The Leavenworth mayor and other city officials met with local business owners Friday morning to discuss crime in the downtown area.

The Leavenworth mayor and other city officials met with local business owners Friday morning to discuss crime in the downtown area.

“If you see something suspicious going on, let's get the police involved,” Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Preisinger said.

He joined Mayor Nancy Bauder, City Manager Paul Kramer and Deputy Police Chief Dan Nicodemus in representing the city of Leavenworth at the meeting.

The meeting also was attended by downtown business owners and representatives of the Leavenworth Main Street Program, which promotes the downtown area.

John Hoins with Young Sign Co. said a lot of people have told him they will no longer go downtown.

“That's a sad thing for our community,” he said.

Nicodemus said he would love to place an officer at every business and house in town.

“We can't do that,” he said.

He encouraged business owners to contact the police when they see something of concern.

“I never want you to feel like you're bothering us,” he said.

Nicodemus said the Leavenworth Police Department is patrolling the downtown area and the rest of the city. And he said police officers are catching people involved in criminal activity.

Representatives of Leavenworth Interfaith Community of Hope, which operates a homeless shelter, also attended the meeting.

Much of the discussion Friday concerned issues related to the city's homeless population.

Leavenworth Interfaith Community of Hope also operates Welcome Central in the downtown area. Welcome Central offers services to people who are living in poverty.

Sister Vickie Perkins, executive director for Interfaith Community of Hope, said the organization will be moving out of the downtown area later this month to a new facility at Third and Kiowa streets.

She said the vast majority of the people served by Welcome Central have lived in Leavenworth most of their lives. She said there is only a small percentage of people served by the organization who have come from neighboring Wyandotte County.

Perkins said many of the people served by her organization suffer from mental health problems.

Nicodemus agreed that mental health issues are a problem. He said the Leavenworth Police Department trains officers to assist people with mental health issues, but the officers are not psychiatrists.

Kramer encouraged business owners to become involved in the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce's Government Affairs Committee to express concern about state funding for mental health.

Friday's meeting came after information regarding the Police Department's response time to a recent robbery circulated in the community.

Nicodemus said the information that had been shared was incorrect.

Apparently, some in the community were informed that it took officers more than 40 minutes to respond to a report of a robbery at a downtown business on Dec. 21.

Nicodemus said officers responded to the call in about four minutes.

He said there was an earlier call the same day in which someone reported suspicious people who were seen in area but already had left. He said the response time to this call was 41 minutes.

Nicodemus said the Police Department prioritizes calls. He said calls involving a threat to a person's life or safety are given higher priority than reports of property crimes and nuisance calls.

“We have to take the information we get and make a decision on the appropriate response,” he said.

During Friday's meeting, there also was concern expressed about officers seeming indifferent when responding to calls.

Nicodemus said business owners can contact the Police Department if they have concerns about an officer.

“I will take care of that,” he said. “The chief will take care of that.”

Kramer said business owners also can contact him if they have a complaint about the customer service they receive from a police officer.

Bauder suggested having another meeting in the future as a followup.

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