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Crime Spree Ends with Arrest

July 14, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

After allegedly stealing two trucks a month ago and trying to take another one Friday, 35 year old Edward Lee Judkins, Jr. was captured while fleeing from a home he had just broken into on Old Blue Springs Road.

Judkins, who resides on Keltonburg Road, Smithville, is charged with aggravated burglary; evading arrest; resist stop frisk halt search; three counts of burglary, three counts of theft, and two counts of vandalism. His bond totals $67,500 and he will be in court July 23.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, July 10 a deputy was called to a residence on Old Blue Springs Road to investigate the possible theft of a brown two tone Chevrolet truck. Judkins had just broken into the truck, destroying the steering column to gain access to the ignition, before driving away in reverse as the deputy and a detective arrived on the scene. In trying to make his getaway, Judkins ran into a maroon Ford truck parked at the residence, and then went through a row of hedges onto the property of a neighbor causing $239 worth of damage to some landscaping there. After the truck stalled Judkins jumped out and fled on foot. Later a call came in that Judkins had returned to the same home on Old Blue Springs Road and entered by kicking in a door. As officers arrived back on the scene, they captured Judkins after spotting him climbing out a front window.

In the earlier crimes, Judkins is charged with breaking into and stealing a 1998 Nissan Frontier truck valued at $1,000 on June 9 and then burglarizing and taking a 2006 GMC truck valued at $4,500 on June 16.

40 year old John Adrian Williams of Orthodox Way, Liberty is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $5,000. Sheriff Ray said that on July 10 a deputy was called to Williams’ home due to a fire. Upon arrival he spoke with Williams and contacted central dispatch for a computer check which revealed that Williams was wanted in Jackson County, Missouri for a failure to appear with a bond of $1,000.

29 year old Michael James Edmiston of Crest Drive, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court July 30. Sheriff Ray said that on July 6 a deputy was dispatched to Crest Drive due to a physical domestic where a woman was found bleeding from her arm. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the woman who said that she and her son, Edmiston had gotten into an argument and that he grabbed her by both arms which caused the skin to tear in two places on her left arm making it bleed.

Cripps Calls for Robust, Agile, and Ready to Assist Smithville Police Department (View Video Here)

July 13, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen heard from local attorney and concerned citizen Sarah Cripps Monday night.

Cripps is upset about an incident on Tuesday, June 9 in which she claims her life and the lives of others including Judge Bratten Cook, II were threatened and that the Smithville Police Department, specifically Officer Andy Snow, failed to promptly respond. She appeared before the County Commission on Monday, June 22 to make a similar complaint against the Sheriff’s Department stemming from the same incident. But Cripps stopped short of calling for the city to “appoint a community policing oversight board “ as she had done with the county commission over her grievance against the sheriff.

Sarah Cripps Addresses Mayor and Aldermen from dwayne page on Vimeo.

During Monday night’s monthly meeting, Cripps called on the Mayor and Aldermen to ensure that the city has a “robust, agile, and ready to assist police department” and to provide more funding to conduct proper police training if needed to prevent “lackluster policing”. And while she was still critical of Officer Snow’s actions on June 9, Cripps commended Police Chief Mark Collins for “positive changes he has made” since that incident.

“I would like to commend Chief Collins for the positive changes he has made in the wake of the June 9 event that pointed out the very clear deficiencies in both the sheriff’s office and the city. If the reason for this lackluster policing is because Chief Collins does not have enough funding to conduct proper training with his officers I would ask this board to consider rectifying that for all citizens of the city,” said Cripps.

When she appeared before the county commission June 22, Cripps said she got no help from the city and county law enforcement departments on June 9 after being threatened by a woman she was appointed to represent in a Department of Children Services matter. But both Sheriff Patrick Ray and Smithville Police Chief Collins later said that the woman who made the threats against Cripps, Judge Cook, and two DCS case workers, 23 year old Kathleen Nichole Thomas of Meadowbrook Drive was taken into custody later that same day (June 9).

Cripps went into detail with the county commission June 22 about what occurred before and during June 9.

“Judge Cook entered an order in the Juvenile Court on May 14 requiring law enforcement to accompany me and two other women (DCS case workers), Olivia Norton Southard and her supervisor to a woman’s (Thomas’) home. On Tuesday, June 9 we undertook to execute this order. A city police officer, Andy Snow accompanied us. He (Officer Snow) did nothing. At this home on June 9, the lady repeatedly threatened to kill me, to kill Judge Cook, and to kill the ladies who were with me. I have it on video. When we received these threats Officer Andy Snow never took it upon himself to assist us. He stood back at a safe distance to make sure nothing would hurt him,” said Cripps.

During her address to the mayor and aldermen Monday night, Cripps said Officer Snow should have done more.

“It is regrettable that the individual who made the credible threats of harm on June 9 was not arrested immediately by Officer Snow because he was present the whole time. The other issue I have with Officer Snow’s behavior is that he did not radio central dispatch. He did not notify E911 that a credible threat to kill had been made against Judge Cook, myself, Olivia Norton, and Angelia Brown. 911 could not do a reverse call because Andy Snow did not notify anyone that this had happened, ”Cripps continued.

Cripps also raised concerns about a “shots fired” incident last summer from property outside the city (shooting range) which almost hit someone near her mother’s home in the city. Cripps claims neither the city police nor county sheriff’s department could provide a report on the incident. Cripps called for better cooperation between the two law enforcement agencies and stop “ what I call the blame game that occurs when there is no good policing”.

“On August 9 last year shots were fired by some men from the property  just behind the hospital. That property is in the county. The bullets traveled into my mother’s yard and went over the head of a man, who I regard as a brother. He has dual citizenship. He was almost killed. This event was reported to our city attorney, Mr. Vester Parsley on August 9 by my mother who went to his office. She also reported it at the same time or nearly so to Alderman Brandon Cox, who is an attorney and Mr. Parsley’s law partner. My mother called 911 and reported it. Andy Snow again was on the scene but did nothing. My mother did more to investigate that case and track down the assailants than either the city or the county. She called 911. She did everything she was supposed to do. I would say to this board that my mother has tried to get a report from the county and tried to get a report from the city multiple times. The county tells her to go to the city and the city tells her to go to the county. It was my understanding that with all calls that an officer receives,  police reports are to be made but there has never been a report made by either agency in this case for reckless endangerment with a man almost being killed on August 9,” added Cripps.

Officer Snow, in response to Cripps’ remarks, told the mayor and aldermen that he did not enjoy his name being “run through the dirt” and gave his side of the story concerning the June 9 incident.

“I have done this job for a long time and when I first started I realized one thing very quickly and that is you cannot please everybody. Ms Cripps has brought up two incidents that involves me and I want to show my side of the story. That call in June probably lasted 7 or 8 minutes. This entire time, none of the three ladies (Cripps and DCS workers) ever made any indication to me that they were afraid for their lives. I understand the disabilities that Ms. Cripps has but she had her arm around one of the DCS officers the whole time. She never told her lets go, we need to leave or nothing like that. In fact when you watch the video tape I have in my body camera which has been made available to you (mayor and aldermen) instead of trying to retreat and go back, Ms. Cripps argued with her (Thomas),” said Officer Snow.

As for the “shots fired” incident last summer, Officer Snow said “I remember the call. Ms. Cripps’ mother called 911 about what happened. I made contact with these individuals (who fired shots) and I had them draw a map to show exactly where they were shooting guns. I explained to Ms. Cripps that the location was in the county. I have no jurisdiction over what happens inside the county. I radioed for a county deputy to come over there and I even stayed with Ms Cripps until a county deputy came over there. I told the county deputy what happened. He took over from there and I left,” added Officer Snow.

Chief Collins also addressed the mayor and aldermen to defend his department.

“Each day the officers of the Smithville Police Department who are sworn to protect and serve the citizens of Smithville risk their lives for those whom they may have never met and fight for what’s right. They are called upon for help when help is needed and would lay down their lives for the citizens of Smithville. Of the 14 sworn officers we have, most were born here, went to school, grew up here, and chose to raise their families here but most importantly they chose to work here to make their home a better place and safer place not only for their families but other families and the citizens of Smithville,” said Chief Collins.

“ Each officer has their own hopes and dreams. They are human and far from perfect just like the people they help, the people they arrest or the people who complain about them. They all have families who love them and want them to come home safe after every shift. They only want peace in our community,” he said.

“Each day your officers are faced with making split second decisions that could change their lives and the the lives of others forever. Their decisions are criticized by the media, debated over social media, and lawmakers discuss them for years yet knowing this will happen, they continue to uphold their oath and risk their own lives for civilians they don’t know. They see and hear things on a daily basis that most people can’t imagine. They don’t want to talk about it and try to forget about it but they never will”.

“They go home at the end of their shift with the weight and stress of the day in an unrest world on their shoulders and in most cases are unable to talk to their families in fear of worrying them of the dangerous job that they do.”

“Each officer is different. Each officer responds and handles calls in different ways but at the end of the day every call gets handled and our community remains safe. Your officers are professionals and are supplied with the tools and training needed to do their job.”

“Over the course of the last few months your officers have been called upon to handle situations not common to our community and each officer has met that challenge and handled it with professionalism and great character. I hope everyone here is proud of our men in blue as I am. As your police chief, I am honored and blessed to be part of such a great group of young men and that I am able to live, work, and raise my family in this great community that supports our law enforcement and that we call home,” said Chief Collins.

Mayor Josh Miller then talked about the city’s commitment to the police department and commended the chief and his officers for their community service.

“I want to make the public aware that this council voted 5 to 0 last month to build a new police department right across the street. They also voted to put one of the biggest budgets ever to police and fire,” said Mayor Miller.

“I know the public sees our police officers writing tickets, patrolling, and doing what cops do. But I see behind the scenes. I see them from more of a personal type level. This is the way I see them. Last year we were at a Christmas function and Chief Collins asked a little girl what she wanted for Christmas. She said I want my mother. Of course that sparked everybody’s interest. Why would she say that? We learned the child’s mother had just died. I saw my officers load up Christmas gifts to take to this little girl’s house just to make her smile. There are many instances where people come in here hungry and I have seen Captain Steven Leffew many times go and get food for them. I could tell you numerous other stories. That’s how I see my police department. Chief Collins told me last week that the Sheriff’s Department and City Police Department have never worked so good together. We need to work together. With all the craziness going on in the world we need to unite and rally around all of our officers, fire departments, paramedics, and others,” added Mayor Miller.

Two other citizens, Mark Steff and Paul Miranda also spoke in support of the police department.

No action was taken by the aldermen.

WJLE to Host LIVE Call-In Program Thursday for Director of Schools Patrick Cripps and Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder to Answer Questions About Plans for Re-Opening DeKalb Schools

July 13, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

WJLE will be hosting a LIVE Call-In program Thursday morning, July 16 starting at 8:30 a.m. featuring Director of Schools Patrick Cripps and Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder to discuss the plans for re-opening DeKalb County Schools on Monday, August 3.

Listeners may phone in their questions to Cripps and Reeder at 615-597-4265. The program will be broadcast LIVE on WJLE AM 1480/WJLE FM 101.7 and LIVE stream at

The Board of Education last week voted to start school in the traditional manner with students attending in person on campus. But the board is also permitting parents who have concerns to opt for remote learning for their children due to COVID-19. Parents are asked to contact their child’s school weekdays from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. prior to July 22 if they want their child to participate in remote learning.

Scenarios and protocols have been established depending upon the severity of the pandemic (Minimum, Moderate, or Substantial) during the year. DeKalb County Schools will reopen August 3 under the “Moderate Community Spread” framework unless the pandemic gets worse.


Return to School Framework (PDF)

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