PARSONS, Ks. — Safety is always a primary concern throughout any community.


With the increased use of online shopping through platforms, this has community leaders looking for ways to create an environment for any in-person exchanges. And soon, one of those will be coming to Parsons.

“Marketplace and Craigslist and all that stuff has really gotten huge over the past few years,” says Leland Crooks, Parsons City Commissioner, “It’s individuals selling to individuals, there’s no guarantees, you don’t have a store you can go back to.”

Online shopping has become almost second nature to people all over the world.

You could have what you need in just a few clicks, but while delivery may be an option for some, for platforms like Facebook Marketplace, it requires the buyer and seller to meet face to face.

This raised a concern for people like Leland Crooks and his wife, who found themselves using these platforms in Parsons.

“They were meeting at Walgreens and what not, and I thought ‘You don’t know who you’re meeting or what’s going on,’ and at one city commission I happened to ask Chief Spinks if we have somewhere around the police department that they could do that, and he said ‘No, but we will,” says Leland Crooks, Parsons City Commissioner.

“We thought this was a great idea,” says Robert Spinks, Parsons Police Chief, “You’re starting to see those more and more across the United States, not so much in our region or in Kansas.”

Soon the city will see its first safe exchange zone.

“This is an area on the north side of the police department that will be clearly designated with a couple of large signs,” says Spinks, “Closed-circuit cameras that will be marketing the area for safety, and we’ll have some increased lighting, hopefully this will be the brightest spot in Parsons at night.”

A spot which can also be used in ways outside of online shopping.

“We have couples who are exchanging children for custody issues, for visits with mom or dad, that should really happen in a safe area,” says Spinks.

“Just if you want to be safe, making any kind of exchange, that’s the place to do it,” says Crooks.