Friday, October 29, 2010

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen E. Smith Retires Today After 37 Years of Faithful Service

Today marks the last day of a long and fruitful career. LTC Steven Smith began his service with the Overland Park Police Department on December 31, 1973 and has faithfully served the citizens of Overland Park to the very last minute. While some people tend to coast the last few months, weeks or at least days prior to their retirement, Steve Smith has worked every day of his career up to and including yesterday, with the same zeal and dedication for the job. His commitment and his desire are unquestioned. Steve has been involved in some of the most difficult, prestigious endeavors the Department has undertaken and has been there for both the brightest spots and the darkest moments. It is with all sincerity that the Overland Park Police Department commends LTC Steven Smith for his dedication to the people of Overland Park and we wish for him continued success in whatever ventures retirement takes him. Congratulations to both Steve and Gloria Smith.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Overland Park Animal Control Supervisor Assists Douglas County Sheriff with "wild" Horse Capture

The Douglass County Kansas Sheriff’s Office in Lawrence, Kansas contacted Overland Park Animal Control Supervisor Eric Thompson regarding a “wild” horse rescue and capture. Apparently this horse has been on its own in western Douglas County for 26 years. It had never been handled or treated for hoof or teeth problems. It was obvious the horse was suffering.

Recently it was wondering near 40 highway and therefore a potential for a horse vs. car accident. A local horse rescue group had been attempting to capture the animal for several months without success. On Tuesday October 26, Eric Thompson and personnel from Douglas County Sheriff’s Office along with members of the local Humane Society located the horse. It was eventually sedated via dart gun. An examination and evaluation was completed by a veterinarian. Due to significant health, injury, and stress factors the horse was euthanized to end the animals suffering.

Animal Control Supervisor Thompson is skilled in large animal capture and rescue. He conducts training for various animal welfare organizations and law enforcement agencies.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

High Visibility Traffic Enforcement

College and Antioch
Wednesday, October 27, 2010 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Focus: Aggressive driving, speeding and red light violations

AUTO BURGLARIES: A word of caution. Our officers are responding to two locations this morning regarding several cars being burglarized. One area is 89th Street and Outlook. The other is in 10200 block of Garnett. Please do not leave valuables in your cars, it simply creates an opportunity for crimes to occur.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

OP Police Explorers Participate in Multi-Agency Explorer Challenge

On 10-23-10, the Overland Park Police Department Explorer Post participated in a Multi-Agency Explorer Challenge. Those agencies involved in the event were the Overland Park Police Department, Johnson County Sheriff's Office, Spring Hill Police Department and Johnson County Fire District One. The event took place at various locations around New Century Airport. The explorers participated in a mock injury accident investigation, perimeter control, crime scene investigation, car fire investigation, water rescue, a hostage negotiation and a trauma scene where a medical helicopter responded. The objective of the Explorer Post is to provide teenagers and young adults a better understanding of Law Enforcement. This challenge gave the explorers the opportunity to participate in real-life scenarios and to gain first hand experience on the daily activities of law enforcement.

The Overland Park Police Department Explorer Post currently has 16 active members. Eight of those explorers took part in the Multi-Agency Challenge. The following are the qualifications to become an Explorer:

1. Must be 14 years of age, and graduated the 8th grade, through 20 years of age
2. Have and maintain a 2.0 grade point average or higher
3. Have no misdemeanor convictions (including alcohol) in the last year
4. Have no felony convictions
5. Have a current and valid driver's license
6. Cannot be on diversion or probation.
Those who are interested in becoming an explorer will be required to complete an application and pay a minimal fee. Overland Park residency is not required to participate. Tthe Explorer program meets the first and third Thursday of every month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. If you have questions or know someone who is interested in becoming an Explorer please contact Sgt. Melanie L. Pierce at 913.535.3041.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bloody Foot "Investigation"

On Thursday October 21, 2010 just before 2:00 p.m., an officer was dispatched to the area of 121 st Street and Metcalf on suspicious activity call. The officer was informed by the police dispatchers a motorist saw a bloody foot hanging from the trunk of a car.

The investigating officer contacted the citizen who saw and reported the incident. This person told the officer she was sure the foot was part of a child’s severed leg. She described the vehicle and provided the car’s license plate number. A vehicle registration check was made and the officer went to the registered owner’s home but could not locate anyone immediately. Later that afternoon another officer returned to the house and made contact with the car’s owner. This officer immediately determined the “severed foot” was a Halloween decoration. Just another example of the calls for service officers receive and must be investigated.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Investigation at I-435 and Metcalf Motel Results in Several Arrests

On October 20, 2010 officers and detectives were conducting a follow-up investigation at a motel in the area of I-435 and Metcalf. In the parking lot of the motel they located a stolen vehicle from Leawood, Kansas. Surveillance was begun on the car and a suspicious man was seen near the vehicle. He was contacted and questioned by the investigators. It was determined he was not involved in the stolen car but was found to be in possession of narcotics. He was arrested.

Then officers began contacting residents of the motel and learned a woman who was seen driving the stolen vehicle was staying in a nearby room. Surveillance resumed and two women were contacted as they exited the room in question. Investigators questioned the two and determined they were responsible for stealing not only this car but several others. A search warrant was obtained for the motel room. When it was served, the Investigators discovered and recovered property which is believed to have been stolen in auto burglaries in Overland Park and neighboring cities. Both women were arrested and taken to the Johnson County Adult Detention Center awaiting formal charges related to auto theft. The Investigation continues regarding the auto burglaries crimes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Anti-Fraud and Theft Initiative at Oak Park Mall and Other Retailers

Financial Crime Detectives are providing training to retail store personnel so they are aware of and, better prepared to prevent crimes in their stores. Since Oak Park Mall is the largest retail complex in Overland Park the Detectives concentrate there, but the anti-crime information and programs are available to all businesses throughout Overland Park.

Additionally, officers continue to be in the Mall for enforcement against all categories of crimes. In the past 10 days officers have made 20 arrests on Mall property.

With the approach of Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holidays the Mall and other retailers experience greater numbers of shoppers and therefore the opportunity for criminal activity. Awareness and preparedness will certainly help detect and deter crime.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

High Visibility Traffic Enforcement

151st and 69 Highway
Wednesday, October 20, 2010 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
4:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Focus: Aggressive driving, speeding and red light violations


151st and Metcalf
Friday, October 22, 2010 8:00 am to 9:00 am
4:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Focus: Aggressive driving, speeding and red light violations

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Road Rage Incident Involving a Gun Results in Arrest of Three Juveniles for Multiple Crimes

On Saturday October 16, 2010, at approximately 3:00 p.m. officers received a report from an Over the Road Truck Driver that a car was driving in a reckless manner on I-435 near US 69 highway. The truck driver described the car and said one of the passengers held a handgun out the window of the car. An officer was in the general area of the incident and learned from a supervisor the suspect vehicle was headed north on Quivira from I-435. Additional officers responded and located the distinctive car in the parking lot of Oak Park Mall but it was unoccupied. They waited until several of the passengers returned and began their investigation. All of the suspects were uncooperative and provided false information to the officers. One of the individuals assaulted two of the officers. No officer was injured.

The investigation terminated with the arrest of three juveniles, 17, 16 and 15 years old for possession of Stolen Property, Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer, and Criminal Possession of a Firearm, Disorderly Conduct and Felony Obstruction of the Legal Process. All were taken to the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center.

Monday, October 18, 2010

22 Year Old Man Dies in Motorcycle Accident

At 2:45 a.m. on October 17, 2010, Officers were dispatched to a vehicle accident on southbound US 69 near 151st Street. When the Officers arrived it was determined this was a fatality accident involving one motorcycle and its driver. Medical personnel arrived at the scene, and confirmed the motorcycle driver died due to injuries sustained in the crash. The driver of the motorcycle was Darren K. Wynn of Shawnee, Kansas. Initial investigation determined speed was a contributing factor in the accident.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Extensive Loss in Commercial AC Theft

On Monday October 11, 2010 Overland Park Officers received a theft report from a construction site in the 10100 block of Metcalf. The officers spoke to the construction manager and determined three large air conditioning units had been removed. The units, an American Standard, a Lennox and a Goodman, were in place but not connected to the building. This equipment was reported to be very heavy and most likely required two or more persons to move them from their pads. The total loss is $7,500.00.

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

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Overland Park Prostitution Sting Results in Discovery of Juveniles Involved in Sex Trafficking

Randal G. Jennings, 43 of Chillicothe, Missouri was sentenced to federal prison for Child Prostitution regarding his involvement in arranging for two 17 year old girls to come to Overland Park and engage in sex acts.

The Overland Park case against Jennings was initiated in January of 2009 when Jennings brought two 17 year old girls to a motel in Overland Park in response to a sex service ad published on the Internet. Undercover detectives from Overland Park’s Vice Unit were conducting a prostitution “sting” and arranged to meet the two girls. The girls were arrested and taken into protective custody. Randal Jennings was arrested in the parking lot of the motel by the undercover Overland Park Detectives as part of this “sting” operation. He delivered the girls to the motel and was their “pimp.”

On October 7, 2010 the Office of the United States Attorney in the Western District of Missouri sent out a public News Release indicating Randal G. Jennings of Chillicothe, Missouri was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in federal prison for commercial sex trafficking of children. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia L. Cordes and investigated by the Overland Park, Kansas Police Department, and the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.


To read the News Release from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri and learn more about the case against Randal Jennings go to www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Series of Crimes Solved,Property Recovered and Arrest Made

Since August 5, 2010 and continuing through September 9, 2010, Overland Park Police Officers received reports of burglaries to unlocked vehicles in the area near 56th Street and Metcalf and directly to the west of that location. Police reports indicated the stolen items were taken from unlocked vehicles.

The stolen property included GPS units, In-Dash CD player faceplates, loose change, CD’s, tools, cell phones and accessories, and wallets. These crimes were believed to be related.

On September 3, 2010, Officers responded to the same area and determined a 2008 Toyota Camry had been stolen from a residence. On September 9, 2010, Kansas City, Missouri Police Officers stopped this stolen car and arrested its three occupants. Interviews with the occupants yielded information related to the vehicle theft as well as a tip to the many auto burglaries taking place in the northern portion of Overland Park.

Overland Park Investigators identified a suspect and conducted an interview with him. The interview produced valuable information related to various crimes and the recovery of a significant amount of stolen property. The suspect indicated he was involved in criminal activity due to his addiction to illegal drugs. He also told the officers he would sell the stolen property for cash to support his habit.

Investigators submitted all the cases to the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office for review and formal charging.

To reduce criminal opportunity everyone is encouraged to lock their vehicles and remove items of value. If you must leave valuables in your vehicle, the trunk is a good location to store items or place them out of plain sight. Many criminals are opportunistic and will prey on the most vulnerable targets.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Brings On "wild" Times

It’s that time of year again where we see a natural increase in wildlife activity in the urban environment. With the increase in fox and coyote movement, it’s normal to see them during all hours of the day and night. This anticipated behavior occasionally raises questions about safety in neighborhoods, so here are a few facts and helpful tips when dealing with coyotes in your area.

Coyotes generally won’t attack a dog for food. Rather, they view dogs as competition for territory, food and mates. Coyote’s favorite foods are small mammals (mice, voles, shrews, rabbits). Coyotes will also eat feral and free-roaming cats. However, research done in the Chicago region has shown that even in an urban environment, coyotes prefer their “natural” foods of small mammals and carrion.

The most effective way to prevent a bad encounter with a coyote is to make sure all of your behavior reinforces its natural fear of people. Clean up food around your house that coyotes like, such as bird seed, messy garbage cans, or food left out for pets. These types of food sources are not natural and teach coyotes that if they risk coming close to people, they will be rewarded with food. Finally, keep all pets inside at night and watch small dogs while outside, even during daylight hours.

For additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Chief Animal Control Officer Eric Thompson at 913-895-6279 or email at eric.thompson@opkansas.org. Or visit the City of Overland Park FAQ’s webpage at http://www.opkansas.org/Frequently-Asked-Questions/List/Coyotes

Monday, October 11, 2010

Results of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

On Saturday, September 25, 2010, the Overland Park Police Department, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), participated in the first ever Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This initiative was an opportunity for everyone to safely empty out their medicine cabinets of prescription drugs no longer needed or expired medications. In Overland Park, a total of 281 pounds of pharmaceutical medications were collected at two sites. Nationwide, at more than 4000 sites, 242,000 pounds (121 tons) of pharmaceutical medications were collected. The Drug Take-Back Day was a huge success. It educated the public on the dangers of unused and expired medications, as well as helped to prevent children and teens from gaining access to dangerous drugs.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Results of Aggressive Driving Enforcement at 95th and US 69 Highway

On Wednesday, October 6, 2010, from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm, the Overland Park Police Department's Traffic Safety Unit conducted Aggressive Driving enforcement at 95th St. and 69 Highway. In just one hour, Traffic Safety Officers issued 21 citations and made 2 arrests.

9 citations for red light violations
5 citations for failure to show proof of liability insurance
3 citations for failure to use a seat belt
2 citations for driving with a suspended driver's license
1 citation for no driver's license
1 citation for failure to control speed

1 arrest for possession of drugs
1 arrest for transporting an open container

The Traffic Safety Unit conducts periodic Aggressive Driving Enforcement throughout the city. To report an aggressive driver in Overland Park, call Police Dispatch at 913- 895-6300.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scams, Scams and More Scams

Scammers are out there plying their trade. Over the last several months, Overland Park residents have been receiving phone calls telling them everything from their “grandchild” has been arrested and they need to send bond money via Western Union or “you won the lottery” but you need to pay a fee.

Other Scammers tell the residents they have won a cruise and gifts but they must send a fee. Residents have also been told they are the recipients of the Publisher’s Clearing house prize. Here are two of the more bazaar scams. One involved a story that a millionaire passed away and left money to his wife. The wife is now dying and needs someone to distribute their wealth. In another the caller said she was working for the government and needed personal information from the receiving party. The caller threatened to send agents over to the house if the party did not cooperate.

Thankfully most people realize these are all scams. And as a reminder, do not give out personal family or banking information to anyone who calls you on the phone. Always personally contact your financial institution if you should receive inquiries regarding your accounts.

Remember the adage “if it’s too good to be true, it’s not true.”

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Officers Arrest Apartment Burglar after Call from a Neighbor

On Tuesday at 9:45 a.m., Officers responded to a possible “burglary in progress” report in the 10400 block of Mastin. The Officers received information from the Police Dispatcher that a neighbor watched as an unknown man entered a ground floor apartment. When the officers arrived at the apartment, they observed the sliding patio door was not secure and the security bar was out of place. The officers entered the apartment and confronted a young man inside. He was immediately taken into custody. Further investigation revealed the suspect had some of the apartment owner’s property in his possession. The eighteen year old was arrested and charged with the felony crime of Burglary.

Thanks to the concerned neighbor who was willing to call the police and report suspicious activity. This is another example of how important it is for neighbors to watch out for each other and take the appropriate action by calling the police.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reducing Accidents at I-435 and Metcalf

So far this year, there have been 85 motor vehicle accidents at I-435 Highway and Metcalf. That's more accidents than anywhere else in Overland Park. Looking back over the past several years, this interchange has consistently finished as the city's number one or number two High Accident Location. The primary reason for the high number of accidents is the result of high traffic volume. I-435 Highway and Metcalf is the busiest interchange in the city. Traffic volume appears to be increasing on both Metcalf and I-435 Highway most likely the result of current economic conditions (more vacations by car than flying) and road construction in other areas of the city.

The city's Traffic Engineer's Office reviews all motor vehicles accident reports and captures the "contributing factors." Contributing factors are determined by the investigating officer. Here are the leading contributing factors for the 85 crashes so far this year:

Inattention 24 accidents
Too fast for conditions 14 accidents
Followed too close 7 accidents
Under the Influence 7 accidents
Red light running 6 accidents
Failed to Yield 3 accidents
Improper Lane Change 3 accidents
Improper Turn 3 accidents

You can reduce the likelihood of becoming involved in a motor vehicle accident by slowing down and giving your full attention, especially in bumper to bumper traffic, to the road. Yes, that means not using your cell phone and sending or reading a text message. No phone call or text message is worth the risk.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Officers to Consentrate on Aggressive Driving, Stop Sign, Red Light and Speeding Violations

95th St. and US 69 Highway
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 7:30 am to 9:00 am
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Focus: stop sign violations and aggressive driving


119th St. and Metcalf
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
Focus: red light violations, speeding and aggressive driving

Friday, October 1, 2010

Aggressive "door to door" Solicitors

Recently, officers have responded to calls from residents who encountered aggressive “door to door” solicitors at their homes. In one incident officers arrested two solicitors. One for Criminal Threat and one for an outstanding felony warrant out of Missouri. Our officers are aware of the problem solicitors and are focused on their activities.

Overland Park has an Ordinance (OPMC 5.64) that addresses “door to door” solicitation. To review the entire ordinance go to www.opkansas.org , click on the City Government link, on the left side of the page scroll down to Legal Publications, and click on Codes and Ordinance and put in 5.64.

One of the main tenants of the ordinance states that if a NO SOLICITOR sticker is affixed to the front door it is illegal for anyone to solicit at that residence. Other provisions specify the time of day solicitation is allowed, that being not before 10:00 am or after 9:00 pm. The ordinance also states solicitation is only allowed at the main entrance of the residence. Many other requirements are stated in the ordinance. NO SOLICITATOR sticker are available at Overland Park City Hall.

Violators found guilty are subject to a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or imprisonment not to exceed six months, or both fine and imprisonment.