COMBAT Initiative Focuses On
The Need For Joint Effort To
Reduce Violence Neighborhoods
This COMBAT initiative brings together school administrators, police officers, elected officials, mental health professionals, social workers, faith-based leaders and concerned citizens to address violence in Jackson County’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. With a focus on developing a collaborative, comprehensive and coordinated plan in each “hot spot,” STRIVIN’ recognizes that no one individual or single agency can “save a neighborhood.” It takes working together—striving together—to make any neighborhood a safe place to call home.
Reducing Violence Requires Working Together
As we do the grim calculations (nine homicides in 10 days, 87 thus far this year) let’s remember a name goes with each of those numbers. As we mourn those taken from us, we cannot expect any one person or group alone—not the police, the courts, the schools—to reduce the violence in our neighborhoods. It’s going to take working together to make a real and meaningful difference.
Trauma Surgeons Have Seen Gun Violence Carnage Up Close—And It Is Personal
The words of the trauma surgeons who had threated countless gunshot wounds carried a lot of weight during a KU Medical Center symposium about the epidemic of firearm violence across the nation (and in our own community). But the one non-surgeon who spoke during the day-long event really struck a chord when she said, “Our kids are worrying about being shot in their schools. How many are going to have PTSD? Our kids are thinking like kids in a war-torn nation."
» Part 1: Cause For Concern
Concerns being raised with dispensaries due to open in 2020.
» Part 2: Buffer Zones
Kansas City will allow dispensaries 300 feet from schools.
» Part 3: When Laws Clash
Medical marijuana use while living in federally-subsidized housing might result in eviction.
»Part 4: This Ain't Candy
"Who eats just one Gummy Bear?" Overeating edibles can cause severe reactions.
» Part 5: Just A Coincidence?
Overdose deaths on the rise during same time states have been legalizing marijuana.
I'd Be Back In Prison Or Dead
I'm convinced that I would be back in prison or dead, if I had not gotten drug treatment through a COMBAT-funded program in 2015. Now today I am working to help others start their recovery journeys. The "mess" I had made out of my life can now be a "message" for someone else going through addiction. I want to give them hope, let them know if a guy like me can get clean and stay clean, they can too.
One Arrest Leads To Others In Case Illustrating Cartel Activity In Jackson County & Beyond • July 19, 2019
What started off as a seemingly simple case—a Kansas City, Kan., undercover police officer asking the Jackson County Drug Task Force with assistance when a drug deal made in Kansas was to be completed in Missouri—turns into a months-long investigation involving multiple federal and local agencies. When it was completed, multiple indictments were made as the case illustrated the reach of Mexican cartels into Jackson County and beyond.
Ongoing 'Demand' For Meth Continues To Make It Jackson County's No. 1 Illegal Drug Problem • June 11, 2019
Each year throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, the Jackson County Drug Task Force and other law enforcement agencies would shut down dozens of meth labs—sometimes more than 100 labs in a single year. With these local supply lines being severed, Mexican cartels have stepped in to fill the void and meet the ongoing “demand” for methamphetamine. The Task Force is striving daily to stop these cartels from feeding Jackson County’s meth addiction—still the county’s No. 1 drug problem.
Jackson County Drug Task Force Changes With The Times • June 4, 2019
The Jackson County Drug Task Force is now routinely engaged in joint investigations with federal authorities as they pursue drug supply lines across city limits and county lines, as well as state and international borders. Their objective is to "get the head of the snake," rather than just chasing the tail. With several of their cases having roots that trace back to Mexican cartels, the Task Force confiscated more than $16 million in illegal drugs last year.
Sheffield Place Anti-Bullying Program Starts With Kindness • May 9, 2019
When she began developing Sheffield Place’s anti-bullying program 2½ years ago, Heather Berry deliberately sought to avoid focusing solely on the negative: Don’t be mean. Don’t hurt others. Don’t be a bully. Instead, “Miss Heather” emphasizes the positive qualities that can help anyone any age be a better person. The program starts with children as young as 3. Sheffield Place serves homeless mothers and their children. The background of 75% of its clients includes domestic violence.
Teaching KIds About 'Talking To Strangers' In The Digitial Work • May 9, 2019
Their safety is on the line! Be sure your kids understand "don't talk to strangers" applies to the digital world. Predators are on the prowl online. Kids (like other people) often share too much personal info via social media and other digital content.
The Voice Of Experience—He Really Gets It • May 1, 2019
Larry Beaty speaks with the voice of experience—the experience of being a recovering alcoholic (sober since 1981) and longtime treatment counselor—as he stresses utilizing COMBAT's resources where they are needed most, in Jackson County's "hot spots."
'Violence & Drugs Don't Pay Attention To Zip Codes' • April 25, 2019
New COMBAT Commisisoner John B. Boyd stresses the need for county-wide effort to find solutions to the county-wide problems of drug abuse and violent crime. He also believes COMBAT can help address the issue of prescription drug addiciton.
Dawna J. Shumant Appointed COMBAT Deputy Director • January 25, 2019
Jackson County COMBAT has appointed Dawna Shumate its new Deputy Director . She is an experienced treatment and prevention specialist who also has worked extensively in community engagement as director of the county's ombudsman's office.
Vince Ortega Appointed COMBAT Director • October 29, 2018
Vince Ortega has assumed the duty's of COMBAT Director, having already stressed the need for the program to be more connected to the community through his work as Deputy Director. He previously served 30 years with the Kansas City Police Department.