Just an hour before a Gladstone police officer was wounded and a suspect fatally shot after a traffic stop Sunday night, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté sent out a message alerting officers about patrolmen shot last weekend in St. Louis, Texas and Florida.
Forté said he reminded officers to remain vigilant and to be safe.
Monday at 8 a.m., he repeated that message, mentioning the Gladstone officer who was shot in the hand after a traffic stop at Vivion Road and U.S. 169.
“This is no different from any other time,” Forté said about his message. “We tell them (officers) on a regular basis to be careful, be aware of your surroundings and to always have someone with you.”
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The message went out again at 4 p.m. Monday.
On Monday, police identified the 18-year-old man shot and killed by a Gladstone officer as Jacob C. Stevens of Kansas City.
Police said Stevens, a passenger in a car, bolted from the vehicle following a traffic stop just before 10:30 p.m. Police said he scuffled with officers after he produced a handgun.
The 33-year-old officer was treated for his injuries. Stevens died at the scene.
Gladstone police said they are cooperating with Kansas City police who are investigating the shooting.
The department “is grateful for the support demonstrated by our partners in the law enforcement community,” said Gladstone Public Safety Director Mike Hasty. “We also owe a debt of gratitude to the emergency medical personnel who responded to the scene. We are very appreciative of the numerous expressions of concern from our community.”
Detectives also spoke to the driver of the vehicle, who is cooperating with the investigation.
“As you can imagine, being involved in a shooting is very horrific,” said Officer Darin Snapp, a Kansas City police spokesman. “We have got officers all over the country being ambushed. To be honest with you, it is our absolute worst nightmare.”
Kansas City officers receive extensive training on how to conduct themselves during traffic stops and while out on patrol.
“We are here to protect and serve; that is what we do every day,” Snapp said. “We are out there, and now we have got people literally standing on the side of the road talking to individuals, whether it is a motorist assist or a traffic violation, we have got people driving by and shooting at us.”
Kansas City officers converged on the Gladstone shooting moments after being summoned by dispatchers.
“We use the same radio frequency, so anytime we hear stress from any other departments in the area, everybody pretty much converges, and that is what our dispatcher heard,” Snapp said.
On Monday, Gov.-elect Eric Greitens said he would push for stricter penalties against those who attack law enforcement officers.
Among other things, Greitens said he wants lawmakers to create a “Blue Alert” system, similar to an Amber and Silver alert, that would broadcast emergency notifications about a person suspected of shooting or killing a police officer.
Twenty-seven other states have a similar notification system, Greitens said in a release.
Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police president Brad Lemon said his group supports such a measure and any effort to increase penalties against criminals committing violence against law enforcement officers.
“Police officers know they could forfeit their life in the line of duty,” Lemon said in a written statement. “What is happening in Missouri and across our nation is not what these fine men and woman signed up for. Ambush attacks and assassinations of police officers puts our entire society at risk.”
“If someone is willing to kill a police officer, is there anything they won’t do or anyone they won’t harm?” he said.
Forté said there were no specific plans to alter how officers function out on patrol. Officers are aware of the peril they face each day.
Lemon said directing violence toward an officer is no different from attacking someone based on their race, sex, religious beliefs or sexual orientation, which are classified as hate crimes.
“We believe targeting someone based solely on their occupation is equally as heinous,” he said.