The Independence Police Department solved four armed robberies, resulting in the arrest of eight suspects in a string of robberies in a one-month period from January to February.

The Independence Police Department solved four armed robberies, resulting in the arrest of eight suspects in a string of robberies in a one-month period from January to February.

The explosion of armed robberies, mostly happening on U.S. 40, prompted the department to put detectives from a relatively new unit to work solving the crimes. The detectives came from the Career Criminal Unit that focuses on targeting repeat criminals who are often times responsible in more than one of the crimes and other non-related crimes, according to Maj. Ken Jarnagin, the head of the department’s investigations division.

The new initiative the detectives used is the Crime Overview Response and Evaluation that focuses on intelligence-led policing that targets suspects using, in part, critical tips from the public.

For example, Milford Printy and Alex C. Ojeda, both of Kansas City, Kan., were arrested in a burglary ring which they allegedly stole more than 20 guns from a store on 23rd Street. But the two also allegedly confessed to shooting a homeless man near 23rd Street and Crysler on Feb. 1. And the investigation all started with a tip by the public.

So when the city has a crime spree, the unit and the CORE initiative will be used, Jarnagin said.

On Tuesday, Jarnagin and six other police majors who head all divisions of the department, along with the heads of the department, chief Tom Dailey and deputy chief John Main, led a town hall meeting at Cler-Mont Elementary School to ask citizens where they want police to focus their limited resources.

Also, fire chief Sandy Schiess, deputy chief John Greene and EMS chief assistant Joe Lay attended along with city council members Will Swoffer and Lucy Young and various city staff.

The turnout was light, with about 10 residents attending.

“We’re here for you,” Dailey said. “Where would you like us to focus our resources at?”

Dailey said demands placed on police departments have increased in the last 30 years. For example, there were 1,500 larcenies documented in 1967 compared to 5,900 last year.

Dailey heaped praise his department, saying if it was a was a person, he or she would be an “overachiever.”

Also, the department is working on reducing response times. Right now, the average time for first priority crimes (usually violent crimes in progress) is 7 minutes and 29 seconds, according to Maj. Brad Halsey, who oversees the patrol unit.

Dailey said the department would like to get that down in the 5-minute range.

Regina and David Kepple of Independence were impressed about what the department is doing in trying to reduce crime.

David said people are sometimes intimidated to pick up the phone and call police, but the meetings provide faces with the department that may decrease the intimidation factor.

The next meeting is 6 p.m. March 10 at the Eastside Baptist Church at 19901 E. Missouri 78.