Calling all concerned citizens – your presence is wanted and needed this evening.

Calling all concerned citizens – your presence is wanted and needed this evening.

Tonight at 6:30 in the Blue Springs Public Safety building, 1100 S.W. Smith St., the public is encouraged to attend the first public meeting for the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Public Safety.

Emil Spears, chairman of the group, said the 6:30 p.m. meeting is not designed to be a complaint session, but rather a chance for people to come and offer suggestions, as well as let group members know what’s going on in the city.

The committee, which is expected to give a presentation to City Council in the spring, continues what appears to be a tradition with Mayor Carson Ross.

Shortly after his election victory, he formed a Multi-family Task Force, a four-member panel responsible for examining the issue of multi-family housing and ways to limit the number of such projects and the aesthetic quality of those approved projects.

Spears said earlier this month that there is much work to do if the department wants to improve on three critical areas raised by the public in a survey.

The three areas – increased visibility in neighborhoods and in retail areas and crime prevention tactics – are some of the most pressing concerns among the growing population, Spears said.

Spears said he’s logged nearly 400 hours in preliminary work since the committee was formed by Mayor Ross in the fall. Both Spears and committee member Greg Washington have been talking to many in the department, gathering information about current conditions and scenarios at the department.

Washington joins Spears and Vernon Scoville III, currently an associate circuit judge of the Jackson County Circuit Court 16th District.

The new year looks encouraging, however, with one of the expected four new police officers hitting the streets by the end of January. The three remaining officers, hired as part of the city’s quest for additional officers in 2008 should start in late summer.

The committee will also talk about the federally mandated conversion to a 700 MHz band by 2013, which could cost as much as $8 million.