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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Chief Chat: RPD discourages calling 911 for outages

  • Stacey writes: “I understand that some people think they should be able to call Central Communications when their power is out to get updates. The problem is that when our lines get tied up with informational calls, people who have real emergencies or need a police response cannot get through on these lines.
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  • Spring in Missouri is a time for unpredictable and sometimes severe weather. The severe weather often creates power outages here in Rolla and we all know what havoc they create.
    Here at the Rolla Police Department we are equipped with a generator that will provide emergency power in the event of an outage.
    The obvious reason behind this measure is to ensure we have continuity in Central Communications to be able to still receive calls and to dispatch calls to our emergency services personnel.
    When there is a power outage, it seems the some members of the public feel the need to call us to report the outage.
    Communications Supervisor Stacey Smith recently addressed this issue on our Facebook site and I felt it should be published here in this column as well.
    Stacey writes: “I understand that some people think they should be able to call Central Communications when their power is out to get updates. The problem is that when our lines get tied up with informational calls, people who have real emergencies or need a police response cannot get through on these lines.
    “We have a limited number of phone lines and a limited number of telecommunicators. When a storm is the cause of the power outage it is especially difficult. In many cases, the storms that cause power outages also cause real emergencies. We encourage people to plan for power outages because they do happen from time to time especially in Missouri where we have storms and winter weather.
    “We at Central Communications care very much for the safety of our citizens and strive to provide excellent customer service. When we have the information, we certainly do our best to share it with the public, but our priority is always those who are in immediate need of police, fire or medical attention.
    “Help us keep our community safe by having a backup plan for you and your family. It is always best to be prepared.”
    In a nutshell, when there is a power outage, members of the community do not need to report the outage at all. Rolla Municipal Utilities is the first to know when and where the outage occurs and responds as quickly as possible to restore the power.
    Calls from the community or even from Central Communications only slows that response. Remember, they are aware of it, they will fix it and do not need to hear about it from anyone.
    On Thursday, June 5, at approximately 7:30 a.m., the Rolla Police Department received a 911 call of a vehicle that had just been stolen from the parking lot of the MotoMart store located at 200 South Highway 63 in Rolla.
    A description of the stolen vehicle and the suspect who stole the vehicle was provided by the caller, and that information was relayed to the responding officers.
    Page 2 of 2 - Approximately 10 minutes later, the vehicle was spotted by a Rolla police officer near the intersection of Highway 72 and Rolla Street, and when the officer attempted to stop the vehicle, the vehicle failed to stop and it accelerated to a high rate of speed traveling east on Highway 72.
    Officers pursued the vehicle east on Highway 72 during which time the vehicle exited the city of Rolla. The pursuit continued east on Highway 72 until the vehicle pulled to a stop in the 13000 block of Highway 72. Once the vehicle came to a stop, two individuals exited the vehicle and attempted to flee the scene on foot.
    As a result of the ensuing foot pursuit, both individuals were apprehended a short time later. The suspects were identified as Daniel L. Benton, 36, of Union, and Mitchel L. Peck, 37, of Kansas City, Missouri.
    During the course of the follow-up investigation, it was determined that the suspects had an active methamphetamine laboratory in operation in the back of the vehicle, and that they had been producing methamphetamine inside a local motel over a period of the last three days.
    As a result of the investigation in this matter, Benton was arrested for first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle, felony resisting arrest, first-degree drug trafficking and possession of a controlled substance except for 35 grams or less of marijuana. Peck was arrested for first-degree drug trafficking. Both of these individuals were placed in the Phelps County Jail.
    Other agencies assisting in this investigation were the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department and the South Central Drug Task Force.
    The charges for which Benton and Peck were arrested for are mere accusations. Evidence in support of these charges must be presented before a court of competent jurisdiction whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
    In closing, I would like to congratulate those members of the Rolla Police Department who will be celebrating their hiring dates during the month of June.
    They are as follows: Sgt. Wayne Rapier with 39 years of service, Lt. Jim Macormic with 23 years of service, Senior Patrol Officer Leann Robinson with six years of service, VIPS Volunteer Dennis Noel with six years of service, Patrol Officer Tom Grisham with four years of service and VIPS Volunteer Ward Merrell with four years of service. Congratulations and thank you for all you do.
    Have a great week!
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