KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) – Kansas City Police are fighting crime with some different types of weapons. Instead of guns or tasers, officers are using toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant as a part of the new Badges for Basics program.
It may not seem like much, but Kansas City Police in the East Patrol Division said a bottle of lotion can make all the difference to someone who is in need of basic necessities.
“It gives us an opportunity to get out, interact with the community, give people dignity back,” said Trena Miller the Social Services Coordinator.
Trena Miller is the Social Services Coordinator who works with Officer Vito Mazzara on the Badges for Basics program.
It started when Giving the Basics, a local nonprofit, asked KCPD to partner up. The organization donates the items and police take it from there.
“We’re just here handing out the products,” Officer Mazzara said.
Items that aren’t covered by state funding or food stamps, like shampoos, conditioners, laundry soaps, are just a few of what officers hand out.
Mazzara started working with the KCPD’s Crime Analyst to find the most violent spots around town, where he sets up his table a few times every month.
Anyone can stop by to pick up products with no questions asked and no names required.
If someone can’t make it to the table, Miller and Officer Mazzara stop by their home.
In the last year, the program has served more than 1,400 families. Mazzara said it’s too early for statistics, but it is clear the program is working.
“We did see a drastic decrease in violent crimes in those areas,” Officer Mazzara said.
It’s even led to information that helped solve two crimes.
“They came two or three times and saw that this isn’t just a one-time phenomenon where the police are just trying to go there, this is something that we really do, we’re really passionate about and something we really care about,” Officer Vito Mazzara said.
The East Patrol Division wants to give out products all over the region. It gave away products in South Kansas City for the first time last month and hopes other cities in the metro area will team up with Giving the Basics too.