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Clay County Sheriff opens substation at Wheeler Downtown Airport

The Clay County Sheriff’s office recently opened a substation office at the Wheeler Downtown Airport, a move they say will save money, improve efficiency and allow them to assist other law enforcement agencies.

The substation in Hangar Two at Richards Road opened for operations on June 12. Deputies who work in the road patrol, fugitive apprehension and civil processing units use the office to write field reports and perform other administrative duties, said Sheriff Paul Vescovo.

“When police think of the sheriff’s office, they think they we are stuck in the unincorporated part of the county,” Vescovo said. “We are, and we are their police department but we also provide law enforcement for several small villages. What a lot of people don’t realize is that we also have a civil and fugitive unit that are all over the Kansas City area.”

The office space and furnishings were donated to the sheriff’s office by Signature Flight Support, an aviation service provider. The company is providing the sheriff’s office with more than 750 square feet, including a conference room and an office.

“Law enforcement is an integral part of the community and the service they provide is cannot be provided by anyone else,” said Bryan Orr, area director at Signature Flight Support.

City officials said the sheriff’s office will enhance safety and security for airport workers and visitors, as well as for businesses and residents in the southwest portion of the county.

“Having sheriff’s deputies on site is a great opportunity for the close-knit downtown airport community,” airport manager Michael Roper said in a prepared statement. “In addition to aviation businesses, we have two airline museums, a large advertising agency and recreation activity going on here. Adding law enforcement to our community is a win for all concerned.”

The substation will not be open to the public or regularly staffed.

Vescovo said the substation gives deputies a base of operations for specialty units preparing to conduct an operation or receive briefings.

Kansas City police and the municipal airport police and will maintain their jurisdiction over the municipal airport, but sheriff’s deputies will conduct additional perimeter patrols while they are in the area.

The substation office eliminates the need for deputies to drive back to the sheriff’s office in Liberty.

Opening a satellite office or substation was something Vescovo said he wanted to accomplish for some time. The downtown airport was a good location, he said.

Vescovo and members of his command staff worked out the details with with aviation officials and Signature Flight Support.

“They were just elated,” he said. “This clearly is a win-win for both of us.”