Friday, September 30, 2011

Judy Puckett Retires From the Department Today

Judy Puckett has been a dedicated employee of the Police Department since February of 1992. Prior to that, she was a bookkeeper for the City of Harrisonville, and a Loan Officer/Secretary for a federal agency that specialized in loans for farmers.

Judy has served in the Records Unit her entire career. She has performed so many different duties that it would be impossible to name them all. Most recently she has been responsible for the computer entry and removal of lost and stolen items, which requires meticulous follow up and tracking on each item. For a number of years as our Citizen Call-In Unit, she took police reports from citizens over the telephone.

Judy has a daughter, two grandsons, and her beloved dog Angel. She plans to spend her retirement painting, crocheting, and focusing on family.

Judy, thank you for nineteen years of commitment, loyalty, and dedication to the Overland Park Police Department and the citizens we serve. Your friends and coworkers wish you the very best.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Overland Park Detectives Recognized for Volunteerism

The Sunflower House, a non-profit children’s advocacy center that assists many law enforcement agencies with interviewing children involved in abuse cases, needed some help recently. The grounds crew that had been caring for the landscaping at Sunflower House was no longer able to do so and, as I am sure we all know, it doesn’t take long for things to become overgrown.

Detective Fizer and Detective Keating were recognized at the September 22nd Sunflower House luncheon for their efforts to help. In addition to Detective Fizer and Detective Keating, Detective Wedel, Detective Zickel and District Attorney’s Office Prosecutor Rasmussen gathered together and cleaned up the grounds.

All those involved in this effort, have not only dedicated their professional lives to helping others, but, when the need arose, generously gave of their personal time, as well. Great work by all.

For further information on the Sunflower House, check out their website.

Sunflower House

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Not Today

Cigarette thieves came up empty-handed thanks to an alert clerk. In the early morning hours of September 24, 2011 an employee working at a business in the area of 75th and Metcalf ran off two would-be cigarette thieves.

The clerk watched one man jump the counter and the other walk around to where the cigarettes are kept. He confronted the men who dropped the cartons of cigarettes and fled. The suspects ran from the store and the clerk chased them to the parking lot. The clerk obtained a vehicle description but was not able to get a tag number because the suspects backed away from him as they left. Both men fled in an older model white Chevy pickup truck.

One of the men was described as a black male in his mid 50`s. He had short black and grey hair and was wearing a blue shirt and glasses. The other suspect was described as a black male in his 20`s. He was wearing blue jean shorts and a black and red button up shirt with a white t-shirt underneath.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Detectives Need Your Help

Our Investigations Division has released the following photos of two people they would like to identify. The two shown below are people of interest in a theft and credit card fraud case.

On September 24, 2011, the victim in this case was shopping at a local clothing store when her wallet was stolen from her purse. Later that same day her credit card was used at a store close to where her wallet was stolen.

These photos are high quality and anyone knowing these two people should be able to positively identify them.

Anyone with information on the identity of these people is asked to call the TIPS HOTLINE and 816-474-TIPS, or the Overland Park Police Departments Investigation Division at 913-344-8750.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Crimes Analysis Manager Gerry Tallman Retires

After 18 years of service Gerry Tallman retires today. Gerry came to the police department after retiring from the US Army in 1993 as a Lieutenant Colonel with 21 years of military service.

Just one week after retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel with 21 years’ service from the US Army, Gerry was hired by the Overland Park, Kansas Police Department to start the first ever Crime Analysis Unit in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. Under Gerry's leadership the Crime Analysis Unit grew in size and responsibility and contributed immensely to the overall success of the Police Department. The Unit quickly earned an international reputation as a leader in the field of crime analysis. In 1998, during a speech to a group of international law enforcement executives, US Attorney General Janet Reno identified the Overland Park Police Department's Crime Analysis Unit as a major contributor to the advancement of crime analysis and crime mapping.

Gerry and his wife Connie have two children and four grandchildren. Gerry and Connie will retire to their lake house at Lake Sherwood, MO where Gerry’s next adventure will be fishing and building antique reproduction furniture.

Gerry, thank you for eighteen years of commitment, loyalty, and dedication to the Overland Park Police Department and the citizens we serve. Your friends and coworkers wish you the very best in retirement.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Linda Smith Retirement

Linda M. Smith Retires From the Police Department

On Monday, September 26, Linda Smith will leave the Police Department and begin her well deserved retirement. Linda began her career with the city on May 8, 1990. She started as an Administrative Assistant in our Investigations Division, moved to our Administrative Services Division, and has been in the Police Administration Office for the last 10 years.

Together, Linda and her husband Lionel have four children and six grandchildren, the newest of which arrived within the last two months. Her new full time job will be focused around family.

Linda, thank you for twenty-one years of commitment, loyalty, and dedication to the Overland Park Police Department and the citizens we serve. Your friends and coworkers wish you the very best in retirement.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


A Kansas City man was recently convicted of robbing numerous businesses around the Kansas City Metro Area. Abasi S. Baker, was found guilty of 21 different counts associated to a series of Radio Shack and payday loan business robberies over a two month period.

Overland Park Detective Dave Zickel was assigned the Overland Park cases. He worked in conjunction with the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department, the Olathe, Kan., Police Department, the Johnson County Sheriff's Department, the St. Joseph, Mo., Police Department, the Lee's Summit, Mo., Police Department, the Mission, Kan., Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Through this combined investigative effort, five Overland Park robbery cases have been cleared. Also involved in this investigation were three robberies in Kansas City, Kansas, one in Mission, Kansas, and one in Olathe, Kansas. The Overland Park cases occurred between 1-9-11 and 3-3-11.

Sentencing for Mr. Baker will be in early December 2011. He may face a sentence of over 100 years in prison. The trial for a second person charged with these crimes is scheduled for mid-November.

Hard work and corporation equals success! Great work by all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Help to Identify a Person

The Investigations Division has released photos from a recent robbery in hopes that this person of interest can be identified.

In the late evening hours of September 18th, officers responded to a robbery at a local restaurant on 75th Street. The suspect entered the business, insinuated he had a gun, and demanded money. The employee complied and after apologizing, the suspect left with an unknown about of cash.

The suspect was described as a white male in his forties with grayish brown hair, wearing a blue and white striped shirt, a tan trench coat, and a red hat. He was approximately 5`10" and 180-200 lbs.

No injuries were reported. The photos showing the man without the red hat and trench coat are from a visit to the store about an hour prior to the robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bold Robbery at Customer Service

This is another case where good information provided quickly by witnesses lead to arrests. Just after 7:30 p.m. on Sunday September, 18th our 911 operators were contacted regarding a robbery that just occurred in the area of 117th and Metcalf Ave. The caller provided great suspect and suspect vehicle information.

The suspect was described as a heavy set black male, wearing a black wig, black coat, and jean shorts. Witnesses said he displayed a handgun at the customer service counter and demanded money from the register. The suspect vehicle was reported as a white Dodge Dakota and was last seen leaving northbound on Metcalf Ave from W 115th St.

Our dispatch center quickly alerted our officers in the field who located the suspect vehicle. Officers stopped the vehicle in the area of 112th Street and Metcalf Avenue. The driver exited the vehicle and was ordered to lie down in the grass. The passenger then slid over to the driver’s side and drove away.

Officers took the man still at the scene into custody, while two other officers contacted the second suspect who drove off. After fleeing, he was involved in an accident in the area of I435 and Metcalf. No injuries were reported, and the two suspects are currently at the Johnson County Jail awaiting their first appearance in court.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Getting to Know the Department

The School Resource Officer Unit

Lieutenant Erik Hulse currently works the midnight shift in the Patrol Division, but back in the fall of 1993, he was Overland Park’s first School Resource Officer (SRO). Since Erik’s start at Shawnee Mission North, the SRO Unit has grown to sixteen officers, who provide a law enforcement presence in nineteen middle and high schools in both major school districts, as well as a Catholic high school.

School Resource Officers perform the roles of teacher, counselor and law enforcement within their school communities. Some of the functions SRO’s involve themselves in include:

As visible, active law enforcement figures on campus dealing with any law or crime-related issues.

As classroom resources to instruct law-related issues including crime, alcohol and drug prevention.

Members of a faculty/administration team who work to solve school community issues.

Provide guidance to students, parents, and faculty on problems concerning mental health and child in need of care issues.

Officers strive to promote a better relationship between themselves and their students to achieve a better perception of law enforcement among young people through the roles listed above. Aside from the more obvious topics law enforcement officers educate about, the unit is fortunate to have officers trained in crime scene investigation, and accident and shooting reconstruction. During these presentations, officers focus on the application of school subjects such as the math sciences utilized in these processes.

Visibility is an important part of the program, both inside and outside of the school building. Officers perform their duties in full police uniforms and marked patrol cars and the visibility of both can be a deterrent to crime and violence within the schools.

Overland Park SRO’s not only investigate crimes occurring on campus, but also any school-related crime/incident involving school participants off campus. Through these investigations, SRO’s significantly minimize the time patrol officers and detectives spend on these incidents, keeping those personnel available to handle other matters.

School districts and the police department share in the funding of these positions and, like eighteen years ago when the SRO Unit was formed, our officers continue to be a welcome addition to their schools by students, parents, and school staffs.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cell Phone Burglaries and Now Tobacco—Holy Smokes!

Overland Park Police have now taken three burglary reports where cell phones were the target. They have all occurred in a seven-day period. The first occurred on September 7th, and the second occurred on September 12th. At this point, it is unknown if all three cases are related.

The latest incident occurred in the early morning hours of September 14th. Officers responded to a cell phone specialty store around 83th and Metcalf on an alarm.

When the officers arrived, they saw two people running from the area. Officers set up a perimeter and called one of our police dogs to track the suspects. Still, the burglars were not located. A stolen vehicle was located by one of the officers assisting in the search.

The owner of the business responded to the store and was able to determine that a number of cells phones and cigarettes were taken.

The limited suspect information is two males in light blue colored, zip up hooded sweatshirts. Both had a slim build and were between 5'9 and 6'. One had khaki-colored pants, and the other had dark-colored jeans.

The Investigations Division will analyze any available video footage to see if it can be used to assist in the identification of the suspects.

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

Below is the still photo from the first incident showing a person we would like to identify.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Secure Your Garage Door or Lose Your Car

It would be quite a shock to open the door leading from your home to your garage to find your garage door standing open and your car missing. That is just what happened to two Overland Park residents. Over the past two weekends, Overland Park Officers have taken two reports on incidents where cars were stolen from garages.

The aggravated burglaries occurred during the overnight hours between September 3rd and September 4th, and between September 10th and September 11th. Both cars were unlocked with the keys inside, the garage doors most likely were left open all night and the crimes happened in the same neighborhood. The two incidents occurred between Grant Street and Nieman Street on 122nd Street and 123rd Terrace.

These thefts appear to be crimes of opportunity. Neither car has been recovered at this time. The first vehicle is a Gray Buick Rendezvous with Kansas plate 117BFI. The second is a black Mazda Miata with Kansas plate 535AVT.

To protect yourself, ensure your home is secure before going to bed. Instruct older children, who may stay up later than you, to double check the overhead doors before turning in. Stress to your children the importance of not giving out garage door codes to their friends, if you have an outdoor access panel.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stop the Presses!

Many of us dream about having a money tree in our backyards and others make it happen. Counterfeiters are always banking on their skills to pass the perfect bill. Although we don’t hear about this crime a lot anymore, it does still go on.

Overland Park Officers assisted the United States Secret Service recently by arresting four people for passing counterfeit bills. On September 7, 2011 officers were notified that a group of four had just passed a counterfeit bill to purchase gift cards at a local retailer.

The four fled the scene in a maroon Kia before officers arrived. Officers soon located the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop in the area of 151St and Carter Street. The occupants were detained.

Officers coordinated with United States Secret Service, and after an investigation, the four were arrested and transported to the Johnson County Jail. The Secret Service will continue the investigation and it is believed that hundreds of cases throughout the U.S. will be cleared by these arrests.

With all the new security measures implemented into our currency, making your own money is not a good idea.

The following link to the Secret Service Website will tell you all about security features on US Currency.

*Photos are unrelated to the case

Monday, September 12, 2011

Can I get fries with that?

Sometimes people steal things that even surprise law enforcement. We recently took a report where two local restaurants, in close proximity to one another, were the victims of thefts sometime in the overnight hours of Sept 8th. There was no missing money, computer equipment or expensive cuts of meat. These slippery thieves took cooking oil—and used cooking oil at that.

Think about the preparation and special equipment that would be needed to accomplish such a theft. It’s not like you can just toss cooking oil into the back of a pickup truck. The storage container for at least one of the restaurants is located inside the business. Obviously, someone had taken the time to siphon out the used oil using the exterior access pipe and then needed some sort of container to hold it.

Where did the thieves take their cargo after accomplishing such a feat? Who would buy it? It just goes to show that in this new age of recycling, almost everything has a value, even old grease.

Friday, September 9, 2011

“They’re Crashing Airplanes Into Buildings, What Can We Do”

As with most pivotal events in our lives, we can always remember with clarity what we were doing and what happened simultaneously with that event. With the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday, many people are remembering what they were doing and what took place. I thought you might be interested in what was happening at the Police Department and how we responded. Before anyone gets concerned that I will be giving away tactical information, have no fear because nothing I am going to say will reveal any tactical information on a possible future event.

For me, I was on my way to work. It was a clear September sunny day and it was a pleasure to have the heat of the summer gone, much like it is now. My wife, who was home for some unknown reason from work that day, called to tell me that a jet airliner had crashed into the World Trade Center Building in New York. Because I am a pilot, my first thought was that it was weather-related, but still, how could such a colossal accident occur. By the time I got to the Police station, the second aircraft had struck the second tower. What was happening became crystal clear – our Country was under attack.

I summoned the Command Staff to Headquarters to begin reviewing what options we had and what we knew. And like everyone, we were glued to CNN. When the third aircraft crashed in the field in Pennsylvania, the scope of what was occurring took on a new definition and it was at this time that we were fully aware that we were under a terrorist attack of historic proportions. Shortly after, John Nachbar, the City Manager at the time, phoned my office and asked “They’re crashing airplanes into buildings, what can we do?” I had to tell him that while we had significant capabilities in many areas, we were defenseless as a City against aerial attack of this nature. The good news was then, for us, that we did not have any large skyscraper-type buildings to make us a target. What I told him we would do was to respond in a way and to maintain calm in a population that was afraid and panicked by what they saw happening and it was my opinion then, as it is now, that our major response was to make people feel as safe as possible and to keep control. Consequently we ordered all available officers to return to duty and we put out as many police cars as we possibly could knowing full well that the best they could do was to establish their presence and create a reassuring effort for the public. This seemed to work. I can still recall looking out my office window at the significant number of donut-shaped contrails from aircraft circling to land under orders from the FAA to ground all aircraft. It was surreal to say the least.

A lot has happened since that day in September 2001. I am now on the Joint Terrorism Task Force for the Kansas City area. I have a top-secret clearance and I am briefed over potential threats such as the one we are currently aware of. We have members who work full-time on the anti-terrorism effort on several task forces. The good news is that your Police Department has actively participated in investigations which have stopped terrorist activities from happening, albeit happening somewhere else in the Country. Are we better prepared than we were ten years ago – yes. Are we free from attack – obviously no. But I cannot help but sum this up by thinking about Seal Team 6 and their efforts against Osama Bin Laden. While it did not close the book on terrorism in this Country, I believe it will go down in history as a pivotal point on the war against terrorism.

9/11 was a terrible day and a tragedy for all of America. Our enemies should know that we have not crumbled, we have not stumbled and we will not fade away from this earth because of their hate and intolerance. God Bless America.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Help to Identify a Person

Overland Park Detectives need your help to identify a person they believe was involved in a recent burglary. In the early morning hours of September 7th, a cell phone business was broken into.

Officers discovered a broken window, and believe that is how entry was made into the store. At least two phones were taken during this burglary. The below photo was obtained from a surveillance camera inside the store.

If you know the identity of this person, contact the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS.

To Report, or Not to Report---That is the Question

Recently, officers responded to a non-injury accident between a pedestrian and a car. The jogger told police the driver did not stop short of the cross walk, and the front bumper hit his leg causing him to fall to the ground.

The pedestrian, not fully understanding what had happened, got up and kept jogging for a short distance. He then decided a police report should be filed in case his injuries were more serious than he first realized.

By this time, the car was on its way and he was only able to obtain a license plate number. The jogger called police and, after explaining what happened, officers were dispatched on a hit and run accident.

Using the license plate information, officers located the driver of the car. The driver’s account of the accident was consistent with the jogger’s. He said he waited a short time and the jogger resumed his run, so he left.

After a short investigation, it was determined the accident was not a hit and run. It was simply a case where neither party exchanged information. A report was taken to document the event.

So what is the proper way to handle an event such as this? In the absence of injury or DUI, the State of Kansas only requires an accident report be written when the accident occurs on a public street or highway and the damage is over $1,000.00.

The State of Kansas does not require an accident report when the accident occurs on private property, unless there is an injury or suspected DUI, regardless of the damage amount.

The most important step is to exchange information. Reports can always be made at one of our stations (12400 Foster or 8500 Antioch) at a later time. Sometimes, serious injuries are not detected until weeks after an accident occurs, so having the information of the other person involved is essential.

In the above example, since there was no injury and no damage, the exchange of information would have been all that was needed.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Getting to know the Department…A Patrol Officer

This will be the first of a series of blogs designed to familiarize you with who we are and what we do. Of all the job positions in the police department, none is as prominent as the patrol officer. So grab a lunch, your fastest sneakers and ride along.

A patrol officer begins his/her shift by checking all the equipment in the car to ensure everything is in good working order. After they notify dispatch of their availability for calls, the team, consisting of a sergeant and six to eight officers, meets in the roll call room for briefing on new and updated crime information.

The Sergeant then assigns the officers to deployment areas in the city which are identified by analysis of crime data and crime trends. This has proven to be a more effective way to reduce crime than the traditional use of districts. Once in their deployment areas, patrol officers are expected to enforce traffic complaint locations and look for crime trends in that area.

Patrol Officers are assigned to an eight hour shift, which means they have no designated lunch break. Depending on call loads, they may find thirty minutes to grab a quick bite out but frequently need to brown-bag -it in their vehicles between calls. Officers are dispatched to calls based on our Global Positioning System (GPS). The closest officer(s) to the call are dispatched. This dispatching method helps to improve response times. Overland Park Police are dispatched on approximately 175 calls per day or 63,000 calls for service every year.

Changing technology over the last fifteen years has necessitated additional training for officers. Years ago, the equipment in a patrol car consisted of a police radio, a partition between the front and back seats, and a shot gun. Today, the equipment in the cars is worth more than the car. Computers, video recorders, and printers for electronic tickets are just a few additions.

Officers wrote 25,772 reports in 2010 using their in-car computers. Writing a report can take from fifteen minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the complexity of the call. It would not be uncommon for an officer to spend several hours on a call that involves an arrest and transport to the Johnson County Jail.

Officers also receive subpoenas to attend Municipal and/or District court several times a week. These appearances can take anywhere from an hour to the entire shift. Add 40 hours of training every year, and it’s easy to see that there is little down time for a patrol officer.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Second Time’s the Charm

Have you ever been fishing and had a nice fish up to the dock and just as you’re preparing to land it --snap-- it breaks free and is gone? Well, sometimes that happens in police work too. The other evening officers responded to a call of a man breaking into coin-operated machines to steal the money.

A witness told officers where the suspect was last seen. An officer located the suspect and ordered him to stop. As the officer approached the suspect, he ran and jumped a fence. The officer chased the suspect, but lost sight of him. The officer continued to search the area until a citizen called to report a man looking into houses nearby.

The officer returned to his car and responded to that area. As he arrived, he saw the male jump a fence, run behind his patrol car, and jump another fence. The officer exited his car, jumped the fence, and resumed the chase.

The officer continuously told the man to stop, but he refused. Finally, the officer was able to grab the suspect’s shirt and pull him to the ground. He was taken into custody without further incident. The man was arrested and turned over to the Johnson County Jail to await his first appearance on a burglary charge.

Just like when fishing, sometimes you hook them the second time around.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hello Neighbor, Do I Know You?

How well do you know your neighborhood? If you saw someone getting into a car, would you know if it was their car? I have said in a number of different blogs lately how important it is to know your neighbors and notify police when you see a crime or suspicious activity occurring. Recently, two citizens did just that.

Separately, both citizens called police when they saw a man enter a vehicle they knew was not his. One questioned the man as to what he was doing, and the other followed the suspect as he walked away from the scene.

The witness followed the suspect and directed police to his location. Officers arrived and detained the suspect. After a short investigation, the suspect was arrested. It is believed that multiple auto burglary cases will be cleared by this arrest.

As it turns out the suspect is homeless and was targeting unlocked cars as a means to improve his situation.