BY LOCAL PROSECUTOR
The Kansas City Police Department’s Career Criminal Task Force received the 16th Annual Sara Andrasek Memorial Award on April 28.
The award was part of the Platte County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office’s yearly luncheon as part of national Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
Kansas City Police Department Chief Stacey Graves was the keynote speaker at the free luncheon, which was held at First Baptist Church of Platte City and was attended by more than 100 people.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, “It was fitting that Chief Graves spoke at a luncheon that recognized KCPD’s Career Criminal Task Force. She was one of the first members of that unit, which has done great things for so many victims of crime.”
During her remarks, Graves spoke of her work with the Career Criminal Task Force finding the body of a young murder victim using cell phone location data. She talked about how she would never forget that young girl.
“Victims need police and police need to serve victims,” Graves said.
She urged the community as a whole to elevate victim voices, and said the case involving the young female victim continues to resonate with her.
Mark Gibson, first assistant prosecuting attorney in Platte County recounted a handful of Platte County cases where the Career Criminal Task Force was instrumental in bringing lawbreakers to justice in Platte County. Gibson noted that those cases represented only a fraction of many cases in which the task force has helped crime victims by bringing violent and dangerous criminals to justice.
More than 20 current and former members of the Career Criminal Task Force were present at the luncheon. The Task Force’s current and former supervisors, Sgt. Billy VonWolf and Eric Greenwell, accepted the award on behalf of the Task Force.
Sara Andrasek’s mother, Janet Williams, helped Zahnd present the award. The award is given each year in Andrasek’s memory. She was raped and murdered in 2001 while pregnant with her first child. Zahnd’s office and the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department were in the final stages of preparing a death penalty case against Wayne Dumond when Dumond died while in custody.