Johnson County is said to be one of the safest places to live in Kansas City. There could never be anything bad happening in “Perfect Village.” I never see cops flying down the street on high speed car chases or fear for my life thinking that I will get kidnapped while going on a run with my dog. The thought of gunshots being fired on the streets of Leawood or Prairie Village doesn’t even cross my mind.
Because of that, I thought that that all police officers did was sit at the bottom of the hill of 89th Street and Mission Road waiting to catch someone going faster than 30 miles per hour down the hill. However, a recent incident my perception changed of the police in Johnson County and I now appreciate their work. For the people who claim that the officers in Johnson County do nothing, that’s far from the truth.
My friend’s phone was stolen during a birthday party at Skate City, and as we were searching for it we called 911. The phone had over 2,000 photos of memories dating back to 2014 that would be gone forever. It didn’t take long for the officer to arrive. I thought to myself, “what else could be going on in Merriam at 9 p.m on a Friday?” Little did I know that the crime rate in Merriam is 418 crimes per month, which is almost double the national crime rate at 283.5 crimes per month according to City-Data.com. The police officer was not shocked that we were filing a report as the officer said he was just there the night before filing a report for a stolen purse.
The police officer who arrived was very helpful and took detailed notes — but keep in mind it’s a stolen phone. There isn’t much that someone can do to get it back. I knew that it sounded pathetic for two teenage girls to be in tears over a precious iPhone 7, but it had personal value. The police could have blown it off and said that it is a lost cause; instead they chose to help.
I tried logging into “Lost my iPhone”, and it briefly popped up at 1701 Kansas Avenue in Kansas City, Mo before being deactivated a few minutes later. It felt creepy knowing the culprits saw my phone number pop up on the screen everytime the location services were turned back on. All in all, the location changed three times, but I received no phone calls that night.
The next morning I groggily woke up to a phone call from an unknown number. The first words the deep voice said to me were, “I have your phone, are you willing to pay?” I sat up abruptly in my bed as my pulse shot up. I was at a loss for words and quickly hung up the phone, saying that I would text him a place to meet. We agreed to meet at the Hen House in Fairway.
I instantly called the police again, and they acted surprised to hear that someone called me wanting to turn the phone back in. The officer made me recite every word from the jumbled three minute conversation that I had with the mysterious man. The officer talked me through each response I should text back, so we could get as much information as possible.
My lips began to quiver as I received text after text from this guy about where to meet and when he will be there. The officer soothed me by saying word for word what to text him. We found out he would be waiting in all red and named Hector. Quickly the officers sent two cars over to Hen House to catch them. It only took them 20 minutes to arrest the two culprits.
They arrested the thieves quickly, while helping me out over the phone. I could care less about a phone in the grand scheme of things, but to actually have officers act the way they did made me respect their job rather than sigh and complain about them hiding on the corner of 75th and Mission Road.
Sometimes keeping the community safe means arresting two people for a stolen phone, other times it may mean flipping the sirens for a driver going seven over. The officers in Johnson County do more than the general public thinks. So the next time I get a speeding ticket for flying down Mission Road to make it to school by 7:40 a.m., the officer won’t walk away from me crying. Instead he or she will walk away with a sincere thank you for keeping our community as safe as possible.