by Ivan Foley
His tenure at Platte County was short-lived.
Platte County High School Principal Dr. Patrick Martin resigned this week, days after being arrested in a sting operation by Kansas City police.
Martin, 37, is charged with patronizing prostitution. He was arrested during an operation conducted by police at the Sleep Inn hotel near Interstate 29 and Tiffany Springs, Kansas City in Platte County.
His arrest came at 11:30 a.m. last Wednesday morning, Sept. 26, which indicates the incident that led to his arrest took place while classes were in session at what was a normal school day on the schedule at Platte County High School.
“Our vice unit sets up stings all the time,” Darin Snapp, public information officer for the Kansas City Police Department, told The Landmark this week.
Snapp explained this particular sting involved placing an ad under “escorts” on a web site called backpage.com.
Police say Martin called the number on the ad to set up a date. A female detective posing as a prostitute answered the call and told him the general area where she would be. She told him to call again when he was in that area. Once he made that call, she told him in which hotel she would be. She then asked him to call again when he had arrived at the hotel.
Police say Martin called her when he arrived at the hotel and the undercover detective told him which room she was in.
Snapp said the three phone call approach by police is by design. He explained the process gives the “customer” multiple chances to step away from the arrangement before following through with the illegal act.
According to the police report, Martin knocked on the hotel room door and came inside. Police say Martin then agreed to pay the female $150 in exchange for oral sex and sexual intercourse with a condom.
The police report indicates Martin was then placed into custody without further incident. He was released on a signature bond, meaning no cash was needed for his release.
“That is standard in these types of cases,” Snapp told The Landmark.
Snapp said the low-key arrest strategy in such incidents is followed to protect the nature of the sting operation while it is in progress.
“We don’t want to bring in a paddy wagon, for instance, to haul people away,” he explained, for that would draw attention to the scene and the sting operation that is underway.
Police told The Landmark that Martin was one of six people arrested last Wednesday in the sting at Sleep Inn.
Snapp said Martin was issued what is known as a general municipal ordinance summons. He signed the signature bond and was fingerprinted. No mug shot of the suspect is taken in a signature bond situation like this, Snapp said.
The police report indicates “listed property” was recovered and placed into custody. Snapp explained that the listed property is the surveillance video of the incident.
Coincidentally, Martin was the scheduled guest speaker at a meeting of the Platte City Lions Club last Wednesday evening, the same day as his arrest. Martin showed up for the speaking appearance as scheduled.
Martin’s date in Kansas City Municipal Court is set for Dec. 27 at 9 a.m. in courtroom F.
Martin resides in Kansas City. He was in his first year as principal at Platte County High School after working as an assistant principal at Lee’s Summit West High School for four years. Prior to that, he had worked in the Excelsior Springs, Columbia and Park Hill School Districts.
Martin’s annual salary at Platte County was “right at $100,000,” Dr. Mike Reik, superintendent, confirmed for The Landmark.
Martin has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Missouri, a master’s from Northwest Missouri State, and a doctorate in educational administration from St. Louis University.
MARTIN ISSUES RESIGNATION
Platte County R-3 officials would not comment on Martin’s resignation other than to say the principal had resigned Monday for “unforeseen personal reasons.”
Martin’s resignation was first reported by The Landmark at Twitter.com/ivanfoley early Tuesday morning. The school district’s central office sent out a press release on the topic about 45 minutes later.
The school’s press release said:
“Mr. Alan Bunch has been named interim principal for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year following the resignation announcement of Dr. Pat Martin on Oct. 1st. Dr. Martin cited unforeseen personal reasons for his resignation.
"We are so pleased to have Alan Bunch’s experience, commitment and advocacy for both students and staff to depend on to make this a smooth transition for all," said Dr. Mike Reik, superintendent of schools.
Bunch, who has served as assistant principal for the past 11 years, will step into the principal position immediately.
"I am proud to take the reins at PCHS and very excited to build stronger relationships with staff, parents and our students," commented Bunch on his new position.
The district indicated Bunch will serve as interim principal through the remainder of the current school year.
Reik said the resignation of a principal is obviously not a good way to start the school year.
“This isn’t ideal for anybody,” Reik said early Tuesday afternoon when he declined to give any reason for Martin’s resignation other than the “personal reasons.”
“This will be a challenging year for us to get through,” Reik told The Landmark. “But if there is a building where we want to have adversity or turnover, it would be that building (the high school) because Alan Bunch is acutely able to step into that role.”
Bunch, in a phone interview with The Landmark Tuesday afternoon after his first day, said: “Our staff and students are great. That’s why I’ve been here for 11 years. There are a lot of people offering to help in my transition.”
Bunch was a vocal music educator prior to going into administration. He and his wife, who teaches at Liberty, have two grown children.
Bunch taught at Excelsior Springs, Fort Osage and Winnetonka before coming to Platte County R-3.
Bunch said his challenge will be to “cultivate and grow relationships with students, staff and the community” while focusing on implementing the building improvement plan.
In an email to parents on Tuesday, Bunch said:
“I have been named interim principal for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year. I am proud to take the reins and very excited to build stronger relationships with our staff, parents and students to achieve our goals. Your PCHS 11administrative team will include me, (assistant principal) Shari Waters and (activities/athletics director) Phil Dorman. Dr. Mike Brown, assistant superintendent, will also be providing assistance as we continue creating our building improvement plan and with other focused administrative support as needed.”
In that email, Bunch added: “We value the support our parents and community provide to Platte County High School and I look forward to continuing and improving those strong relationships.”