Warrensburg police seek to build community relations


Written by Muleskinner Staff

Senior Writer
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — Warrensburg residents got a chance to get to know the police officers that serve their community Friday, Oct. 7 at Old Drum Coffeehouse and Bakery.
The Warrensburg Police Department paired with Old Drum Coffeehouse and Bakery for Coffee with a Cop, where officers sat down with locals to get to know community members on a personal level. More than 20 locals came out to the event, having conversations with about a dozen officers ranging from important community issues to personal stories.
Rich Lockhart, Warrensburg Police Chief, said the event is meant to bring the community together. He said battling the perception or the fear of crime is the biggest challenge for the WPD.
“It’s all about building relationships,” Lockhart said. “This community is just so open and welcoming and I’d like to have that same relationship with UCM.”
Lockhart said social media has made a big impact on the station. After putting a photo of a child who went missing in the area Thursday, Oct. 6 up on Facebook, he said the department received a tip within an hour.
“We had a few good tips from the Facebook post regarding the missing juvenile and the Warrensburg Police Department would like to thank those tipsters since one of those tips helped us to locate him,” the department put out in a Facebook post.
Since then, the department has been keeping communication with locals by answering questions regarding the criteria for an Amber Alert through Facebook.
Dr. Lynn Urban, UCM criminal justice department chair, spoke to Lockhart at the event about how a student survey showed that 67 percent of students in the criminal justice department aspired to become members of federal law enforcement.
Lockhart said he loves the Warrensburg community and being an officer here is more impactful than working a federal job.
“I think we have the opportunity to affect lives here,” he said. “You don’t get (that) with a federal job.”