Thursday, July 28, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Kelsey Koonse and Paige Williams haven’t spent this summer in the typical fashion that most 21 and 19 year old college students do. Instead of working a summer job and hanging out with friends at the pool all day, they hung out with my Command Staff and I in daily meetings, riding along with officers, observing the various units of the police department, training with the Tactical Unit, and conducting research for a comparative analysis of crime, demographic, and economic trends of Overland Park. Most internship’s are part of a curriculum requirement or involve pay. Paige and Kelsey voluntarily took this summer’s opportunity to get a closer look at the inner workings of a law enforcement agency and observe the business and professional environment that occurs on a daily basis.

Paige Williams is a graduate of Shawnee Mission South High School and attended Kansas University in 2009 before transferring back to Johnson County Community College due to a change in majors. She plans on attaining degrees in Criminal Justice and Liberal Arts and hopes to have a career in police work. Paige likes swimming, shopping, movies and listening to Christian rock music. She also enjoys antiques and works part time at a local antique store. Paige notes in addition to her work accomplishments at OPPD this summer, she did get a “radical” new haircut.

Kelsey Koonse is a graduate of Blue Valley West High School and will be a senior at Kansas State University this fall, majoring in Criminology. In addition to her studies at KSU, she works with the Riley County Police Department’s repeat offenders program. Kelsey also hopes to have a career in law enforcement. She is a figure skater and rides a motorcycle and also paints and draws. As noted from the over 100 graphs and charts she and Paige compiled, she likes the colors turquoise and KSU purple, much to the dismay of this KU alum. Both women have done a great job of obtaining, analyzing, and organizing information for a presentation that will occur in the near future. We offer our thanks and best wishes to both as they return to school this fall.

Chief John M. Douglass

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

Recently, an Overland Park resident requested the Overland Park Police Department to check on the welfare of an elderly friend. When officers arrived at her residence, they discovered her air conditioning was not working. Also, there was no food in the home and the resident said she had eaten her last meal the day before.

The officers immediately called Sgt. Cindy Henson with the department's Community Oriented Policing & Problem Solving (COPPS) Unit. COPPS Officers Theresa Poage and Ross Latta responded.

The COPPS Officers went well above and beyond normal means to assist this resident. They helped by facilitating the repair of her air conditioner. They also contacted a local food pantry, who agreed to stay open past their normal closing time to help. The COPPS officers even assisted the resident with making her bed. They also convinced the resident to accept assistance from Meals on Wheels.

This scenario is an example of some of the many problems our officers come into contact with everyday. Although we are not able to solve all the problems we encounter sometimes we are able to go the extra mile and make a difference.

Kudos to all of these officers who went above and beyond the normal expectations to assist an elderly resident in need.

The Police Department established the COPPS Unit in 1996 as a way to free up a few police officers to be able to assist with in-depth problems that require more time than a traditional patrol officer would have on a dispatched call.

Today COPPS Officers, which include our School Resource Officers, are assigned to one of four areas of the city. They maintain contact with apartment managers and community leaders in their area to assist with problems that arise such as codes issues, neighbor disputes, assisting the elderly, and assisting those with mental illness.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thief Steals Donations for Joplin

On the scorching hot afternoon of July 20, 2011, a mother and son sat in their lawn chairs outside a store in the 9000 block of Metcalf Ave. They were collecting money for the Joplin tornado disaster relief. As they were giving back to the community, someone else was thinking only of taking.

A six foot black male with dreadlocks in his twenties wearing black pants, a "Hawaiian" shirt, and a hat with a marijuana leaf exited the store and grabbed the donation jar.

The suspect ran to the parking lot and got into the driver’s seat of an older model maroon Cadillac with a black pin strip.

Anyone with information on the identity of the man in the photo is asked to call the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Don’t Be Scammed, Don’t be Fooled

For the past several years, we have been seeing unsolicited e-mails and letters which may look official, but are only meant to scam innocent people. Even though these communications may contain genuine logos, like the attached letter supposedly from the FBI, their intent is to deprive you of your hard-earned money or steal your personal identification.

Be highly suspicious of phone calls, e-mails and letters that are unsolicited and make an urgent or threatening request for payments of some kind or for personal information. Frequently these communications are poorly written with grammar and spelling errors.

On the FBI’s website you will see that they do not correspond with people by e-mail. They also post information on many known scams and helpful way to avoid being a victim.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Graffiti Found Along Walking Trail

On 07-24-11, graffiti was located along the walking trail in the area of 139th and Switzer. Blue spray paint was used to draw and write on the concrete under the bridge. Some of the damage can be seen in the below photos. The words "salo" and "skel" were written as well as what appears to be a water drop.

Anyone with information on who may be responsible for this damage is asked to call the Police Department (913-344-8750). We would also encourage the reporting of suspicious activity when it is noticed (913-895-6300).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Attempt to Identify

On July 13, 2011, Officers responded to the 6700 block of 135th Street on a theft that had just occurred. The manager of the department store told Officers that a group of six entered the store about 6:30 p.m. A short time after entering, four individuals grabbed armloads of clothing and ran out the doors.

Officers obtained still photos of the people involved. It is believed that two separate vehicles were involved in this theft. A red car and a silver car were seen circling the parking lot while the others were in the store. There is no further description of the vehicles at this time.

Please view the attached photos.

Anyone with information about the identity of the people in the photos is asked to contact the TIPS HOTLINE and 816-474-TIPS.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lifeguards Rescue a Man in Distress

On July 19, 2011, officers and paramedics responded to the Blue Jacket Pool at 101st and Bond Street. The on-duty lifeguards called for assistance after a male swimmer became unconscious.

An on-duty lifeguard recognized that a man was not surfacing. She alerted those at the pool and entered the water to assist him. She pulled him to safety where she and another lifeguard resuscitated the man.

When police and medical personnel arrived, the man was breathing on his own and able to respond to questions. The man was transported to a local hospital.

Thanks to the quick action and lifesaving efforts by these lifeguards, this man is expected to make a full recovery.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Follow Up on Missing Person from 7/19/11

Mrs. Rafter was located at about 6:00 p.m. on 7/19/2011. Thank you to all who assisted in her safe return.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Missing Person

The Overland Park Police Department is currently looking to locate a missing person. Margaret Rafter (W/F 66 years of age). She is 5'03 and weighs approximately 110 lbs. She has black and grey hair and brown eyes.

She suffers from dementia and her last known location was at 11300 block of Grandview Street at about 1015 a.m. on today’s date. She is most likely driving a gold colored 2007 Toyota Avalon bearing KS plate QJY 879.

Please contact the Overland Park Police Department at 913-895-6300 if you have seen Mrs. Rafter or her car.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekend Vandalism

On July 17, 2011, Officers responded to the area of 162nd and Birch Street on vandalism that occurred sometime over night.

Black spray paint was used to write words, phrases, and designs on property. The words “Happy Face” were written on a house, a faint smiley face was painted on a fence, the word “Moron” was written on a garage door, and the phrase "DO SOMETHING BETTER WITH YOUR $" was written on the side of a house.

Similar vandalism was also reported in the area of 162nd and Outlook Street.

Anyone with information about this vandalism is asked to contact the Overland Park Police Department 913-327-6937.

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Mounted Search and Rescue Unit Deployment

The Overland Park Mounted Search and Rescue Unit, (OPMSRU) was called by Olathe Police to search an area close to 135th Street and Greenwood Street in Olathe. A missing person report was taken and Olathe PD had reason to believe this area was one of several areas where the missing man might be.

The terrain that the OPMSRU was asked to search was hilly, wooded, and covered in tall grass. This area would be difficult to search on foot, but easily searched on horseback.

Just as The Overland Park Mounted Search and Rescue Unit prepared to begin their first area search, the matter was resolved by the Olathe P.D.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Officer Mike Betten Retires After 25 Years of Service

Officer Betten began his career on July 14, 1986. He worked in the Patrol Division from 1986 to 1988. From 1988 to 1996 Officer Betten was assigned to the Traffic Division where he focused on accident reduction and traffic enforcement.

For the last 15 years Officer Betten has been assigned to the Community Policing Unit as the department’s Crime Prevention Officer. During this time Officer Betten gained certification from the American Society of Industrial Security as a Certified Protection Professional (CPP). Of the 30 certified security professionals in the State of Kansas, he is the only law enforcement officer to hold the CCP designation.

Officer Betten instructed at the Johnson County Police Academy. He will continue as Adjunct Professor at JCCC teaching courses in Crime Prevention & Fundamentals of Private Security.

In 2001, Officer Betten was awarded the Thomas R. Meyers Award presented by the Kansas City American Society of Industrial Security Chapter.

In 2003, he received an Award of Achievement for Region V presented by the American Society for Industrial Security International.

Also in 2003, he was honored by Security Management Magazine as the Certified Protection Professional of the Quarter.

Currently, Officer Betten is awaiting the results of his nomination to receive the 2011 Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing.

Officer Betten is taking a position with TED Systems here in Johnson County.

Officer Betten your co-workers and friends wish you the best and we thank you for 25 years of dedicated service to the City of Overland Park and the citizens we serve.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Help Identify a Person of Interest in a Wallet Theft

On July 8, 2011, the Police Department took a report on the theft of a wallet. The victim said she was getting groceries in the area of 75th and Metcalf at about 4:30 p.m. She told police her wallet was inside her purse which was sitting in her shopping cart. She recalled turning away from her purse once; and when she turned back, she saw a man quickly walking away from her location. She believes this is when her wallet was taken from her purse.

Detectives were able to obtain still photos of a person of interest in this case. If you know the identity of the person in these photos, contact the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS with the information.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Help Identify a Person of Interest

On 7/11/2011, Officers responded to the Matt Ross Community Center to investigate an eavesdropping incident. Officers contacted the victim who advised that she was showering in the locker room when she noticed a man watching her. She yelled at the individual and he left. This incident occurred at about 6:50 A.M. Officers were able to obtain still photos of the suspect from the surveillance video at the community center.

Anyone who believes they know the identity of the below individual is asked to call the TIPS HOTLINE and 816-474-TIPS.

Friday, July 8, 2011

DUI Saturation Patrol

The July 4th holiday may be over, but the risk of contacting intoxicated drivers still remains. This past Monday was a particularly sad day, as a Belton mother and her young daughter were killed by a drunk driver headed the wrong way on I-435 in Kansas City, MO. The wrong-way driver survived and was charged with 2 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Each year, our Officers conduct numerous DUI Saturation Patrols and Check Lanes. We assist in educating businesses where liquor is sold and served, speak to our young people about the dangers and illegality of alcohol use, and remove from our streets and highways those who choose to drive impaired. Yet, some still manage to slip through and the results can be tragic.

On Friday, July 8th, a team of Traffic Safety Officers will be deployed throughout the city watching for impaired drivers. Drivers who appear to be impaired will be stopped and asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests, and additional testing may be required.

Please don’t drink and drive. Someone’s family may depend on it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Accident & Crime Reduction Initiative - July 8, 2011

On Friday, July 8, 2011, from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, the Overland Park Police Department will conduct its monthly Accident & Crime Reduction Initiative.

Teams of officers will be deployed at the city's TOP 10 High Accident Locations, as well as several Traffic Complaint Areas. Officers will be citing drivers for violations that often result in an accident. These include running red lights, following too close, unsafe lane changes and aggressive driving. Seat belt violations will also be enforced.

It is our goal to reduce the number and severity of traffic accidents. As of May 31, 2011, there had been 1,731 accidents. This is a decrease of 4.52% over the same period last year.

Fireworks Complaints and Arrests

Each year, the news media reports on the numbers of people injured by fireworks, and the resulting property damage caused by these explosive materials. Fireworks possession and/or use has been banned by the City of Overland Park for many years, due to the potential for personal injury and property damage.

Between July 1st and July 5th, our Officers responded to 196 fireworks-related calls for service, a 20 percent decrease from the same period a year ago. 25 arrests were made for possessing and/or discharging fireworks within the City limits, with fines ranging from $200 to $500.

Thanks to everyone for attending the City’s annual fireworks event at Corporate Woods; it’s a free, safer alternative to risking injury, property damage, or fines for personal fireworks.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Is Your Name? Where Do You Live? Who Is Your Emergency Contact?

Recently, Overland Park Police Officers responded on a medical call and found themselves trying to identify an unconscious, elderly resident near a city street. Unfortunately, no identification was found on the person, making it difficult for officers to locate an emergency contact or determine where the person lived. Only after a prolonged delay were officers able to learn the person’s name and locate a relative.

Before leaving on your walk, bicycle ride, or other outdoor activity, please consider carrying at least one piece of identification - a driver’s license, ID card, etc. For the elderly or those with special needs, a medical ID bracelet or ID necklace containing name, address, a current phone number, medical information, and emergency contact(s) are extremely helpful. Also, consider entering “In Case of Emergency (ICE)” information in a cell phone, if available.

Stay safe and enjoy your summer.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sgt. Dan Carney Retires After 26 Years of Service

Dan began his career patrolling a district in the central part of Overland Park, primarily working evening shift, under the guidance of Sgt. Pat Keating. After several years, he transferred to Investigations and worked as a detective in the Crimes against Property Unit. During this time, he was appointed to the Metro Squad to investigate the Richard Grissom serial murder case.

Project D.A.R.E. arrived in Overland Park in 1989, and Dan was asked by the Chief to implement the program in the local schools. He spent two years teaching, and interacted with over 20,000 students during this assignment. Dan felt strongly that this program created a much needed bond of friendship and trust between police officers and young people.

Dan was promoted to the rank of Sergeant where he worked in the field for several years before transferring to Investigations. Dan supervised the Burglary Unit for over seven years.

Dan finished his career working as a COPPS/SRO/DARE Unit Supervisor. He enjoyed collaborating with officers to resolve problems as they presented themselves in neighborhoods and schools.

Dan will be taking a position with the Blue Valley School District. Dan, your co-workers and friends wish you the best. Thank you for your 26 years of dedicated service to the citizens of Overland Park.