Martin City is lucky to have a strong relationship with the KCMO Police Department and now we’re even luckier to have KCPD Officer Aaron Whitehead assigned as our new evening Community Interaction Officer (CIO)! The KCMO Police Department established the CIO program to help build positive relationships between police officers and community members and currently has twelve CIOs on staff in Kansas City.
Officer Whitehead joins Officer Mary McCall, our daytime CIO who replaced our longtime partner, Officer Mike Hammer when he retired earlier this year.
For 15 years, Officer McCall had been answering 911 calls and patrolling the streets of Kansas City, but when she heard Officer Mike Hammer was retiring as CIO of the South Patrol Division at the end of 2017, she saw an opportunity to use her skills in a different way.
“I’m a people person and I love bringing people together,” said McCall. “This role allows me to build relationships between the police department and community members in a positive way, and I’m excited about the opportunity to get to know everyone in South Kansas City.”
Both McCall and Whitehead have already been attending our CID board meetings to help us find ways to prevent crime and help each other stay safe in Martin City.
Ultimately, their goal is to eliminate the “us against them” mindset so we see them as part of, not separate from, our community. When a partnership like this exists between police and the community, criminals tend to retreat into the shadows and that’s exactly what we want to see happen in Martin City.
“My goal is to build bridges between community members and police officers so we all trust each other more,” said Whitehead. “I hope to find new ways to work together to make South Kansas City a safer place for everyone.”
After 15 years as a patrolman at KCPD’s South Patrol Division, Whitehead said he is looking forward to working with the community in a new way.
Whitehead is no stranger to Martin City. From 1999-2002, he was a Youth Specialist at Cornerstones of Care’s Ozanam Campus where he led activities and supervised students. You might say building relationships is his calling!
“I enjoyed working with the students at Ozanam because many of them came from difficult backgrounds, and it was rewarding to give them the extra attention and guidance they needed to be successful,” said Whitehead. “The experience inspired me to become a police officer so I could serve and help even more people in the community.”
In just a few months in their new role, Officers Whitehead and McCall have been busy presenting to community groups and planning events, such as the recent family movie night at the South Patrol station.
Whitehead is also eager to establish relationships with local businesses. For example, the KCPD will soon offer a free program where businesses can invite officers to assess their security, such as lighting, locks, and cameras.
“Officer McCall and I want to meet South KC business owners to hear their concerns, answer questions, and find ways to collaborate,” said Whitehead. “Together, we have an opportunity to impact people’s lives but we need everyone’s support to make it possible.”
“We want to host career fairs, family movie nights, volleyball tournaments, and many other events where kids and adults have opportunities to have positive interactions with police officers,” said McCall. “This helps them see us as real people who care about them and are here to help.”
She also plans to introduce more of her fellow KCPD officers to Martin City so the District has more resources. The CID already uses a private security service to patrol each night from 10pm-6am, and they work closely with KCPD when they need assistance.
If your business, school, neighborhood group, or community organization would like to learn more about KCPD resources available to you, or would like to request a visit from Officer McCall or Officer Whitehead, please reach out to them directly. Their contact info is listed below.
And next time you see Officer Whitehead in the neighborhood, please give him a warm Martin City welcome!
KCPD Officer: Mary McCall
KCPD Officer: Aaron Whitehead