor's Office in this effort to incorporate residence checks into their daily activity while delivering other police services to the community.

"The goal of Operation Neighborhood Preservation is to maintain clean and safe neighborhoods in Kansas City. The Neighborhood & Community Services Departments does a good job of identifying and citing property maintenance violations, however, when property owners refuse to take the necessary steps to improve their properties, we must take action," said Mayor Barnes.
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Barnes said that this renewed emphasis on community policing will help to reduce the time code inspectors must spend citing delinquent property owners, will reduce trash and crime in neighborhoods, and because the program will be integrated into the Police Department's current activities, will not be a significant drain on their time or budget. In addition, the Mayor said, the City is exploring with other jurisdictions in metro area, including Kansas, the options regarding serving cross jurisdictional bench warrants.

"We want people to get the message that if you own property in Kansas City, it's your responsibility to take care of it, and if you don't, there are consequences," Barnes said.

For additional information, please call:

Iris Archer, Neighborhood Preservation Division, Department of Neighborhood and Community Services - (816) 513-9060

Chief Rick Easley, Kansas City Police Department - (816) 234-5000

Deb Hermann, Property Maintenance Advisory Council - (816) 454-3763

    
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