Friday, July 30, 2010

Seat Belt, Texting While Driving and Motorcycle Equipment Laws

On July 21, 2010, Ordinance No. TC-1260,QQQ was published and took effect in Overland Park. This ordinance adopts changes in traffic laws authorized by the 2010 Kansas legislature.

The seat belt law now allows police officers to stop vehicles if front seat occupants are not wearing a seat belt.

The texting law prohibits the writing, sending or reading of electronic communications while driving. There are several exceptions to the ordinance, including communications where a motor vehicle is stopped off the regular traveled portion of the roadway; reading; selecting or entering a telephone number or name into a cell phone; the receiving of emergency, traffic or weather alert messages; receiving messages related to the operation or navigation of the motor vehicle; reporting current or ongoing illegal activity to law enforcement; and communications to prevent imminent injury to a person or property. The law does not prohibit talking on a cell phone while driving, but such activity may violate the inattentive driving ordinance. Police officers may issue warning citations for violation of this ordinance until January 1, 2011.

Additional parts of this ordinance allow police to cite persons who allow or permit operation of a motorcycle or motorized bicycle by someone under the age of 18 without a helmet and eye protection.

Finally another provision prohibits the use of license plate covers that affect the plate’s visibility or reflectivity.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Good Work by School Resource Officer Stops Vandalism Spree

On June 26th, Overland Park police officers responded to reports of numerous vandalisms to autos, auto burglaries, and one residential (aggravated) burglary in the neighborhood surrounding 131st Street and Larsen. All told, there were 15 vandalisms and 13 auto burglaries, besides the residential burglary, reported. As the investigation unfolded, it was determined a credit card stolen in one of the auto burglaries was used at several local businesses that morning. One store had video surveillance footage of the suspect and his vehicle that was immediately available. This was released to the media and the neighborhood assocation posted fliers with the information. A few weeks later, a higher quality video was received from one of the businesses and was also released to the media. Overland Park Police School Resource Officer Sam Provost reviewed the video and recognized the suspect as a student at the school to which he is assigned. Detectives contacted the student, a juvenile, and his parents. Statements were made by the student which confirmed his involvement in the crimes. The case is being referred to the Johnson County District Attorney's Office for the determination and filing of charges.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Theft by Deception

Since January 2010 the Overland Park Police Department has received information on at least seven incidents where fraudulently obtained vehicles have been re-sold on Craigslist. These vehicles are listed on Craigslist or AutoTrader.Com by legitimate sellers who are contacted by either a well dressed man or woman. These “buyers” have the same story indicating they were involved in a recent accident and have an insurance check to purchase another vehicle. The suspects offer the “insurance check” to the seller for their vehicle. It should be noted the “insurance check” is usually for the exact asking amount of the seller’s vehicle and will be premade out to the seller. The “insurance check” is a forgery but by the time the seller is made aware a crime has occurred their vehicle has been re-sold for cash at an artificially low price.

This type of crime creates two victims for each incident, the person who is scammed out of their car with a bogus check, and the person who then buys the stolen car on Craigslist for cash.

We want to make the public aware of this tactic and provide the following ways to protect yourself if you are selling or purchasing a vehicle.

1. If you are selling a vehicle, be very wary of any payments other than cash. If you do agree to accept a check or money order, meet the buyer at a financial institution during business hours where you can verify the payment is good.
2. You can also directly contact the financial institution listed on the check to verify the funds are available prior to accepting the check.
3. Be suspicious of checks issued by insurance companies in your name as the seller. Insurance companies normally issue payments to their insured and not to an individual third party.
4. If you are buying a vehicle, be very suspicious of any vehicle listed substantially below market value.
5. Always meet the seller or buyer in a safe place and take a trusted friend along.
6. Remember, if the deal sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Five "dry wall" Commercial Burglaries in Six Weeks

What’s a “dry wall” burglary? This term describes how a criminal enters a business from another business. Here’s how it’s done. The thief finds a vacant business that shares a common wall with an active business. This is common in strip mall style buildings. The burglar then enters the vacant store cuts through the plaster board or “dry wall” big enough to gain access to the active business. Once inside the thief usually goes undetected and can work to steal whatever the target item is inside. Some safes have even been broken into.

In the last six weeks five Overland Park stores have been entered in this manner with significant losses report. The crimes occur overnight and are not discovered until the following morning. Other cities in the metropolitan area have experienced this same style of burglary and it is most likely the same burglars are responsible for all the crimes.

Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The "wild-side" of Overland Park

Our community boasts outstanding park trails, beautiful green spaces, and winding creek systems that create an environmental balance with the urbanization of both residential and commercial properties. Included as part of that environmental balance is the presence of wildlife in all areas of the City. Overland Park Animal Control responds to over 700 calls for injured wildlife every year. Deer, fox, raccoons, and opossum make up a majority of the common wildlife spotted by citizens every year. However, Overland Park also is home to less common animals like bobcats, birds of prey (eagles, owls, hawks, and falcons), and turkey. Although the City does not provide nuisance wildlife trapping services, if a wild animal is injured, Animal Control can provide the necessary response to most situations. If you find baby or orphaned wild animals, expert wildlife representatives encourage citizens to leave the animal in place and let mother-nature continue taking care of the animal. Animal Control also reports urbanized wildlife behavior may be more relaxed than typical wild animal responses. Healthy animals usually observed nocturnally, or at dawn and dusk, may be seen out during the day depending on the weather and human activity in the area. If you see a wild animal that appears ill or injured, feel free to contact the Police Dispatch at 895-6300 so an Animal Control Officer can evaluate the situation.

High Visibility Traffic Enforcement

• 119th and Quivira
Monday, August 2, 2010 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Focus: Red light violations and aggressive driving

• 91st and Metcalf
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Focus: Red light violations and aggressive driving

• 95th and Antioch
Thursday, August 5, 2010 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Focus: Red light violations and aggressive driving

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bicycle Riders Required to Follow All Traffic Laws

Recently our police department has received inquiries from bicyclists regarding traffic laws and how they apply to them.

The answer is simple; bike riders must obey all traffic laws just as if they were driving a car. For a complete review of the ordinances as they pertain to bicyclists go to click on the City Government Link. Then on the left side of that page look under Legal Publications and click on Codes and Ordinances. Then in the Search box put in 12.04.128 through 12.04.133.

It is most important for drivers and bike riders to share the roadway, be alert, patient and courteous. Considering the volume of car and bike traffic in Overland Park we are fortunate to have few bicycle accidents. This, I believe, is due to conscious car drivers and bike riders who watch for each other and their willingness to accommodate one another.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Praise to Overland Park Detective for their Extensive Five Year Fraud Investigation

Detective Byron Pierce
Detective Dennis Reaser
Detective Craig Enloe
Detective Lance Jordan

I want to express my appreciation to each of you for your involvement in the Delta Investigation case. I realize this investigation began in 2005 at Oak Park Mall during Operation Fraud. From that point the investigation ebbed back and forth creating many obstacles for you to overcome. Through your tenacity, determination, and dedication to duty you persevered and carried this case through various local and federal law enforcement agencies.

Ultimately, you presented your investigation to the US Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri and thirty eight (38) individuals from across the United States have been charged in a series of indictment that allege an extensive network of black market travel agent who used the stolen identities of thousands of victims as part of a multi- million dollar fraud scheme to purchase airline tickets for their customers. These criminal conspirators scam resulted in an estimated loss of more than 20 million dollars to numerous domestic airline companies, financial institutions, and other merchants and cardholders.

The three-page Press Release from US Attorney Beth Phillips released on Friday July 9, 2001 illustrated the complexity of your five-year investigation. The federal indictments which resulted from your pursuit of the many criminals involved in this case coupled with your investigative competence halted a world- wide crime spree that most likely would have gone on undetected for years to come.

Again, I compliment you for your dedication and for all the tedious work that brought this investigation to a successful end. Now the remaining elements of the Criminal Justice System will have the opportunity to follow your lead. I hope those individuals will do you justice and complete their responsibilities in the manner you have established.

John M. Douglass
Chief of Police

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

High Visibility Traffic Enforcement

119th and Metcalf
Friday, July 23, 2010 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Focus: Aggressive driving, red light violations and seat belts

College and Metcalf
Tuesday, July 27, 2010 11:30 am to 1:00 pm

Focus: Aggressive driving, red light violations and seat belts

75th and Antioch
Thursday, July 29, 2010 7:30 am to 9:00 am
Focus: Aggressive driving, red light violations and seat belts

Monday, July 19, 2010

Great Cooperation Leads to Arrest of a Career Criminal

Overland Park Police sponsor a monthly Organized Retail Crime (ORC) meeting. These meetings are attended by retail stores’ loss prevention officers, store managers, and law enforcement officers representing Overland Park Police, Kansas City Missouri Police, Olathe Police and agents from the US Secret Service and US Postal Inspectors.

At the July 15, 2010 meeting a slide program was presented that pictured suspects who are active in retail store thefts in the metropolitan area. Among the individuals highlighted was one man known to be a prolific thief.

Shortly after this meeting ended a loss prevention officer from Wal-Mart was driving on Kansas 7 Highway near Bonner Springs when the meeting’s featured “thief” pulled up next to him in traffic. The Wal-Mart employee immediately suspected the man was headed toward one of his stores and contacted fellow loss prevention officers at the Wal-Mart in Leavenworth to alert them. They in turn notified the Leavenworth Police. Sure enough the thief entered the store and Leavenworth Police attempted to arrest the suspect for a previous felony theft. The suspect fled and a police pursuit ensured. The man was eventually arrested and taken into custody.

This was an excellent example of how these Organized Retail Crime meetings assist retail stores, law enforcement and all of us who must pay for losses caused by career criminals who are stealing each day throughout are metropolitan area.

Friday, July 16, 2010

High Visibility Traffic Enforcement

151st and US 69 Highway
Friday, July 16, 2010 9:00 am to 10:00am
Focus: red light violations, following too close and aggressive driving

119th Street and US 69 Highway
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 8:00 am to 9:00 am
Focus: red light violations and aggressive driving

22 Year Old Woman Impaled on Swimming Pool Fence

This morning at 12:50 a.m., our officers were called to a neighborhood pool west of Nieman Road at 131st Terrace on a medical call. When the officers arrived they contacted a 22 year old woman who was impaled on the top of a wrought Iron pool fence. She was being physically supported by a friend. The woman told officers she and the friend attempted to climb over fence surrounding the neighborhood pool but she slipped going over the fence top and was impaled on two 3” spikes. Overland Park Fire and Rescue arrived and cut the fence apart, stabilized the woman and transported her to a local hospital with part of the fence still in her leg. She was immediately taken into surgery.

The officers learned the young ladies had been out for the evening and wanted to go for a swim so they decided to jump the fence. This is when the accident happened.

It is not uncommon for our officers to respond to afterhours trespassing complaints at neighborhood homes association pools, motel pools and even some private pools. Today’s incident is an example of the danger associated with this illegal trespassing activity.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Armed Robbery - Econolodge

The Econolodge Motel robbery in Overland Park was followed by two more armed robberies. One in Merrian at the Comfort Inn and the second at the Knights In in Overland Park. Detectives were able to link the three cases together and determined that three individuals were directly involved in this series of robberies.

On July 13th we arrested 19 year old [Tommie Lee Tyrone Norwood Junior Newby IV] for Aggravated Robbery. His bond was set at $100,000.

At this time we have made tentative identification of the two other individuals involved. We are continuing our investigation of the other two individuals to confirm their involvement and identity. No additional warrants or charges have been filed. At this time no tips have been received from outside sources on this case.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Plan For Action

When we began this blog some weeks ago, we were determined to use it for a variety of things. We wanted to inform the public of what was happening in Overland Park from a crime standpoint or in regards to traffic. We also wanted to inform the public of significant accomplishments of the officers and employees of this Department. Finally, we wanted to keep the public informed of the direction this Department is headed on major issues within the City. Much of what we have done so far has related to the first two topics. Now it is time to deal with the third.

At the May Public Safety Committee meeting we unveiled our year long study entitled “The Nature of Change in Overland Park and its Effects on Crime Trends”. You can look at this presentation online by using this hyperlink. Two months later we are following that presentation up at the July Public Safety Committee meeting with the follow-up report – “The Nature of Change in Overland Park and its Effects on Crime Trends – A Plan for Action”. That report will be available on line Thursday morning, July 15.

In our plan we highlight six major initiatives, each assigned to one area of the Department. Commanders responsible for that assignment have prepared plans and will present those plans at the Public Safety Committee meeting. It is also my intent to highlight each of those six initiatives in this blog over the next several weeks. It is intended to allow the public to see firsthand non-tactical information of just exactly how we hope to approach these problems. I would encourage any one of you who are interested to come to the Public Safety Committee meeting tomorrow night, Wednesday, July 14, 2010, located at the W. Jack Sanders Justice Center, 12400 Foster, beginning at 7:00 p.m., and see the presentation in its entirety. (Link to Agenda)

As many of you know, Overland Park was named in the top ten best cities to live by Money Magazine yesterday. Let me assure you, the Department is and will continue to do everything we can to keep it that way.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Overland Park Shoplifting Arrest Leads to a 20 Million Dollar Black Market Travel Scam

It all started in 2005 with shoplifting arrests by the Overland Park Police at Oak Park Mall. After the theft arrests Overland Park Investigators obtained stolen property and evidence which included a Dell laptop computer. It was determined the laptop was used by the two to initiate the fraud scheme. Later in related incidents, Overland Park police recovered numerous pieces of mail and credit card numbers that did not belong to the two thieves. One of the credit card numbers was allegedly used to purchase several airline tickets. The two criminals allegedly obtained stolen credit and debit card information from hotels in Overland Park and in the Atlanta, Ga., metro area where identity theft victims stayed as guests. The investigation continued to evolve nationwide and resulted in thirty eight (38) defendants from across the United States being charged in a series of indictments that allege an extensive network of black market travel agents who used stolen identities of thousands of victims. The criminal conspiracies resulted in an estimated total loss of more than $20 million to domestic airline companies, financial institutions and other merchants and cardholders. Besides the Overland Park Police Department the other law enforcement agencies involved in this nationwide investigation were the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Kansas City Secret Service Task Force, the Shawnee, Kan. Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Cowles and Matt Hiller. To read the U.S. Attorney’s news release and obtain other information on this case go

Friday, July 9, 2010

Armed Robbery at Econolodge on Shawnee Mission Parkway

On July 8 at 5:12 a.m, Overland Park Officers responded to a report of an Armed Robbery at the Econolodge Motel, 7508 Shawnee Mission Parkway. The clerk on duty at the motel told the responding officers that 3 black males were involved in the robbery.

One man entered the motel office at 3:50 a.m., under the ruse of renting a room. Then a second suspect came into the lobby and pointed a sawed off shotgun at the clerk and money was taken from the register. The third suspect remained outside as a look out. After the robbery all three ran west from the motel. No injury and no shots fired. The motel clerk delayed calling the police until 5:12 a.m., as he was threatened by the robbers that they would return and kill him if he called.

Suspects descriptions:

1. B/M, white shirt, dark shorts, white shoes, grey hat
2. B/M, red shirt, white shorts with red stripe, blue and red hat, white bandana over his face, armed with sawed off shotgun
3. B/M, dark shirt, red shorts

Anyone with information on these suspects or this crime is asked to call the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or the Overland Park Police at 913-344-8750.

Arrests Made in Open Garage Door Burglaries

On July 7, 2010, Overland Park Police Detectives arrested two juveniles in connection with a series of open garage door burglaries that have occurred in Overland Park and Lenexa. The two suspects, 16 and 17 years of age have been actively stealing items from open garages since early June. Investigation led Detectives to an apartment complex near 119th & Quivira, where the suspects were found in a garage, packaging up stolen items which they had sold on eBay.

Inside the garage Police recovered over 20 sets of golf clubs, a paddle boat, lawn care equipment, sports equipment and other stolen property. Much of this property has already been linked to previous offense reports filed in Overland Park and Lenexa, and Police are working to identify the owners of the property so it can be returned to them. Reports are being submitted to the Johnson County District Attorney for the filing of charges.

While we are happy to recover this property and solve these offenses, we would continue to urge residents to keep their garage doors closed to help prevent these crimes of opportunity.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

High Visibility Traffic Enforcement

Our Traffic Safety Officers continue to be proactive in reducing accidents through selective enforcement. Our accident analysis shows which “contributing factor” is prevalent at these specific intersections. The following information indicates where and when the officers will be involved in selective enforcement. The officers will concentrate on the specific violations mentioned but will also take action on any infractions.

Saturday, July 10, 2010
Focus: DUI Saturation Patrol - additional officers will be on the streets from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am watching for impaired drivers.
Background: Through May 31st of this year, 427 impaired drivers have been arrested. That's a 3% increase over the same period in 2009.

Monday, July 12, 2010 1130-1300 hrs, 75th and Metcalf
Focus: red light violations, following too close
Background: In 2009, 31 accidents occurred at or near this intersection; so far this year, 21 have occurred.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 0700-0800, 75th and I-35
Focus: aggressive driving, red light violations
Background: In 2009, 44 accidents occurred at or near this intersection; year-to-date 2010, 21 have occurred.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Work Trucks Burglarized: $13,000 in Equipment Stolen

Work Truck Burglary! It’s a crime with substantial losses and frustration for the victims. Since the first of this year we have had 57 work vehicles burglarized. The crimes occurred when the vehicles were broken into while parked in residential driveways and on city streets. The target items have been various types of tools and construction equipment.

The latest crime occurred overnight between July 5 and July 6. The victim in this incident was an employee of an electrical contractor. The loss from this auto burglary was over $13,000.00. Of course this does not consider the lost work time to the employee and his company. The stolen items included a portable generator, hammer drill and bits, multiple hand tools, band saw and other construction equipment. Entry to the van was made by prying open the van’s rear doors.

Work vehicles should have extra locking and security devices installed that deter or detect illegal entry. Also parking the vehicle close to the residence might deter some thieves.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Welcome to Rick Armstrong New Kansas City, Kansas Police Chief

Congratulations to Chief Rick Armstrong who was named Chief of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department on July 1st. Rick succeeds Chief Sam Breshears who recently retired.

The City of Overland Park shares a common boundary with Kansas City, Kansas in the areas of 47th Street, Antioch, I-635 and Merriam Lane. Overland Park and Kansas City, Kansas police officers often work together to investigate accidents and criminal activity. We have a strong professional relationship with the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department which benefits the citizens throughout our Metropolitan area.

But it was not always this way. Early on in my career the common boundary between Kansas City, Kansas and Overland Park Police Departments might as well have been a million miles wide as little cooperation or communication existed. It’s thanks to people on both sides of Countyline Road in command staff positions that divisiveness has disappeared over the last 20 years. Men like Chief Stafford, Chief Miller, and most recently Chief Breshears of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department have been steadfast partners in working with Overland Park and our command staff. They have all run a top-notch operation. And now it is Rick Armstrong’s turn. I have known Rick for many years and find him to be a strong and capable leader. I look forward to the ongoing positive relationship we have enjoyed with them for the last 20 some years.

Again, congratulations Rick!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

4th of July Star Spangled Spectacular and OP's Fireworks Laws

Come and join the fun at the Star Spangled Spectacular on July 4, 2010 in Corporate Woods. Once again the City of Overland Park, Corporate Wood and the Overland Park Rotary Club will sponsor this family friendly celebration and fireworks display. There will be food and drink vendors and musical entertainment for everyone in the family. So bring your blanket or chair and join in this safe July 4th celebration.

Activities begin at 4 p.m. with the free fireworks show set to begin about 9:30 p.m. at Founders’ Park in Corporate Woods. The fireworks display has been a tradition for many years and enjoyed by thousands.

Want to know about the law in Overland Park that relates to personal use of fireworks? The fireworks ordinance in Overland Park is simple: sale, possession and discharge of any fireworks are illegal. This means anyone, adult or juvenile who violates the restrictions may be summoned to court. The fines range from $200 to $500. This means sparklers, snakes, firecrackers and all other items commonly described as fireworks are illegal.

Not only can a person be charged criminally for violating this ordinance but there is also the possibility of civil liability for personal or property damages caused by fireworks. It is not worth the injuries, damages and penalties!

Come to the Star Spangled Spectacular and enjoy a safe and fun filled Fourth of July in Overland Park.