Search Warrant Lands One in Jail

On Monday June 19, 2017 at approximately 5:30 pm, as a result of an ongoing investigation; officers with the Galena Police Department conducted a search warrant on a residence at 515 Galena Avenue in Galena KS.

While searching the home, officers discovered suspected methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. Skyler S. Youngblood of the home was taken into custody and transported to the Cherokee County Jail.

Youngblood was arrested and is being held at the Cherokee County Jail on charges of Possessing Marijuana, Methamphetamine and Drug Paraphernalia. His bond is currently $7000.00

 

Click It or Ticket Begins May 22, 2017

Click It or Ticket is on its way

Beginning on Monday, May 22, and continuing through Sunday, June 4, drivers can expect increased police presence on city streets as the Galena Police Department joins almost 160 other law enforcement agencies in aggressively enforcing Kansas occupant restraint and other traffic laws as part of the 2017 Kansas Click It or Ticket campaign.  This activity is supported by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT).  Enforcement will occur around the clock.  Officers will be especially vigilant at night because the likelihood of seatbelt use at night is much lower than during the day and the percentage of unrestrained crash deaths soars much higher at night.

Drivers can expect strict enforcement of both the Safety Belt Use Act and the Child Passenger Safety Act. These

acts require that all vehicle occupants must be appropriately restrained. Law enforcement officers can stop vehicles and issue tickets when they observe front seat occupants, teens in any position, or children under the age of 14, riding without being properly restrained.  Occupants, ages 14 and over, are cited individually.  In the event that a passenger under the age of 14 is observed to be unrestrained the driver will be cited.  The fine for an adult violation is $10 (no court cost).  The fine for a youth (14-17) violation is $60 (no court costs), while the driver’s fine for a child (0-13) restraint violation is $60 + a court cost charge of at least $108.

Children under the age of four must be correctly secured in an approved child safety seat. Children, ages four through seven, must be securely belted into an approved booster seat unless taller than 4 feet 9 inches or heavier than 80 pounds, in which case, the booster may be removed and the child belted in without it.  Children, ages eight through 13 must be safety-belted.   In addition, the act prohibits persons under the age of 14 from riding in any part of a vehicle not intended for carrying passengers, such as a pickup bed.

The aim of Click It or Ticket is simple:  to drastically reduce the number of preventable deaths and injuries that occur when unbelted drivers and passengers are involved in traffic crashes.  While seat belts may not always protect from serious or fatal injury, certainly no other piece of equipment within the vehicle provides more protection.

Kansas’ overall adult seat belt compliance rate is 87% and ranges, by county, from 61% to 96%, with occupants in rural counties generally less likely to buckle up than those in urban counties. According to KDOT, this rural-urban difference in seat belt rates is especially problematic because rural roadway conditions are, in general, less forgiving than those in urban areas and the consequences of driver misjudgment – such as unsafe speed and failure to buckle up – are likely to be more severe.  Picture, for example, two lanes, narrow shoulders, ditches on both sides, and random culverts waiting to snag vehicles leaving the roadway.  Or, consider the rollover crash, which is so much more prevalent on rural roadways than city streets.  One of the grimmest duties a police officer is called upon to perform is to work a crash where an unrestrained occupant is partially or completely ejected, and then crushed by the rolling vehicle.  It is easy to see why fully two-thirds of Kansas’ fatality crashes occur on rural roadways even though they see only one-third of all crashes.

Kansans like to see their state as one which protects children, and it does well with its youngest ones, those aged 0-4, who are buckled in to child safety seats at the rate of 97%. However, the percentage of properly restrained 5- to 13-year olds is only 84%.  Moreover, eight out of ten times when drivers, themselves, are unbelted, their child passengers are also unsecured.

According to Chief Charles, “I would like remind the community that when they don’t buckle up themselves, or require their passengers to buckle up, they are, in effect, promising themselves and those passengers, along with family and friends not present, that no circumstance will arise that will trigger seat belt activation. That the drivers they will encounter on the road are not going to be critically affected by drug or medical impairment, sleepiness, cell phone conversations, texting, sloshing coffee, the radio dial or kids fighting in the back seat.  Nor will there be animals in the road or a mechanical or other circumstance that will cause them to suddenly slow or veer out of their lane.”

“I want people to know that, day or night, the Galena Police Department is committed to aggressively ticketing violators of seat belt and child safety laws, as well as other traffic infractions – such as speeding and texting while driving – which make the need for occupant restraint so necessary.”

Officer of the Quarter

Patrol Officer Wayne Nelson was awarded Officer of the Quarter during the Police Department Staff meeting on April 13, 2017.

Officer of Quarter 1st 2017Officer of Quarter 1st 2017

 

 

 

 

 

On March 11, 2017 Officer Nelson was dispatched to a home for a medical emergency. The home owner subsequently wrote a letter stating this was the second family member they lost within the past 16 days. The letter continued by complimenting Officer Nelson for the professionalism and courtesy he showed toward the family in their time of need and also stated Officer Nelson returned with dinner for the family and “it made things just a little bit better”

Officer Nelson recognizes sometimes small acts of kindness and generosity can mean the world to those in a crisis situation.

I am proud to have officers willing to go above what is expected to serve the community and continue to improve interactions with residents of Galena.

“Service With Honor”

 

Corporal’s Corner

Patrol Corporal Blaine Cornelius #204

Corporal Blaine Cornelius #204

A concerned citizen recently posed a question to our department inquiring how finding marijuana and a handgun during a search warrant was a success. While we are proud of the work we do to counter criminal activity in Galena, the word “success” has not been a part of any of our vocabulary, and it is merely just a step in the right direction. The gravity of the drug problem and socioeconomic stress on our community is not lost on us.

Citizens of our town, our neighbors, our friends, and our families, are being jailed and prosecuted for breaking laws subsequent to their pursuit of that next “bump” or “high”. Citizens of our community, outlying communities, other states, regions and even other countries are exploiting our populace in an effort to make their selves rich or at least a little better off.

Our demographic, unfortunately, is ripe for the picking. There are very few of us who can honestly say, we haven’t in some way been personally affected by the abuse of illicit substances. Unfortunately, even knowing this, very few of us will ever feel the call to combat the problem. “Those aren’t my kids”, “It’s none of my business”, and “I’m scared of retribution”, are all common themes which prevail in the vocabulary of far too many of us.

Investigations in to all sorts of crimes metabolize in just as many different ways. Leads and cooperation from the community are our biggest asset. We can’t be everywhere at the same time. This is my 13th year in Law Enforcement and my fifth year serving the citizenry of Galena. I have spent the majority of my shifts on patrol as the sole “protector” of roughly 3,000 citizens. Daytime, nighttime, dawn or dusk, it was just me, or one of my brothers or sisters on your beat much of the time. I once had a former council member approach me in public and tell me, a lowly patrolman at the time, if I didn’t do something about the thefts; he was going to “cut my funding”.

My reply, not so elegant at the time, was basically, “how can you make it any worse?” Because, let me tell you, my stories are plenty and by no means unique. I have been in fights with no backup for miles in any direction; I have done CPR on one of our citizens for so long, I could barely lift my arms the next day; I have held guys twice my size at gun-point begging them to not make me kill them, because I knew if I didn’t they could kill me; I have disarmed a meth raging lunatic on the side of the highway armed with an AK-47; I’ve gone forward when everything in me said run away. I have, more than one time, stripped my uniform off in the garage for fear of contaminating my own home and children with the toxicity of the scene I had just left.  I have shed tears with you, shed tears for you, and prayed with, and for, a lot of you and I will do it *all* again tomorrow and so will every one of the people who dress just like me every day.

Every once in a while, the stars align and we do something big, the right pieces of the puzzle fall into place at the right time and we manage a substantial seizure or we solve a big case and there are many of you, who still can’t be satisfied or choose not to be satisfied. That’s ok, neither are we; while we may have won a small battle, the war rages on. There is no success in that. There is no success when our investigations lead to a small child screaming at us to not “kill their parents”. You can’t seize enough drugs, cash or guns, to ever take the sting out of that!

The focus of the Galena Police Department, no matter our manpower, is protection of life and property, service to the public, and the suppression of criminal activity. While we hold a certain amount of discretion, Illegal drug activity will not be tolerated. One day, the prohibition of marijuana may be repealed in the State of Kansas. That day has not yet come however, and until it does, the possession, use, cultivation and distribution of such will not be permitted. Just the same as speeding in school zones and running stop signs or red-lights are not allowed, neither are any illegal substances, no matter the popular opinion of them. We don’t always agree with the laws. We sure don’t make the laws. We will however, enforce the laws to the best of our ability with the utmost respect toward the constitution.

Some lingering questions remain which were also posed to me today. Inquiring minds are curious about our turnover rate and what they can do for us to assist in the retention of our ranks. Truthfully, not much; people are going to come and go. Certain individuals come here merely for experience and certification, then move on where they feel the grass will be greener. Others will come to the conclusion police work is not for them and will leave the field completely. Some make mistakes to a degree their continued employment would be a liability to the city.

This is a stress realized by every department, large and small. We do our best to select the best candidates for open positions. Nationwide, law enforcement agencies are struggling to fill their empty patrol positions it’s not just us. The benefits must reward the position. I have never heard a cop in our area talk about how rich they were so the benefits must lie somewhere else. What you can do as a community is simply give us your support. Cookies and pies are a nice touch, but please, only in moderation. We can’t afford to keep buying larger gun belts. Fruit baskets people! Please! Best of all, smile and wave, take the time to get to know us personally. We can prove to you, the disconnect you feel with our position is irrational once you get to know the person who holds it.

I think I have hit all the high points of the discussion at hand and if you have stuck with me this long, I applaud you. You are obviously concerned about our community enough to listen to me ramble. Therefore, I would like to invite you in to a partnership with us to assist in our endeavor to curb criminal activity within your neighborhoods. There is no person, more intimately familiar, who has any greater investment to do so than you the citizen. Take ownership of your security back. When you see something, say something without hesitation. Let us know when you feel criminal activity is afoot immediately. Gather intelligence for us and be our eyes and ears when our eyes and ears are occupied somewhere else.

When the citizenry realizes its potential as a force multiplier to its police force, the criminal element will be put on notice. Until then, we will just keep doing the best we can.

Corporal Blaine Cornelius

 

Narcotic Search Warrant Lands Two in Jail

On February 15, 2017 at approximately 7:00 pm Officers with the Galena Police Department along with the assistance of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Detective Bureau conducted a Narcotic Search Warrant at 519 E 23 Terrace in Galena, KS.

During the course of this search officers recovered approximately three pounds of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and a hand gun.

Christopher Kyle Degraff and Bobbie Joe Degraff were taken into custody for Possession of Marijuana with intent to distribute, Felony Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana, Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Criminal use of a weapon.

They are both being held at the Cherokee County Jail on $32,000 bond.

Bobbie Joe Degraff

Bobbie Joe Degraff

Christopher Kyle Degraff

Christopher Kyle Degraff

THANKSGIVING TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT CAMPAIGN

For Immediate Release

Beginning Monday, November 21, through Sunday, November 27, The Galena Police Department will join many other police agencies across the state, including the Kansas Highway Patrol, in the Kansas Thanksgiving Traffic Enforcement Campaign. A grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will underwrite overtime enforcement efforts that specifically aim at removing impaired drivers from our roads and ticketing vehicle occupants who are unrestrained or whose child passengers are unrestrained.

In comparison with other holidays, the Thanksgiving holiday period (Wednesday-Sunday) outranks all but New Year’s in average number of crashes in which driver impairment is cited as a factor.  Those driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs endanger not only themselves, but also others they share the road with – such as their passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.  On average, across Kansas, five persons are killed or injured in alcohol/drug-related crashes each day.  And the crashes tend to be more severe.  According to KDOT, which tracks all crashes in the state, vehicle occupants in alcohol- or other drug-related crashes are over 2 ½ times more likely to be injured or killed than those involved in crashes where alcohol or other drugs were not a factor.

Each week across Kansas, over 250 drivers are arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence).  A DUI conviction will result in jail time, the suspension or revocation of driver’s license, a fine of $500 to $2,500, participation in an alcohol or other drug treatment program, and the purchase and installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender’s vehicle.  This device requires the offender to blow into a device that measures blood alcohol concentration prior to starting the car.

Also responsible for needless death and maiming is the failure by many teens and adults to simply buckle up, or to properly buckle up child passengers.  Twice as many Kansans who die from a crash are unrestrained as are restrained.  Even worse is the fact that injuries suffered by those who are unbuckled are likely to be much more severe and disabling than injuries suffered by those who are buckled in.  This applies regardless of speed, and whether the occurrence is on a city street, a county road, or a highway.

“Keep in mind that if you are going to be drinking – any amount at all– don’t even consider driving home.  Arrange to ride with a non-drinking acquaintance.  Don’t let pride or concerns for your convenience endanger your life and the lives of innocent others.”

Boil Water Advisory Issued for City of Galena, Cherokee County

Topeka, Kansas. — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued a boil water advisory for a portion of the City of Galena public water supply located in Cherokee County. The affected area includes portions served north of 612 N. Jefferson St. South of 1709 N Columbus St. and 1602 N Wood St, East of 717 West Vine St. and West of 613 Jackson St. The area of service affected is known locally as Empire. KDHE officals issued the advisory because of a loss of pressure.

The advisory took effect on October 31, 2016, and will remain in effect until conditions which place the system at risk of contamination are deemed by KDHE officials to be adequately resolved.

Customers should observe the following precautions until further notice; Frequently asked Questions.

Public water suppliers in Kansas take all measures necessary to notify customers quickly after a system failure. Regardless of whether it’s the supplier or KDHE that announces a boil water advisory, KDHE will issue the rescind order following testing at a certified laboratory.

Drink and Drive? You Choose Your Ride!

On October 19, 2016 the Galena Police and Fire Department participated in an event that focused on the kids in the community. We would like to thanks the Sheriff’s Office for organizing, and MVP Athletics for hosting the “Drink and Drive? You Choose Your Ride!” event. We would also like to thank all the other organization  that donated their time and resources to make this event a success within the Galena Community.

 

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