Contact COMBAT Communications Administrator Joe Loudon • • 816-881-4337
  1. Arrests Made In Jackosn County and Beyond

    Case Illustrates Cartel Activity In Jackson County & Beyond

    What started off as a seemingly simple casea 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 Missouriturns 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.
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  1. Medical Marijuana Gummies

    'This Stuff Ain't Candy'

    Many marijuana edibles appeal to the sweet tooth (cookies, brownies, candy, etc.). That might make eating just a little and stopping difficult. “Who eats just one Gummy Bear?” Also, the THC in an edible takes longer to enter the bloodstream. Because they aren’t “feeling it,” people have often made the mistake of eating more. Then when the THC kicks it, the effect can be dramatic and dangerous: panic attacks, hallucinations, psychotic episodes, respiratory insufficiency and more.
    » Part 4  |  5-Part Series
  1. Federal and State Marijuana Laws

    When The Laws Clash

    Missouri has joined 32 other states that have legalized medical marijuana. Despite two-thirds of states now legalizing the drug’s use for medical purposes, the federal government still classifies cannabis as being a dangerous drug like heroin. President Trump has said marijuana legalization “should be left up to the states.” Official federal policies, however, remain in place that prohibit most marijuana dispensaries from banking their proceeds, and due to HUD regulations, people living in federally-subsidized housing may risk eviction if they use medical marijuana.
    » Part 3  |  5-Part Series
  1. Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and their location near schools

    How Close Is Too Close For Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

    Missouri reconsiders initial 200-foot buffer between medical marijuana dispensaries and schools, extending it to 1,000 feet. The state does give city governments the option to reduce that distance, but the constitutional amendment Missourians approved in 2018 prohibits cities from passing ordinances banning dispensaries. Meanwhile, studies about the relationships between dispensaries and crime rates vary significantly. Local officials are sorting through this conflicting information as they prepare for dispensaries opening in Jackson County next year.
    » Part 2  |  5-Part Series
  1. Medical Marijuana: Opportunity & Cause For Concern

    Opportunity For Some & Cause For Concern

    Dr. Kelvin Walls, a COMBAT Commissioner, supports the legalizaton of medical marijuana, saying, "For some people it is the correct medicine to prescribe." And in 2018 Missourians overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment legalizing the medical use of marijuana. Now Jackson County leads the state in the number of applications to grow, manufacture and dispense medical marijuana. But what is clearly seen as an opportunity by some is cause for concern by others.
    » Part 1  |  5-Part Series
  1. COMBAT Saved My Life

    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.
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  1. Meth Still Number One Problem

    'Demand' For Meth Remains High In Jackson County

    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.
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  1. Firearm Violence Represents A Public Health Crisis

    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."
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Celebratory Gunshots Pose Deadly Threat • June 27, 2019
Would you take gun in hand, close your eyes and randomly start pulling the trigger, firing bullets at what you can’t see? That is essentially what people do when they fire shots into the air to “celebrate” holidays like Independence Day. This unlawful behavior is reckless, always dangerous and potentially lethal.

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.
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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.