March 30, 2021

Sugar Creek Election - The Candidates Speak

 On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, voters in Sugar Creek will head to the polls and decide what the future of Sugar Creek will be like for the next four years. The Inter-City News offered the candidates a chance to reach out to our readers, and we are publishing the responses that we received in the order in which they arrived. Our thanks to the candidates who responded.


CANDIDATE: Tom Butkovich

  Hello, my name is Tom Butkovich, and I am running for the Sugar Creek City Marshal.  This position is essentially the chief of police for Sugar Creek. 

   I was born in Sugar Creek and lived here until I was 8 years old.  I moved back to Sugar Creek in 2017. 

   I was hired by the Kansas City Missouri Police Department in 2008.  I started the Kansas City Regional Police Academy in April of 2008 and graduated in November of 2008.  I graduated the class valedictorian.  I was assigned to the South Patrol Division for the first 5 years of my career.  

   During my time in South Patrol, I became a Field Training Officer (FTO).  An FTO’s job is to train a recruit for the first 10 weeks of their new career.  An FTO observes and evaluates the new recruit to make sure they are doing the job safe and are staying within the laws and policies of the department.  I also was assigned as a Detective to investigate property crimes within South Patrol.  While assigned to South Patrol I was named the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Officer of the Year for arresting 90 impaired drivers in one year.  

   After 5 years in South Patrol, I transferred to the DWI/DUI Unit where it was my primary responsibility to patrol Kansas City and proactively look for impaired drivers.  During this time, I arrested more than 500 impaired drivers.  During my 8-year career with the Kansas City Police Department I received numerous awards to include, Good Conduct (no substantiated complaints), Safe Driving (no vehicle crashes), Firearms Marksmanship, Physical Fitness, Special Unit Citation, Life Saving Award and the Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriff’s Associations Gold Medal of Valor, which is the highest award a Police Officer can receive.  I also received numerous letters of appreciation from citizens and numerous supervisory notices.  

   In 2015 I left KCPD to go into the private sector as an investigator.  After a short period of time, I realized I missed Law Enforcement and was hired by the Sugar Creek Police Department in July of 2016.  Since being hired I have served as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Detective and am now a Sergeant.  I am assigned to the Metro Squad which is activated to investigate murders throughout the Kansas City Metro Area.  I am assigned as a Task Force Officer (TFO) with the FBI’s Violent Crimes Fugitive Apprehension Task Force.  The primary mission of the Fugitive Apprehension Task Force is to locate and arrest anyone with a violent (murder, robbery, rape, assault, etc.) felony or federal arrest warrant.  

   As a TFO I am deputized by both the FBI and the US Marshal Service.  I am also a hostage negotiator as well as an academy instructor at the Blue River Public Safety Institute and I operate the departments FLIR (night vision) Drone.  In January of 2021 I was assigned to the Jackson County Drug Task Force to investigate state and federal drug cases throughout the Jackson County area.  

   I welcome anyone with questions to contact me either though my website at or through Facebook at


I am Christopher Soule, your candidate for City Marshal. I am currently the Police Chief-City Marshal for the City of Sugar Creek. I am a lifetime resident of Sugar Creek and have proudly raised my family here. I am married to my wife of 24 years, Valerie, who owns and operates the longest operating family business in Sugar Creek, Kross Lounge and Restaurant. Our two sons, Blake and Hunter, are both fine young adults and make us proud to be parents.

I started my career with Sugar Creek Police in 1993, as a part-time Police Dispatcher. In 1995 I was hired as a full-time Police Officer and served as Patrolman where I started the police department’s first School Resource Officer program. In 2003, I was promoted to Sergeant and ran day-to-day operations and started doing the administrative paperwork for the department. I was instrumental in writing numerous grants on behalf of the Police Department, which provided a Livescan fingerprinting system, equipment for officers and patrol vehicles, overtime grant enforcement and a COPS grant which has funded officers for over 8 years. While acting as Sergeant, I was assigned as the Detective Sergeant also. In 2013, I was promoted to Staff Sergeant taking responsibility for all administrative training, payroll, scheduling, grant writing and day to day operations.

In 2015, with the unfortunate vacancy of the Chief of Police-City Marshal position, I was appointed by the Mayor with unanimous votes from the Board of Alderman and the support of all of my fellow officers to the position and was re-elected as Marshal in 2017. I have made it my goal to make the department the best for the citizens of Sugar Creek.

I have since began networking and joined the boards of the Western Missouri Regional Police Academy, Jackson County Drug Task Force, and serve as Chairman of the board for Jackson County Youth court and began relationships that have blossomed. I have also become active in the Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriffs Association, as well as the Missouri Police Chief’s Association which has created relationships to members local and state-wide Police departments, FBI agents assigned to the metro as well as DEA agents and members of the U.S. attorney’s office.

During my time as your Marshal many improvements for our city are evident. Updated vehicles were approved and purchased, the implementation of computers in the vehicles has allowed use of mobile ticketing and an automated license plate reader. A new digital radio system was purchased and has been an integral part in keeping all city employees and citizens safe. To date Sugar Creek continues to experience a drop in crime. I have worked with the board of Aldermen to obtain competitive salaries for all staff. Since taking office, our department has made public safety and education a priority by sending two officers to D.A.R.E. and School Resource Officer training, applied for and received a grant from Jackson County COMBAT to help fund our D.A.R.E. Officer for the past 3 years. Community outreach is important to me, supporting Coffee with a Cop, neighborhood watch meetings, and numerous local school programs makes our community stronger. The department has worked hard to enhance policing of violent criminals and crime, which includes working with the courts by putting those headed down the wrong path into diversion programs in an effort to help them and society.

As Chief, I have made it my goal to have a more proactive approach to policing the City of Sugar Creek. The community is seeing the results. In a two-year crime review a 22% reduction in crimes was recorded and the best response time in the area. An increase in positive community relationships has helped support these reductions.

I am committed to running a positive campaign, focused on the goal of keeping our community safe and our crime low. I will continue to host meetings where our department listens to the concerns of our citizens and makes this a great place to live.

Please feel free to email or call me if you would like to talk or want more information:


I will continue with the positive changes our city needs and I am asking for your vote for City Marshal on April 6th.


CANDIDATE: Mike Larson

Goals for the next 4 years:

   Continue to build and expand on the successes we have had in the last four years.

   Attract new businesses into Sugar Creek at the corner of US 24 Highway and Sterling. Continue to market available store fronts along Sterling Ave.

   Build new homes in the City to attract families that want to live, work and play in a safe, secure community.

Continue working on our infrastructure, especially our aging sanitary sewer system by repairing or replacing damaged sections.

   Support our Sugar Creek volunteer organizations; CDC, Business & Civics Club, Sugar Creek Heritage Center, Go Sugar Creek, Sugar Creek Downtown.

   Create a Sugar Creek Gateway that welcomes visitors into our city.

   Continue to build and promote the Sister City agreement between Sugar Creek, Mo and Independence, Mo., and Martin, Slovakia. Student exchanges, fund raisers and cultural exchanges are at the top of the list of activities.

   In 2021, promote and emphasize the 100-year heritage of Sugar Creek. Because of Covid, all monthly activities for 2020 had to be postponed. Most importantly, the time capsule opening and closing ceremony MUST be done in 2021.

   Promote existing City events; BBQ Contest, Slavic Festival, Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks show, Fall Festival and Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting. Create and promote new City events; Disc Golf Tournaments at the new 18-hole Disc Golf Course at LaBenite, celebrate the new year-round facility at the Sugar Creek Gymnasium by showcasing exercise classes, BB practices and tournaments, VB practices and tournaments and Pickleball lessons, practices and matches.

   Create healthy, safe living spaces for individuals to walk or bike.

Successes in the last 4 years:

   As Mayor, I feel I can only take responsibility for four things that have happened in the first 4 years. The rest of the achievements were only accomplished through partnership and teamwork.

   The four I take credit for:

   On St. Patrick’s Day 2020, a back hoe began removing fill material from a sink hole in the parking lot of Best Buy Car Lot. When all of the rock, gravel, asphalt, trees, and limbs were removed, the swamp on the south side of US 24 drained all the way to the Missouri River. The site of road closures, rerouted traffic and property damage due to flooding, did not flood again the entire year of 2020.

   One campaign promise was to put the Board of Aldermen Council Minutes back in the monthly Sweet Talk. This allowed every resident to know what the Board talked about in the previous month.

   Another promise of communication became known as This Week in the Creek. For three years, this was a weekly email blast going out to 300 subscribers. Any current issue of importance was in the email. Many upcoming events were advertised in the weekly message. When Covid hit, many residents were sheltering in place. They had no way of knowing what was going on outside of their homes. There was room for a daily joke. There was room for the national day that day. This became an honor and privilege to serve my constituents in this incredible year. 

   The fourth promise I made was to improve economic development. To do this, the City needed an Economic Development Committee (EDC). The City used to have one, but it stopped meeting. The EDC was reformed under my urging with the former Mayor, Stan Salva, taking on the role of Chair. As time passed, the mantel of leadership was transferred to Ms. Shannon Hesterberg to take on the role of Chair of the EDC. 

   The number of successes in the last four years is unprecedented. The team I worked with deserves the credit for coming up with these ideas and following them through to the end. There is room to list only a few of the highlights. The 80-year-old gym received a makeover; a new roof, a new HVAC, new ADA doors, electrical upgrades, new paint and with the savings, the floor was sanded and refinished. A new 50-foot by 60- foot steel roof pavilion was installed at Mike Onka Hall immediately after all of the exterior concrete was replaced. All of the City buildings are now fitted with LED lights. New businesses were added: Dollar Tree (twice), Deal Thrift Store, and a business that serves the mentally and physically handicapped. Monthly activities were planned by the Centennial Committee for the 100-year Anniversary and will be resurrected during 2021, especially, the time capsule opening and closing.


   I would like to thank the Inter-City News for this opportunity to introduce myself to the citizens of Sugar Creek, MO. My name is Geoffrey Jay and I chose to move to Sugar Creek in 2017. When my work transferred me to the area I looked all around and decided Sugar Creek would be the place I would be happiest starting the next chapter of my life. There are many of you that have meet me over the years, however, I also know there are many of you I have not had the pleasure to get to know yet. So where to start, life has led me on many journeys and to have many experiences. One thing that has been consistent is a career in environmental consulting and Industrial Hygiene, doing my best to protect the environment, as well as worker health.  

   In addition to growing my career I have performed volunteer work in some form for almost 40 years. I started young helping my mom with various things around town to as an adult going from just volunteering at a nature center to joining their board, then becoming vice-president and finally president. This love for my community led me to look for opportunities to volunteer in Sugar Creek as soon as I bought my house, which led me to joining the Sugar Creek Downtown Organization and being elected vice-president and acting executive director until we get to the point, we can hire someone to take over that position. 

   My vision for the future of Sugar Creek is to give all our residents a place to be proud they call it home. Now this is not going to be easy or fast. In fact, at times, it may be hard and complicated. But I feel if we all work together, we can make it happen. One of the first things we need is to develop a Master Development Plan for the city. We can not continue to move forward with no idea of where we are going. We need to focus on the revitalization of Sterling Avenue to find businesses that will compliment what we have so far. In addition, we need to make Sugar Creek more attractive so we can have people from out side of the city come in and patronize our businesses, attend our events and share our love for our community. 

   I also want to improve the communication between City Hall and our residents. There is so much information that in not passed through to let our citizens know what is happening in their city. This also includes marketing our to people outside our city. Personally, I have observed many times where the city plans an event, but no advertising occurs until if we are lucky one week prior to the event. Then it is not understood why there is poor turnout. If we do not tell anyone about how great Sugar Creek is then they will never know to come visit.

   Well, I could go on and on, but I do not want to bore you. I would much rather hear what things you would like to see and make you proud to say you live in Sugar Creek. So, feel free to e-mail at Thank you for your time and no matter who you vote for just please come out and vote April 6th.

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