Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Remove Career Criminals from Our Neighborhoods

The Pareto Principle states that “…a small number of causes are responsible for a large percentage of the effect…” Also known as the “80:20 Rule,” this can be applied to crime as well as economics. It is commonly accepted that a significant amount of criminal activity is committed by a relatively small percentage of the population. And, of those who have committed crimes, a significant number are committed by a small number of criminals.

With this in mind, the Overland Park Police Department recently started a Career Criminal initiative. Two detectives, within the Crimes Against Persons Unit, have been dedicated to identifying and removing career criminals who live or operate in Overland Park.

A career Criminal is someone who sustains him or herself or satisfies an addiction through a criminal lifestyle. He or she commits multiple offenses, generally for the same type of crime, most likely will be or have been on parole or probation and is currently criminally active.

Career Criminal detectives will use traditional and hi-tech investigative techniques to identify, verify and locate persons fitting the definition of a career criminal. They will work with other officers, agencies, and prosecutors to arrest, successfully prosecute, and obtain enhanced penalties for these individuals.

Through these efforts, our aim is to provide a safer atmosphere for the citizens and businesses in Overland Park.

Monday, August 30, 2010

DUI Check Lane Results

The Overland Park, Kansas Police Department and several Kansas police agencies, conducted a DUI Check Lane on Friday, August 27, 2010. The DUI Check Lane was conducted with the intent to reduce alcohol related auto accidents and discourage impaired driving.

Please review the statistical results:

678 - Vehicles entered the Check Lane
59 - Drivers tested for DUI
14 - Drivers arrested for DUI
4 - Drug arrest
6 - Transporting Open Container (Alcohol)
1 - Other arrests

$83,000 in Stolen Property Returned to Rightful Owners

On August 5, 2010 Overland Park Detectives served search warrants on a home and two rented storage lockers. The Investigators recovered a large quantity of stolen property as a result of the searches. Additionally, two adults were arrested and charged with felony crimes in connection to the stolen property. The actual crimes occurred not only in Overland Park but also in Lenexa, Shawnee, Merriam, Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.

In an effort to return the stolen items to the rightful owners it was decided the news media would be contacted and provided still photos of the recovered property. Next, Television stations were encouraged to video tape the items for their news broadcasts. As of today more than $83,000.00 in stolen property has been returned to crime victims. So far the returned items include a 2007 Jeep Wrangler, a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck, a go-cart, power tools, sporting goods and other miscellaneous but valuable property. A large quantity of the property still remains unclaimed. Investigators are attempting to return the remaining property to the rightful owners. The police department's number to call in regard to this property is 913-344-8702.

Friday, August 27, 2010

DUI Checkpoint Tonight

This Friday night a DUI checkpoint will be set up in Overland Park. More than 30 officers from Overland Park, the Kansas Highway Patrol, Johnson County Sheriff’s Department and officers from other cities routinely assist in the checkpoint.

More than 500 vehicles passed through the last checkpoint. Thirty-eight drivers were tested and eight were cited for driving under the influence, including a minor in possession of alcohol.

If a person is convicted of DUI, a first time offender may be assessed a $500 minimum court fine, excluding other court costs. There are other expenses a person could incur, but not to the court or city. This may include hiring a lawyer, increased insurance rate, treatment cost and more, which may amount to as much as $10,000.

Driving impaired is wrong and dangerous to everyone.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Officer Helps to Recover Severed Finger

Officer Tirsa Otero was working her evening patrol shift when she was dispatched to an emergency medical call in the 10400 block of Westgate regarding a man who was lawn mowing and injured his hand. When Officer Otero arrived, she learned the lawn mower had actually run over the man's left hand. A nurse who happened to be jogging by stopped to help. It was determined the 20 year old man had severed his left hand’s ring finger and was bleeding severely. Officer Otero, the nurse and Johnson County Med-Act paramedics attended to the victim. Med Act personnel asked Officer Otero to try and find the severed finger while they transported the young man to the hospital. Officer Otero along with assistance from the nurse, the victim’s brother, a Johnson County Sheriff’s Deputy and residents located the finger under a piece of wood near a deck. Officer Otero packaged the finger in ice then drove to the hospital where surgeons were waiting to began the proceedure in an attempt to re-attach the finger. The quick recovery and delivery of the appendage to the surgeons certainly enhanced the probability of a successful medical procedure. We all hope the young man will make a complete recovery.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Organized Retail Crime

The FBI estimates that retailers nation-wide lose $30 billion annually due to organized retail crime. Retail sales are a major portion of Overland Park's economy. Therefore, the economic welfare of the City and it's citizens is closely related to the health of the local retail sector. Large losses can endanger an employer's viability, as well as limit its ability to expand and/or hire new employees. An unhealthy retail sector can cause retailers to reconsider locating in Overland Park.

Organized retail crime, in essence, is professional thieves known as "boosters" who steal from retail environments. These thieves often work for others who direct their efforts, often down to exactly what and how much to steal. Items stolen usually end up for sale at flea markets or online auction sites. Items aren't stolen for use by the thieves, but rather for their marketability and ease of liquidation.

Given the importance of a healthy retail sector, the Overland Park Police Department has established an Organized Retail Crime function within its Financial Crimes Unit. Detectives assigned to investigate organized retail crime specifically target individuals who fit the above description.

Our Organized Retail Crime detectives work closely with retailers, other law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. Regular meetings take place involving representatives of these stakeholders to discuss trends, share information, training, and apprehensions.

Through these efforts, we intend to protect the health of the retail sector by establishing and maintaining robust coalitions, conducting aggressive investigations and prosecutions, and creating an environment that discourages organized retail crime.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lieutenant Colonel Jack Cauley Receives Sons of the American Revolution Award

On Saturday August 21, 2010 Lieutenant Colonel Jack Cauley was honored by the Delaware Crossing Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was named their Chapter’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. During the recognition ceremony he was presented the Sons of the American Revolution’s Law Enforcement Medal. This medal honors a Law Enforcement Officer who has served with honor, distinction, devotion, and exceptional service. Lieutenant Colonel Cauley certainly meets all the criteria.

Lieutenant Colonel Cauley began his Overland Park Police career in 1986 as a Patrol Officer and then advancing to a Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel.
He currently is a Deputy Chief and commands the Tactical Operation Bureau.

Lieutenant Colonel Cauley holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Central Missouri State University and master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. He is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Academy.

Lieutenant Colonel Cauley is a member of various professional organizations including the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), FBI’s National Academy Associates (FBINAA) and the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police (KACP) to list just a few.

Congratulations to Lieutenant Colonel Cauley.

Monday, August 23, 2010

K-2 and Similiar Products Are Illegal

In March of this year, it became illegal to possess or sell compounds JWH-018 and JWH-073 in the state of Kansas. These compounds were found in what was marketed as K-2 in several shops in the Kansas City and Lawrence areas. After K-2 was considered illegal, several other products were marketed under different names which contained the same compounds. Overland Park detectives began an investigation into some of these products, which were being sold in area gas stations. Samples were obtained and sent to the Johnson County Lab for testing. The owners of the businesses have been informed of the violation, as it is believed that the items contain the illegal compounds.

These materials are being marketed as incense and are being sold over the internet to businesses and persons. Some of the names marketed in our area have been “Texas Kush”, “Blueberry Twister”, “Citrus Twister” and “K-3”.

These compounds are now Schedule 1 drugs in the State of Kansas. To sell material with these compounds is a felony in the State of Kansas. To possess these compounds is a class A misdemeanor. Overland Park detectives have made arrests and obtained search warrants as a result of persons possessing these compounds.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bail Money, Winning Lottery and/or Car Scams

On Thursday August 19 a police report was made by a man who said he received a call from a “police officer” at the Hawkesbury, Canada Police Department stating his grandson had been arrested and needed bond money. The caller said to send $4,500.00 by Western Union to Sydney, Australia. Unfortunately the man sent the money. This same scam has been perpetrated in our area over the past two years. Some residents have fallen for it and others have not. Anyone who receives such a call should not send any money and, if possible, obtain as much information from the caller as possible but not reveal any personal information. Then report the incident to us.

Also on August 19 a resident came to one of our police stations and reported she received a telephone call stating she won the Global International Lottery for one million dollars. The caller said they were sending over security to her home to escort her to the bank to collect the fee and deliver her check. The resident immediately realized this was a scam and did not participate.

There are variations to this scam that tell the resident they have won money or a car but need to pay a fee to receive their winnings.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Officers on Bicycles Again

Starting today, Officers from the Police Department’s Community Policing Unit will begin bicycle patrolling through neighborhoods. This initiative is part of the police department’s effort to maintain and strengthen community interaction and allow officers to be more visible and approachable. During the next two days officers will be in the neighborhood bounded by Antioch on the east, to Grant on the west, 79th Street on the north to 85th Street on the south.

This is an area which has seen increased calls for service from the police department and one of the neighborhoods identified in “changing trends” power point presentation from several weeks ago. This area has experienced an increase in absentee property owners, a potential for more street crimes and gang activity. The police officers on bikes increase the ability for “feet on the ground” involvement in the neighborhood and allow them to have a better contact with the area’s residents.

The Officers will work from mid morning into the evening hours and respond to any call for service. The late afternoons are a critical time of day as students are coming home from school and, once home, have free time. We know, as any parent knows, this free time has the potential for problems for some young people who do not have adult supervision for several hours after school.

We believe the Officers on bikes will be an asset to the overall well being of this or any neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Who Are These Two Auto Burglars?

On Tuesday August 10, 2010 at 2:25 p.m., a locked vending machine truck was entered and cash receipts were removed. When the crime occurred the driver of the truck was inside a building servicing his company’s vending machines. When he came back to the truck he determined it had been entered and the cash removed. The loss exceeds $2,400.00.

Suspect #1 is described as a black male, wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans. He appears to be in his fifties or sixties, has short cropped grayish hair and grayish beard. The white T-shirt appears to have the words “vote for change” inscribed on the front.

Suspect #2 is described as a black male, in his 20’s, wearing a black ball cap, short sleeve blue shirt and black jeans. He has dark short cropped beard, wearing a watch on his right wrist. He also appears to have an unknown type tattoo on his right forearm.

Suspect Vehicle: Four (4) door Toyota.

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

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Crime Analyst Mary Dixon Links Stolen Goods to Internet Sites

Follow up to the July 9, 2010 blog regarding the arrest of two juvenile’s and the recovery 20 sets of golf clubs, a paddle boat, lawn care equipment, and other items.
Formal recognize is to come for two members of the Crime Analysis Unit whose efforts facilitated this investigation. The Crime Analysis Unit fuses together information they obtain from reading crime reports. This is done daily in an effort to identify crime patterns and suspects.
Senior Crime Analyst Mary Dixon read several reports linked to a series of open garage door burglaries. Mrs. Dixon and Police Intern Samuel Williams began conducting routine checks of various online sites people use to sell items. Together they located several items that matched property listed as stolen in several burglary reports. They coordinated their efforts with Police Detectives who were able to confirm the items were stolen. Detectives used the leads generated by the Crime Analysis Unit to clear 12 open-door burglaries of Overland Park residences.
Investigations like these do not occur without the efforts of a cast of police employees who work behind the scenes. This is a great example of the high level of service provided by support members of the Overland Park Police Department.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Citizen Call on Car Prowlers Leads to Arrests for Auto Theft and Auto Burglary

On Friday August 13, 2010 at about 6 a.m., Overland Park Officers responded to a report of car prowlers in the 9500 block of Melrose. As one officer arrived in the area he noticed a black Dodge Neon driving at a high rate of speed drive into the parking lot of the Johnson County Library on 95th Street and Bluejacket and then several people run from car as it came to a stop. Other Officers converged on the area setting up a perimeter. The Officers quickly determined the Neon was a stolen auto and began searching for the suspects. All were eventually located and taken into custody. Two adults 18 and 19 years old and one 17 year old juvenile were arrested for Auto Theft and Auto Burglary.

This is perfect example of how a call to the police over suspicious activity culminated in three people being arrested for several felony crimes. Many cases are solved due to citizens willing to call the police.

Friday, August 13, 2010


In any one individual’s life, there is a constant stream of other individuals moving in and out. Some are there for a short time while others remain there much, much longer. Very few, if any, stay forever. Some are influential, some supportive and helpful and a few are great aggravations. In my own life many come to mind, but outside of my family, few have been more influential and contributed more than my Executive Secretary, Dee Lock Sopinski.

I first met Dee when she came to work as the Unit Secretary in the investigations Division in 1976. About two months after she came to work, I was transferred into Investigations as a Detective working crimes against persons. In those days, we didn’t have access to video and audio the way we do now. So the Unit Secretary would often be called in to take shorthand statements from victims of serious crimes, such as rape. She would also take shorthand statements during the interview of serious offenders, murderers and rapists. I know that listening to first-hand accounts of man’s most serious offenses against their fellow man bothered her and bothered her a lot, but she never showed it. She was always professional and always very helpful.

Dee has been my assistant off and on for the last 34 years, and my Executive Secretary for the last fifteen as Chief of Police. If you know her, you know that she is one of the most creative, dedicated, hard-working and professional individuals you will find anywhere. If you know her really well, you know that she is loyal, kind and empathetic.

I can’t recall a single project in the last fifteen years that does not bear Dee’s fingerprints somewhere. From the most complex presentations to the most innovative practices to the most serious moments in our history, Dee was a part of each and every one. Even the blog that you are reading now was her creative instincts at their best. One more time, she took a raw idea that I had and changed it into a significant final product. So why do I point this out at this time? Well today is the last day of Dee’s employment with the Overland Park Police Department. She will retire today effective close of business.

So now it is time for a new chapter in Dee’s life. It is time to spend more of her time with her family, her husband John and their three grandsons and new granddaughter. It is time to concentrate on her, and to enjoy a well-deserved retirement. She has earned it. For the many things she has done for the City and the Department, she is owed a debt of gratitude. For all that she has done to help support me; there is no way of explaining how important she has been.

There is a long line of individuals who have been instrumental in my life, people who have helped me, inspired me, and influenced me. Few have had as much impact as she has. Thanks Dee.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Dirty Dozen" Most Dangerous Intersections - Part 2

In the Wednesday, August 11, 2010, issue of the Kansas City Star, an article appeared listing the "dirty dozen" most dangerous intersections in Overland Park. I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you our department's efforts to reduce traffic accidents. Traffic safety is a top priority of the Overland Park Police Department. Significant resources are being utilized to enforce traffic laws and reduce the number of traffic accidents. While all officers assigned to patrol duties play a role in the safe flow of traffic, our Traffic Safety Unit's primary functions are to enforce traffic laws and investigate traffic accidents. The Traffic Safety Unit consists of a Captain, two Sergeants and thirteen officers. When not working traffic accidents, Traffic Safety officers are assigned to enforce traffic laws in and around the city's High Accident Locations.

Year-to-date, Patrol and Traffic Safety Officers have spent over 100 hundred hours conducting enforcement efforts in the twelve intersections mentioned in the KC Star article. Over 850 citations have been issued. Our enforcement efforts have helped to reduce the number of traffic accidents at many of these intersections. For example, in 2008, 26 traffic accidents occurred at the intersection of College Blvd. and Quivira. In 2009, the number of accidents increased to 45. In the first six months of this year, 12 traffic accidents have occurred.

There are a number of factors that have an impact on traffic accidents. They include traffic volume, weather, enforcement, road construction and roadway design. While the Police Department has no control over many of these factors, it is committed to reducing traffic accidents by conducting high visibility traffic enforcement and educating motorists on traffic safety.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Someone Died Last Night

Last night I was at home talking to my wife when a phone call from dispatch came to me. It is not unusual for dispatch to call me at any time, day or night, to inform me of significant events within the City. Last night they informed me that we were assisting Leawood at 151st and Nall on the City boundary between our two cities. We were helping them with a motorcycle fatality -- like so many other times I noted what had happened and moved on with my life. This morning I received a text message from my wife indicating that the young man killed in that accident was the husband of one of her friends and colleague at work. Suddenly the routine nature of this particular call took on a very poignant feel of tragedy. The point I am trying to make is that every day we hear of traffic accidents claiming that person or this person and we have become somewhat desensitized to the true nature of the loss. It is not until it happens to someone we know do we feel even the small part of the pain that goes with it. I think it is important that we realize that every victim is a mother or a father, someone’s son or daughter, husband or wife. Maybe if we could keep that in perspective we could all be just a little more attentive, a little more careful, a little less of a hurry, or maybe just a little more responsible. Just a thought. . .

$30,000.00 Loss in Four Car Arson Fire

On Sunday August 8, 2010 at 11:30 p.m., Overland Park Officers were called to the 3700 block of Merriam Lane to meet a Kansas City, Kansas Police Officer who was on the scene of a fire. This location is on the boarder of Overland Park and Kansas City Kansas. Personnel and equipment from Johnson County Fire District #2 were on the scene and had the fire extinguished. It was determined 4 vehicles were completely destroyed by the fire. Initial investigation indicated this was an arson fire and the total damage exceeded $30,000.00. The four vehicles involved were a 1999 Cadillac limousine, a 2000 Cadillac Deville, a 1996 Cadillac hearse and a 1997 Cadillac limousine. The crime will continue to be investigated by the Overland Park Police Department and Johnson County Fire District #2 personnel.

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

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

High Visibility Traffic Enforcement

• I-435 Highway and Metcalf
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm

Focus: Red light violations and speeding

• I-435 Highway and Roe Ave
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm

Focus: Red light violations and speeding

Animal Control Unit Provides Safety Education

Public Safety when dealing with animals is a top priority for the Overland Park Police. As part of our efforts to provide animal safety education in the community, Animal Control Officers routinely attend City events and respond to invitations to speak at local schools. The programs address topics such as recognizing animal communication, dog bite prevention, safe animal handling and pet care tips. Anyone interested in hosting an animal safety program, may contact Animal Control Supervisor Eric Thompson at 913-895-6279.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Results of DUI Check Lane

On Friday August 6, 2010 a DUI Check Lane was conducted with the intent to reduce alcohol related auto accidents and discourage impaired driving. The results are as follows:

526 Vehicles entered the Check Lane
39 Drivers tested for DUI
8 Drivers arrested for DUI
2 Drug arrests
1 Minor in possession of alcohol
1 Other arrest

Friday, August 6, 2010

"Solicitor's" Suspicious Activity

On Wednesday of this week officers received several reports of a door to door “solicitor” in the area of 121st and Craig who most likely was attempting to steal from garages and was looking into homes. The “solicitor” was also seen checking around front doors looking under mats and other places residents might hide house keys.

Reports indicate the “solicitor” is a white male, late 20’s, average height and weight, with brown hair, wearing a white t-shirt and basketball shorts. Please report any suspicious activity by calling 911 if an emergency or for a non-emergency call 913-895-6300.

Overland Park has a solicitation ordinance it may be view by going to www.opkansas.org, then click on the City Government link, then on the left side of the page scroll down to Legal Publication, then click on Codes and Ordinances, then in the Search Box enter 5.64 to view the entire ordinance.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Arrestee Makes False Claim Against a Police Officer

On June 21, 2010, the Overland Park Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards received a complaint from a person arrested by an Overland Park Police Officer. The complainant claimed the Officer took $1000.00 from him when he was arrested.

The accusation was investigated by the Internal Affairs Unit of the Police Department. The detectives determined the officer followed police department policies and procedures related to searching prisoners, storing prisoner property, and utilization of the officer’s audio recording equipment. The investigation clearly showed the complainant fabricated the accusation.

The case was presented to the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office who charged the complainant with felony false reporting. Our police department will always investigate any complaint against our employees in a non-bias and thorough manner. This assures trust and confidence in the citizens we serve.

We also receive many compliments from citizen who appreciate the service they receive from our officers and civilian employees. The compliments far outnumber complaints.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Construction Zone Worker Reports an Assault by Driver

A construction zone “flagger” reported she was purposely struck by a car while she was working at College Blvd and Switzer. The incident happened about 1:45 p.m., August 2nd. The “flagger” told the officers she stopped westbound traffic when she realized a truck had just gone behind her from northbound Switzer. Traffic was not allowed to perform this maneuver and there was another vehicle behind the truck attempting to follow it. The construction worker attempted to explain to the car’s driver he was in a construction area and would need to go eastbound. As she was explaining the information to the driver he accelerated and the bumper of his car struck her. The driver kept driving forward and this caused the “flagger” to be knocked backwards. The driver accelerated again which forced the “flagger” to backpedal to avoid being struck again. She did sustain some soreness and red marks on her legs. A co-worker witnessed the event provided additional details.

The car's driver and his two passengers have been located and the investigation continues.

Currently there are many ongoing major street construction projects in Overland Park that require drivers to alter their routes in and around the City. These projects certainly cause some frustration but drivers are encouraged and asked to be patient, considerate and cooperative especially regarding the construction workers. They work in difficult and at times dangerous conditions.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

17 Year Old Babysitter at South Lake Park Kissed by Stranger

Last Tuesday at 9:20 in the morning a 17 year old babysitter decided to take the 9 month old child she was watching to South Lake Park to play on the swings. As she and the baby were in the playground area she noticed a man standing near the park’s restrooms watching her. After about 20 minutes she placed the baby in its stroller and began to walk on the park’s path. Soon the man came up to her and began a conversation. She became uncomfortable with this stranger who was very close to her so she tried to distance herself from him. He then came up behind her put his hands around her waist and began kissing her neck. She pushed him away as hard as she could and she went off in the opposite direction. The suspect went back to the area of the restrooms and left in an old red car. The suspect is described as Hispanic male, 40 years old, 5’ 8”, 170 lbs., dark hair pulled back, wearing blue jeans, and a red polo shirt with blue and yellow stripes near the top. The suspect’s car is described as old and red in color.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact us at 913-344-8750.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Daytime House Burglars Caught

On Friday July 30 at 9:30 a.m., Overland Park Officers were dispatched to a home in the 8600 block of West 71st street on a burglary in progress. The crime unfolded when one of the home owners was returning from jogging and noticed a strange SUV in his driveway and an unknown man beating on his front door.

The jogger/homeowner immediately called his roommate who was still asleep inside the house and told him what was happening. The roommate awoke and heard the noise at the door. He then went to the front door peaked out and saw a stranger with a tire iron in his hand. The roommate made a noise from inside the house which the burglary heard and ran to the awaiting getaway SUV.

The initial responding officer broadcast a description of the burglary suspects and their car. Another officer heard the formation and spotted the SUV on Shawnee Mission Parkway at Craig. The vehicle was stopped and the investigation continued which lead to enough Probable Cause to arrest both men for Aggravated Burglary and Criminal Damage to Property. Both men are from Tennessee and were working construction in the area. They are now in the Johnson County Adult Detention Center waiting formal charging for their crimes.