It’s been less than two months, but it appears as though no one at the Independence Police Department is dwelling upon the tax that voters said no to in April for more police officers on the streets.

It’s been less than two months, but it appears as though no one at the Independence Police Department is dwelling upon the tax that voters said no to in April for more police officers on the streets.

Instead, police officials have their eyes set on the future, especially Police Chief Tom Dailey, who told the City Council his top objective for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

“Our No. 1 objective this year is to develop a strategy – somehow, someway, we have to find time to work with citizens in order to reduce the 911 calls,” Dailey said. “We have to reduce the number of 911 calls, and the only way you can do that is working with the citizens to at least lower the crime and disorder and repeated calls.”

This past fiscal year, the Police and Fire departments handled more than 131,000 calls to 911, nearly 98,000 of which were police-related calls for service. Priority I calls, or those most serious that include a potentially life-threatening situation, increased 4 percent, Dailey said.

“The large number of calls impacts our availability of time to address (Crime Overview Response Evaluation) projects and self-initiated activity and work with our neighborhoods in problem solving,” he said.

Response times for Priority I calls are nearing 8 minutes, Dailey said. The Independence Police Department is looking at different options, such as volunteers taking reports, in efforts to lower the response times and increase the department’s proactive time.

A single phone number used for reporting emergency situations in the United States – 911 –  dates back more than four decades, although the demand on 911 as an emergency number isn’t a new phenomenon. In 1997, the National Institute of Justice, along with support from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, sought proposals for alternative approaches to handling citizen calls for service.

“Many police chiefs and sheriffs have expressed concern about the increasing demand placed on the 911 system and that non-emergency calls represent a large portion of the overload problem,” the proposal stated.

At that time, one of the main reasons cited for the increased volume of 911 calls was the growing cell phone industry and the opportunity the modern technology provided for requesting information and reporting incidents.

Others also suggested the main difficulty as locating the appropriate non-emergency telephone number to contact the police.

The following statement from that 15-year-old proposal, which I first came upon through happenstance while doing Internet research Wednesday morning, reads as though it could’ve come straight from Dailey himself: “... It is claimed this increased demand for service through 911 is forcing police agencies to remain response-oriented and to limit the extent officers can become more proactive to engage in effective problem solving.”

But when a crisis arises, doesn’t it seem like the most effective measure is to dial 911? Sometimes, the word “emergency” is based on perception, and we’re likely to have varying definitions of what constitutes an emergency or what justifies calling 911.

The solution, then, lies in educating oneself before an emergency takes place. The city’s website provides resources on what numbers are best to call under which situations. Visit for more information.

Below, I’ve included a listing of several that might be helpful. Familiarize yourself – and your loved ones – with these resources when times are less stressful and urgent. It’s the least we can do to reduce the strain on our local officers and firefighters, so they can be more responsive when an emergency arises – and they can have more time to work on proactive matters.

Police Department (general information, available from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.): 816-325-7300 Neighborhood Watch Office: 816-325-7643 Crime Stoppers: 816-474-TIPS (8477) Main city line: 816-325-7000 (Follow voice prompts) Animal Services (dead or stray animal): 816-325-7205 Barking dog line: 816-325-7213 Pothole hot line: 816-325-7624 Power outages: 816-325-7550 Streetlight out: 816-325-7535

The City Theatre of Independence recently announced the lineup for 2012-13, its 33rd season. All shows are pending contractual agreement with the publishers. Also, the ticket prices for next season are increasing (non-musical prices are $12 for adults and $11 for seniors ages 60 and older; musical productions are $14 for adults and $12 for seniors ages 60 and older).

The season begins Sept. 6 with the two-week running of “Little Women,” which City Theatre also included in its 1981-82 season. Auditions for that show are July 2 and 3. Visit for more information as auditions get closer.

The remainder of the season includes “The Nerd” (performances begin Nov. 1, with auditions taking place Aug. 27 and 28); “Proof” (performances begin Jan. 10, with auditions taking place Nov. 5 and 6); the musical comedy “Once Upon A Mattress” (performances begin April 4, with auditions taking place Jan. 14 and 15); and “On Golden Pond” (performances begin June 6, 2013, with auditions on April 15 and 16).