Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Spiderman" Makes an Appearance in Overland Park

On Friday night November 27, 2010 at about 7:30 PM, a woman was driving in the area of West 144th Street and Stearns when she noticed tape strung across the street. When she got out of her car to investigate, she was approached by a man wearing a Spiderman costume. She said “Spiderman” offered to help her but she declined returned to her car and left the area. She called the police dispatchers when she arrived home and told them of the incident. An officer was sent to the area but did not locate "Spiderman" or his web.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Door to Door Solicitor Now in Jail After Home Burglary

On Tuesday November 16, 2010 an Overland Park couple left their home at about 6:30 pm to run errands. As they left they noticed several door to door solicitors on their street. When they returned home several hours later they discovered their home was burglarized and valuables stolen. The stolen items included cash, diamond rings, pearls and other jewelry. Some of the cash taken was unique due to its age. As part of the burglary investigation the responding police officers contacted several solicitors who were in the area and interviewed them. Later that evening an employee of a local grocery store contacted an Overland Park police officer after he received a $100.00 bill that he thought might be counterfeit. The police officer determined the bill was not counterfeit but unique because of its age. This clicked with the police officer as he remembered the older $100.00 bills that were taken in the home burglary. The officer was able to obtain the grocery store’s surveillance photo of the woman who passed the bill. This photo was placed in a “deployment slide” presentation for all our officers to review.

On November 20, 2010, police officers were dispatched to an apartment complex regarding an armed disturbance. As one of the officers arrived at the complex he noticed a van with solicitors in it and believed he recognized one of the females in the van as the person who passed the $100.00 bill at the grocery store. Other officers were called to interview the possible suspect. She was removed from the van and questioned. This woman matched the photo of the suspect from the grocery store and this allowed the officers to take the woman into custody. Detectives interviewed the woman and probable cause existed to arrest her for the residential burglary. The Detectives learned this woman and the other solicitors were from out of town and staying in a motel in Topeka, Kansas. A search warrant was obtained for the motel room. When the warrant was served at the motel additional stolen items were recovered. As a result of this investigation an 18 year old woman from Cincinnati, Ohio was arrested for Burglary.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Remembering Amy Cobb

Every police officer I know, at one time or another has been asked by someone if the violence and the suffering we see everyday bothers us. Without question, the constant exposure to tragedy and man’s inhumanity to man does, to a certain extent, change us in the way that we perceive things. I doubt that if it didn’t, we could long last in this profession. None-the-less, some things that happen leave a long-lasting impression. I have often referred to it as a scar upon our soul. For me, one such incident occurred some 32 years ago when I was a very young detective.

As I recall, it was the day before Thanksgiving and the weather was nearly identical to what it is today – cool almost cold, damp and foggy. I was getting ready to meet my wife and head out the next day to my in-law’s house in Phillipsburg, Kansas to celebrate Thanksgiving. We had a two and a half year old son at the time and I knew that his grandparents were eager to see him. About two o’clock in the afternoon, we received a call from the Detectives Division of a child fatality; a possible drowning in the bathtub. Detectives are called to investigate these incidents and as you will see, for good reason. When I got to the hospital, I was led by the five or six seasoned and hardened police officers in the Emergency Room, each with tears in their eyes as they somewhat stood guard over the limp body of this little two and half year old. It was apparent that these otherwise stoic individuals were deeply moved by the tragic death of a little girl they had never known. I was taken aback by the bruising on the child’s body, some of which was apparently recent and some of which was several weeks old. When we questioned the mother’s boyfriend, he stated that he had put her in the bathtub to give her a bath before her mother came home and that the little girl had drowned while in the tub. I knew based on my own son who was of the same age, that he would jump in and out of the bathtub with relative ease. This story just did not make sense. The cause of her death was obvious. Our investigation revealed that she had not drowned but was instead the victim of abuse at the hands of the boyfriend. Of course, there is a lot more to this story and the details would horrify any parent, but the point of my discussion centers around the perils of this occupation. For you see, I cannot recall a single Thanksgiving since that day that I have not thought of the tragedy that occurred to a little blonde hair, blue-eyed girl who I never really knew, but who left a lasting impression on me.

When we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, I would ask that we consider two very important things: 1) To be thankful that we are able to hold close those persons in our lives that we love and cherish as this is a true gift; 2) To be thankful for the men and women of our police departments who deal with tragedy, violence and abuse on a daily basis and deal with it effectively and compassionately; doing so without losing sight of their own humanity.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Black Friday, Holiday Shoppers and Criminal Opportunity

Just a reminder about keeping your valuables, new holiday purchases and vehicles safe and secure during this upcoming holiday shopping season. Many people will be out to take advantage of the holiday sales and services from today on. Reduce the opportunity for criminals to spoil your holiday season by being more safe and secure.

Shop with someone else! You are less likely to be the victim of a personal crime such as purse snatch or robbery. There certainly is safety in numbers.

Remember to lock your car or truck and don’t leave it running to warm up. Make your vehicle less of a crime target.

When you place your purchases in your vehicle put them in the trunk or cover them up.

While using a shopping cart avoid leaving a purse sitting in the cart unattended. If at all possible keep your money, credit cards, check book and cash in a secure pocket.

Most criminals are opportunistic and if you don’t give them the opportunity you won’t be a victim.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Special Traffic Enforcement Program

Beginning today, and continuing through November 28, 2010, OPPD officers will be participating in a Special Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) sponsored by the Kansas Department of Transportation. KDOT provides overtime funds for participating Kansas agencies. The STEP program allows for additional officers to be deployed for the purpose of conducting traffic safety. This week's special enforcement will focus on impaired drivers and seat belt violations. As part of the special enforcement, a DUI Saturation Patrol will take place on Friday, November 26, 2010, from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am.

Whether you are taking to the road this holiday season or staying close to home, please wear your seat belt and insist that your passengers do the same. If any of your passengers are under the age of 8, make sure they are using either an approved car seat or booster.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Police Officers Present Kids with Footballs, Soccer and Basketballs

On Thursday, November 18, 2010, Officers from the Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving Unit (COPPS) presented kids from the Timberland Creek Homes area with footballs, soccer and basketballs. The COPPS Officers learned from the Timberland Creek Homes Area President, Joanne Boyd, that neighborhood children were playing in a vacant lot but did not have any sports equipment to play with. Her concerns and information concerned the COPPS Officers and they wanted to do something to help. They obtained permission to purchase the needed items. At about 3:15 pm on Thursday in a vacant lot where the neighborhood kids play, the officers gave the equipment to the children.

Results of DUI Saturation Patrol November 12 and 13, 2010

Results of DUI Saturation Patrol on Friday, November 12 and into the early morning hours of Saturday November 13, 2010. This initiative was conducted with the intent to reduce alcohol related auto accidents and discourage impaired driving.

The DUI Saturation Patrol was in force between 7:00 PM and 3:00 AM.

3 DUI Arrests
6 Drivers tested for DUI
5 Speeding Violations
9 Hazardous Moving Violations
24 Other Traffic Citations Issued
1 Defective Vehicle Equipment Violation
27 Vehicles Stopped by the Saturation Officers

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Results of the Quivira Road Accident Reduction Initiative

Overland Park Officers from the Traffic Safety, the Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving, and the Tactical Operations Units participated in the initiative. The officers concentrated their efforts on nine intersections between 95th Street and 151st Street.

A total of 187 vehicles were stopped and 260 citations were issued for various violations including speeding, unsafe lane changes, improper turns, failure to signal movement, red light violations, following too closely, and failure to comply with seat belt laws.

The Department’s Traffic Safety Unit plans to conduct additional Accident Reduction Initiatives throughout Overland Park to address traffic violations which are known to be contributing factors in vehicle accidents.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bank Teller "Stealing" Scam

On November 10, 2010 a husband and wife came to the Overland Park Police Station located at 8500 Antioch to report they were almost victimized by a “bank scam.”

The couple told the police officer that earlier in the day they received a telephone call from a man representing himself as an official of their bank. The caller told the couple the bank suspected one of its tellers of stealing money and the bank needed this couple to help to catch the thief by withdrawing $25,000.00 in large bills. The caller instructed the couple to obtain the cash, return home and wait for his return call for further instructions.

The couple, thinking this was a legitimate request, went to their branch bank with the intent to get the cash. Personnel at the branch bank referred them to the main bank. At the main bank, they contacted a bank official who told them this was certainly a scam.

Thankfully, the bank was able to stop the couple from being victimized. This type of scam has been used for years and relies on individuals willing to help catch “crooked bank employee” not realizing they are the targets of a criminal themselves.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Accident Reduction Initiative on Quivira Road

On Wednesday, November 17, 2010, from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, the Overland Park Police Department will conduct a special Accident Reduction Initiative along Quivira Road. Officers from the Traffic Safety Unit, TAC Unit and Community Policing Unit will participate. Officers specially trained to perform commercial vehicle inspections will also participate. Officers will be enforcing all traffic violations, but will pay particular attention to those violations most likely to result in a traffic accident.

95th Street
7:15 am to 8:00 am

103rd Street
8:00 am to 8:45 am

8:45 am to 9:30 am

College Blvd.
9:30 am to 10:15 am

119th Street
10:15 am to 11:00 am

127th Street
12:00 pm to 12:45 pm

135th Street
12:45 pm to 1:30 pm

151st Street
1:45 pm to 2:30 pm

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meerkat Located in Overland Park

On Friday 11-12-10 at about 5 pm Overland Park Police where dispatched to Petco at 6801 w 75 St. regarding a Meerkat dropped off in front of their store by an unknown subject. Witnesses stated a white male dressed in a hat, hoodie, and jeans walked up to the front of the store and placed a glass aquarium covered with a towel on the ground. Petco employees discovered a Meerkat contained in the aquarium and called the Police. During the investigation, the Meerkat was found to be missing from the Kansas City Zoo since last Thursday. The Meerkat was returned to the Zoo on Saturday, and further investigation is pending. Meerkats make very poor pets. They bite, and a serious bite can become infected. They have a very strong odor, and will scent-mark their owner and the house (their "territory"). Being a pack animal, they may become hysterical if kept as single pets. Since there is a health concern to anyone that may have been bit by the Meerkat, Overland Park Police is asking for your help identifying anyone that may have information on the case. To report any information regarding the Meerkat, please contact Chief Animal Control Officer Eric Thompson at 913-895-6279 or email at eric.thompson@opkansas.org.

Auto Burglaries While Parents Drop Off Children at Day Care Facilities

A word of caution relating to parents who take their children into Day Care Facilities and leave their cars unlocked or even running, don’t do it!

In the past auto burglars have targeted cars, vans and trucks left unlocked when parents take their children into the building and leave their purses, wallets, GPS’s, electronics and other items of value in their unlocked vehicles.

On November 10, 2010 between 5:50 and 6:00 pm someone entered an unlocked minivan while it was at a Day Care center.

These crimes have occurred in the past years not only in Overland Park but also in other metro area cities. Reduce the opportunity for crime to occur by locking your car and making sure you have your keys with you.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Officers to Conduct a DUI Saturation Patrol Tonight

Tonight, from 7:00 pm to 3:00 am, the Overland Park Police Department will conduct a DUI Saturation Patrol. A team of Traffic Safety Unit officers will hit the streets for one purpose, arresting impaired drivers. The Saturation Patrol will focus on major thoroughfares, highways and those areas which include drinking establishments. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, the Overland Park Police Department is committed to removing impaired drivers from our roadways. So far this year, 742 impaired drivers have been arrested. With the holiday season quickly approaching, additional DUI Saturations Patrols will be scheduled. Remember, if you choose to drink, please don't drive. .

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Honor of Veterans

The Overland Park Police Department’s Honor Guard will present “The Colors” at Village Shalom today at 10:30 a.m. The Pledge of Allegiance will be recited and the National Anthem will be sung. We are all indebted to our past, present and future military personnel for their sacrifices and for maintaining our country’s freedom.

Cold Weather, Car Warm Ups and Auto Thieves

With the predicted approach of much cooler weather this Friday and over the weekend, the opportunity for car thieves to target cars and trucks left running to “warm up” increases. Each year our officers take “warm up” stolen auto reports from driveways, convenience stores and other locations throughout Overland Park It is illegal in this city to leave any vehicle unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, and removing the key from the ignition. The only exception is a vehicle equipped with a remote starter system.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Interesting Theft Cases

Who would want to steal scrap car batteries? The answer is at least one man and most likely two of his accomplices. Since August of this year two Overland Park Wal-Marts and one Sam’s Club have been the victims of used battery thefts. The thieves cut the locks on outside storage cages and remove the batteries which can sell for about $9.00 each. So far the losses have amounted to almost $1,000.00. Two other cities have also reported similar crimes.

The suspect(s) are described as white males, between 30 and 40, and they usually wear baseball caps. The suspects were seen driving a white or silver Buick.

Anyone with information on these crimes is asked to call the Investigations Division’s 24/7 recorded telephone line at 913-344-8750.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

OP Police Assist in Production of Safety and Education Series for Kids Pre-K Through Fifth Grade

The Rainbow Valley Police Department series has been completed by Dan Taylor and is ready to roll out to audiences all over the world. More than a year ago, Dan approached the City of Overland Park, and asked for assistance from the Police Department in creating a comprehensive public safety education DVD curriculum that teaches pre-K through fifth grade children critical life safety skills delivered in a fun, non-threatening and memorable way.

Officers spent the last year conducting research and consulting on this worthwhile project, which is well-suited for the safety education professional, D.A.R.E. Officer, counselor, classroom teacher, libraries and other community programs. The series combines colorful, cutting-edge 3D animation with live action video to equip children with basic personal and community safety skills.

Formally named “Rainbow Valley Safety and Crime Prevention,” the DVD series is divided into three segments. In the Police Station Series, students learn all about the inner-workings of the police department, equipment and vehicles used to help protect and serve their community. In the Personal Safety Series, students learn how to create a safety plan providing them with necessary tools to deal with a wide variety of issues including domestic violence, internet dangers, and bike and vehicle safety. In the Community Safety Series, students learn how to make their school, neighborhood and community safer. This series deals with many topics including peer pressure, anti-drug/alcohol and bullying.

More information on this important children’s program can be found at www.rainbowvalleyheroes.com.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Night Time Robbery at ATM Machine in the 8600 block of College Boulevard

On November 4 at 9:50 p.m., a 36 year old man drove to a bank’s ATM machine to conduct a transaction. Just after he removed his card from the machine two men appeared on either side of the ATM. Both men pointed handguns and threatened the victim. One of the suspects took the cash from the ATM and the other suspect demanded the keys to the victim’s truck. The victim complied and the two ran off to the southeast from the bank. The victim was not injured.

The suspects are described as follows. Suspect number one is a white male, 25-30 years old, 6’ 0” tall, wearing a grey hoodie and not wearing a mask. He was armed with a grey colored handgun.

Suspect number two is a black male, 5’ 6” to 5’ 8” wearing black pants and jacket with a hood, and a black mask covering his face. He was armed with a black handgun.

We have not had this type of robbery at an ATM in a very long time.

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

Friday, November 5, 2010

Results of October 29, 2010 DUI Saturation Patrol

Saturation Patrols are conducted with the intent to reduce alcohol related auto accidents and discourage impaired driving. This DUI Saturation Patrol was a Non-Grant funded event.

4 Drivers Tested for DUI
3 DUI Arrests
10 Speeding Violations
18 Hazardous Moving Violations
24 Other Traffic Citations Issued
2 Transporting an Open Container of Alcohol Arrests
1 Minor in Possession of Open Alcohol Container
2 Other Arrests

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Special Patrols for Impaired Drivers

Drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs pose a significant threat to the motoring public. Each year, thousands of motorists are killed in this country as a result of an impaired driver. Removing impaired drivers from our roadways is a top priority of this department. Beginning later this month and continuing through the end of the year, the Overland Park Police Department's Traffic Safety Unit will conduct several Impaired Driving Saturation Patrols. These special patrols, which consist of four officers and a supervisor, are for the sole purpose of arresting drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The officers assigned to the Saturation Patrols have significant experience in DUI apprehension. The patrols will also include officers specially trained as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). An officer certified as a DRE has received extensive training in identifying a driver who is under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs. Saturation Patrols typically occur on weekend nights from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am, and concentrate on heavily traveled streets and highways. To report an impaired driver in Overland Park, call Police Dispatch at 648-6200 or 911.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Two Adults Arrested for "Unlawful Hosting" and "Obstructing Officers" at a Saturday Night Alcohol Party

On Saturday evening October 30, our officers received information an alcohol drinking party was being held and hosted by two adults. It was reported a large number of minors, ages 17 and 18 years old, were consuming alcohol at the party. The officers arrived at a home in the 9100 block of West 113th Street and found several youths outside of the residence. It was confirmed there were many high school age students inside the home drinking and the home owners were allowing the alcohol consumption.

Officers attempted to contact anyone inside the house but no one would answer the door. Officers did make telephone contact with persons inside the home but they would not cooperate with the officers. Based on the totality of the information available and the investigation by the officers on scene, a search warrant was requested, obtained and served. When the officers entered the home they established probable cause to arrest two adults for “Unlawful Hosting” and “Obstructing the Legal Process.” Additionally officers cited a total of 21 individuals who were 18 and younger for alcohol violations. The two adults were charged through Johnson County District Court.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanks Dad, I Got To Vote Today

Like many of us I woke up this morning with the excitement of knowing that it was Election Day. Call me sentimental but I get a little gooey over the idea that we get to elect our leaders. Growing up in this country this seems like old hat. But we should never lose sight of the fact of what a miraculous gift this truly is. In many countries,true democracy is an absolute foreign concept. Some make a pretense out of holding fair elections but it is little more than going through the motions. In this country, in spite of all the contentious politics, the loud and sometimes offensive rhetoric and the push-pull of an imperfect system, our democracy is alive and well and our ability to cast our vote is a privilege. This privilege, however, did not come free. Men and women from the Revolutionary War to those serving today have sacrificed everything so people like you and I could live in a country free of fear for disagreeing with our Government and free to elect our own leaders. My own father, as well as my uncles and virtually everyone they knew, enlisted in the armed services during WWII. I would bet that many of you reading this have had relatives who did the same. Many of you may have served and to those of you who did, please accept my heartfelt gratitude. It has been a good day today because I started out by getting to vote and that is a big deal.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Efforts in the North End – Phase II

As I mentioned in this blog before, Overland Park is a City that is maturing and in some instances, showing some wear and tear in parts of our City. I have also mentioned that it is imperative that the City respond to these neighborhood changes in a variety of ways. While the neighborhoods are still safe and viable, it is important that we do all that we can to keep them that way. You have heard of the Police initiatives in these areas. I also would like to inform you of our other major partner in the City – the Codes folks. Community Development has been an integral part of all of our efforts to-date. They have been a full and complete partner bringing their resources to bear along with those of Public Safety. This Wednesday night at the Community Development Meeting, they will unveil to the City Council their plan for code and ordinance enforcement throughout the City and specifically in the areas we have identified. None of us can do it alone, but I can assure you that all of the resources of the City, from the Council on down, are focused on ensuring our neighborhoods remain the best places to live.