Public Safety Citizens’ Advisory Board is active in linking community with police

The permanent Public Safety Citizens’ Advisory Board, accomplished by the passing of City Ordinance 120.110 in 2009, is comprised of two citizens from each Council District, along with non-voting ex-officio members that include representatives from the police department, city council and a student from the Blue Springs School District.  The board has met monthly since its inaugural meeting in August 2009.

At a recent City Council meeting, Chairman Chris Lievsay presented a summary of the board’s activity during 2009, as well as plans for future initiatives. The presentation began with a history of the present board, describing its roots in a 1988 ordinance and the more recent recommendations from Mayor Carson Ross’ citizen task force begun in 2008.

The presentation was attended by several members of the board that includes the following voting members:

Chris Lievsay, Chairman, Council District 2; Tom Echerd, Vice Chairman, Council District 3; Janet Black, Council District 3; Lee Miller, Council District 1; Michelle Weisenborn, Council District 1; and Chuck Zuvers, Council District 2.

Non-voting (ex-officio) members include:

Shelby Hartley, youth representative from Blue Springs High School; Councilman Lyle Shaver, liaison from Blue Springs City Council; and Chief Wayne McCoy, liaison from Blue Springs Police Department.

Among the many accomplishments in the board’s first year were reviews of the ordinance and responsibilities for the board, ADA parking accessibility at Rotary Park with recommendations for review by the Parks Commission, a review of the City Animal Control Ordinances, a sub-committee review of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies process with recommendations, evaluation and recommendation on the need for a possible future public safety tax, and an open Public Safety Forum held in November 2009 to gather public input on public safety issues.

The Public Safety Board’s public forum was held on Nov. 17, 2009, at the Howard L. Brown Public Safety Building, a city ordinance requirement for the board designed to provide an opportunity for police and citizens to work together for positive change. At the forum, topics ranged from the increased presence of police in neighborhoods to highlighting the strong cooperative relationship between the Blue Springs Police Department and the School District.

The Public Safety Board Goals for 2010 were presented. The board will focus on continuing its review of the original Citizen Task Force recommendations, participation in the annual budget process as needed, review department policies where applicable, promoting public safety programs, avocation of identified public safety needs, updating City Council through the City Administrator and BPSD Police Chief, and most importantly, maintaining contact to receive input from Blue Springs citizens on public safety needs.