KC police officers to be honored for their work to help a couple in need

Helping residents overcome mental health issues isn’t among the usual duties assigned to police officers.

But after Kansas City police were called to an older couple’s home in the Northland 10 times in five months this year, officers J.D. Pettey and Philip Sipple made it their business to get to the root of the problem.

They wondered if the man, who was drunk when they were called to the house, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. He had served in the military in World War II. The home was packed with items, including 15 car jacks and 100 small flashlights.

Pettey and Sipple worked on-duty and off-duty to enroll the husband in a PTSD support group at a VA hospital and link his wife with the Department of Aging, which offered discounted groceries and free help for her hoarding problem. The officers helped clear a half-ton of recyclables from the couple’s property, sold the material and gave the proceeds to the couple. The officers also enlisted the couple’s former church to help with the couple’s continuing needs.

Police have not been called back to the home since.

Kansas City Police Chief Jim Corwin plans to recognize the officers today by presenting them with certificates of commendation at a ceremony at police headquarters. The officers are among 10 officers expected to be honored.

The other awards, according to a department press release, will go to:

• Officer Oley Denmark, who crawled through broken glass underneath an unstable, overturned SUV to rescue a man who had been partially thrown from his vehicle when struck by a driver fleeing from police the wrong way on U.S. 71.

• Seven Metro Patrol officers who dived into Brush Creek in an attempt to rescue a man trapped underneath a riding lawn mower.

• The Metro Patrol Division, the vice unit, City Prosecutor Beth Murano and two fire investigators who worked together to shut down two potentially dangerous after-hours clubs at 59th Street and Troost Avenue and 59th and Prospect Avenue.