Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Warming up the Car

With the colder weather upon us, people are tempted to start their car and allow it to warm up unattended. It’s nice to get into a warm car when it is cold outside; that is if it is still there upon your return.

There have been 52 vehicles stolen in Overland Park as they were warming up (since January 1, 2010). Here is some interesting statistical information about cars stolen while warming up.

If this happens to you, it will probably take place at your home; 40 of the 52 were either at an apartment or a single family residence. These thefts most likely happen on a weekday, 44 of the 52. How about times? Our statistics show that the majority of these thefts occur between the hours of 0600 a.m. and 0900 a.m. (35 out of 52).

Is it legal? In Overland Park, it is not. There is an ordinance prohibiting unattended running vehicles not equipped with a remote start system. The fine for this violation is $90.00.

 If you park outside, what can you do? There are several remedies. If you have the ability to park inside, don’t park on the driveway or street. This will eliminate the desire to warm up your car, stay with your car as is warms, or invest in a remote start system or block heater.

 There is plenty of information on the internet regarding warming up your car. Just type “warming your car in the cold” into the search engine of your choice.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Stress

Do you believe holidays cause stress? Having just gone through the Thanksgiving holiday and looking at the number of calls our patrol officers responded, I believe it’s a fact.

From 12:00 a.m. on Thursday November 24 to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, November 27, our officers responded to 43 disturbance calls, 12 of which were on Thanksgiving Day itself.

We typically see an uptick in domestic violence and child abuse calls during this time of year, holiday stress is likely the contributing factor. Our country’s current economic conditions may increase stress levels even higher.

Because of this I feel it would be a good time to remind people of some of the resources available in our area to assist in a time of need. The following local organizations have 24 hour hotlines staffed with people who may assist you.

Johnson County Mental Health

24hr Emergency Services 913-268-0156


24hr Emergency Services 913-262-2868

MOCSA (Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault)

24hr Emergency Services 913-642-0233

Monday, November 28, 2011

Help to Identify

Overland Park Police have taken four, criminal damage to property reports and one burglary report over the past few months in the area of 119th Street and Pflumm Street. Detectives have obtained surveillance photos from two of the incidents. The person of interest in the photo appears to be a juvenile.

Two incidents were reported on October 15, 2011, one in the area of 119th and Pflumm and the other in the area of 119th and Noland.
Exactly a month later, on November 15, 2011 a burglary occurred in the area of 119th and Pflumm.

The latest damages occurred on November 16, 2011 in the 13400 block of 119th Street. All of these incidents occurred in the evening hours.

Damaged property included broken windows, broken flower pots, broken locks, and tipped over picnic tables.

The burglary report noted approximately $12,000.00 in damages, mostly to a car in the garage, and thefts of alcohol and cash.

Anyone with information on the identity of this person is asked to call the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Help to Identify

Overland Park Officers are working hard at Oak Park Mall and other retailers to deter and arrest shoplifters. They need your help to identify a person who attempted to steal $1300.00 in merchandise on November 11, 2011, and successfully stole $1000.00 dollars worth of merchandise on November 19, 2011.

The following photos are from the November 11th attempt. Her target is high end purses from a popular Overland Park retailer. Anyone with information on this women’s identity is asked to call the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-875o, or the TIPS HOTLINE and 816-474-TIPS.

We will have additional officers working who will be placing extra attention on retail theft and fraud now through the Christmas holiday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Officer Locates Stolen Property on the Way Home

On November 18, 2011, officers were called to the area of 137th Street and Eby to investigate two auto burglaries. The burglars had broken out car windows to access two purses left in plain view. This occurred between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Later that night, one of our officers located the two purses near the roadway in the area of 133rd Street and Antioch. The Officer had recently gotten off duty and was riding his bike home. All the contents of both purses were accounted for, with the exception of the cash.

As we regularly see, items of value left in plain view encourage crimes of opportunity. The reality in the majority of these cases is that the cost to repair the damage caused by the suspects trying to get the items far exceeds the value of the items they steal.

Please do not leave items of value in plain sight.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Store Employees Detain Suspect

On November 17, 2011 at 2302 hours, our Officers were called to a local store on a reported robbery. While Officers were en route, they were informed the store employees had the suspect detained.

When Officers arrived, they discovered two employees holding the suspect to the floor behind the register. Officers relieved the store employees and took the man into custody.

The incident began when the suspect attempted to take money from the register during a purchase transaction. The clerk and another employee were able to pull the man to the ground and hold him for police.

One employee sustained a bite during the struggle and there were a few other minor cuts reported. No weapons were involved.

The suspect was transported to the Johnson County Jail to await his first appearance on charges of robbery, battery, and obstruction.

We thank these two employees for their assistance, but encourage everyone to account for their own well-being before becoming actively involved in a situation. Being a really good witness can be very helpful as well.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Farewell to Sergeant Larry Cohen

With a fond farewell and best wishes from the Overland Park Police Department, Sergeant Larry Cohen is retiring after 34 years with the Police Department. He started as a patrol officer in 1977 and patrolled the streets of Overland Park, Kansas for five years. His dedication to the city continued as crime prevention officer for eight years. In this position, Larry gave presentations to members of the community regarding safety, home security and business security, as well as child safety.

In 1991 Larry was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and became the supervisor for the Crimes against Persons and Property Units in the Investigations Division. His commitment to public safety did not end there. Crime Prevention, Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), School Resource Officer and Community Oriented Policing units also benefited from his supervisory skills.

Larry pioneered a program to prevent new account fraud during the time when new account fraud was a major financial crime. He received the Police Department’s Public Safety Award for his innovative ideas. From 2001-2003 Larry co-managed the department’s $200,000 Underage Drinking Educational and Enforcement grant.

Larry has established a reputation for integrity, fairness and professionalism. Many members of the Department, as well as the city, will remember his sharp wit and humorous storytelling. Larry will always be known for his passionate support of MU but, more importantly, how he used this passion as a platform for encouraging young individuals to pursue higher education.

Sgt. Cohen, your smile and presence will be missed. Farewell and good luck in all you choose to do.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why Are Police Officers Pulling Everyone Over?

Everyone knows the drill. You hear a siren and check your rearview mirror to see a police car behind you with flashing lights. You move over to the right side of the road safely; sadly enough the patrol car follows you. With a sigh you put your vehicle in park and turn on your flashing warning lights. As the Officer approaches, the same thought runs through everyone’s head, “What did I do?”

The truth is, officers execute traffic stops for many different reasons. Some would think the Officer has nothing better to do than pull over vehicles. Others would argue what they did is not really an issue worthy of a ticket. After the Officer tells the driver the reason for the stop the driver may even argue they didn’t realize what they did was wrong.

On a daily basis Officers who work in the Patrol Division and the Traffic Division patrol the city and look for traffic violations. Why the additional attention to traffic violations? The focus for additional enforcement is on high accident locations and violations which can result in serious injury, such as seatbelt violations and speeding.

As a comparison, the average traffic stop lasts from 7 to 15 minutes. Traffic accidents can last 30 minutes to 3 hours and can disrupt the flow of traffic if lanes are blocked or emergency equipment is required. Plus, added benefits to traffic stops are identifying those drivers who have warrants for various criminal activities in Overland Park, Kansas and adjacent cities, or those individuals who have histories of criminal behavior and could be related to crime trends.

On 11/10/2011 monthly results were provided for officers working on an accident and crime reduction initiative. 147 cars were stopped and 204 tickets written. Of those tickets, 37 were red light violations and 42 were seatbelt violations. Two of the stops even involved warrant arrests. These statistics do not include the number of tickets and arrests related to stops performed by Officers regularly patrolling the streets.

The idea for traffic enforcement does not include an arbitrary stop to pass the time. Traffic enforcement not only thwarts immediate hazardous driving, but also provides a reminder for the countless drivers who pass the traffic stop to drive responsibly. Those drivers see the enforcement and adjust their driving due to the presence of the Police Officer. Hopefully, continued enforcements such as these may convince citizens it is better to arrive at a location safely, than quickly.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Doug DeZube receives Public Safety Award

On November 9th 2011, Doug DeZube was recognized by the Public Safety Committee for the support he has given to the Overland Park Crime Free Multi-Housing Program. Mr. DeZube has worked closely with the Overland Park Community Oriented Policing Unit for over ten years. He has graciously provided our neighborhoods and apartments with guidance on a variety of public safety issues.

Through his diligent efforts, partnerships and problem-solving techniques were organized to proactively address public safety issues.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All dressed up and nowhere to go, except jail that is.

As a follow up to my blog on Easy Money, I want to provide an update on the bank robbery from 11/9/11. Following up on a lead, Overland Park Detectives and members of the FBI made contact with a 28–year-old male in relation to the robbery. When questioned about the incident, the male admitted to the robbery. When he was taken into custody he was wearing a suit and ready for a night out on the town. However, he was arrested and spent the night in a cell instead.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Holiday Traffic Enforcement

The Overland Park Police Department will be participating in the Thanksgiving Traffic Enforcement Campaign, from Monday, November 21 through Sunday, November 27. This grant funded project from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will specially target impaired drivers and vehicle occupants who are not properly restrained.

According to KDOT, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (Wednesday-Sunday) commonly outranks all other holidays in its number of alcohol-related crashes. Those driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs endanger not only themselves, but also their passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. A Driving Under the Influence conviction can result in jail time, suspension or revocation of driver’s license, fines, participation in an alcohol treatment program, possible impoundment of their vehicle, and installation of an ignition interlock device in that vehicle.

Failure to take two seconds to simply buckle up can be responsible for needless death and maiming. Drivers and passengers who do not buckle up are about 12 times more likely to be killed and almost twice as likely to suffer injury as those who do buckle up. This applies regardless of speed and whether on city street, county road, or highway.

Keep in mind that if you are going to be drinking – any amount at all– don’t consider driving home. Don’t let pride or concerns for your convenience endanger your life and the lives of innocent others. Always wear your seatbelt and don’t move the vehicle until each person riding with you is buckled in. It is your best defense, it’s their best defense, and it’s the law. By always following these simple rules, you will increase the safety of you and your passengers and avoid a costly DUI conviction.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Officers Arrest Six Women Shoplifting Together

Yesterday afternoon Officers were called to the area of 135th Street and Antioch to a child’s clothing store to investigate several people shoplifting.

Witnesses provided descriptions of the suspects and their vehicle to dispatchers. The information was passed to the responding officers who quickly arrived and located the vehicle with the women inside.

Officers detained the women and began investigating the incident. Through the investigation, probable cause was developed and all six women were arrested.

They were all transported to the Johnson County Jail to await their first appearance on charges of felony theft. The ages of these women ranged from 18 to 39.

With the holiday shopping season kicking off, we will be watching for this type of activity.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easy Money…Not When it Catches Up With You

A white male suspect entered the First National Bank of Kansas, on 11/9/11 at approximately 9:20 a.m. and committed a robbery. The bank is located in the 9700 block of Metcalf.

The robber gave the teller a note demanding money and the teller complied. No weapon was displayed and no injuries were reported.

The suspect left on foot in an unknown direction with an undisclosed amount of money. The following photo of the suspect has been released.

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

OPPD Returns the Favor

Our metro area police departments are very good at working together to solve crime. The following events are two examples of this kind of team work.

On November 6, 2011, Officers with the Lenexa Police Department caught and arrested a juvenile male for committing auto burglaries in their city. During their investigation they found reason to believe that their arrestee may have committed the same crime in Overland Park.

After speaking with Lenexa Officers, Overland Park Officers responded to an address in Overland Park and discovered an auto burglary that had not yet been reported.

Great police work and cooperation, right? Hang on, it gets better.

The next night, an Overland Park Officer made an arrest and through that investigation, found reason to believe that the person he arrested may have committed auto burglaries in Lenexa.

Lenexa Police were contacted and began investigating. Through their investigation, they now believe the person arrested by the Overland Park Officer may have been involved in at least two auto burglaries in their city.

Isn’t team work great!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Help Detectives Identify a Person of Interest

This worked yesterday, lets try it again.

The Overland Park Investigations Division is asking for the public’s help in identifying the man pictured below.

On October 31, 2011 Loss Prevention Officers (LPO’s) from a local retailer called to report a shoplifting case. They suspected a man of concealing and stealing video games. The LPO’s attempted to stop the man but he pushed past them as he fled the store, which constituted a battery on the LPO’s.

No injuries were reported. The suspect was described as a black male in his 20s, approximately 6 feet tall and 300-350 lbs. He had a thin goatee, slightly tinted glasses and gold teeth. He was wearing a baseball cap backwards and a black T-shirt with a “Coogi heritage” logo.

Anyone with information on the identity of this man is asked to call the Overland Park Police Investigations Division at 913-344-8750.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Follow up to the Previous Blog

Detectives believe they have identified the person of interest shown in the photo from the earlier blog.

Thank you to everyone that assisted in this case.

Help Detectives Identify a Person of Interest

On 09/20/11 an Officer took a report on an unusual incident. The reporting party stated they were the victim of deprivation of property. It turns out that the victim loaned a laptop to a person they recently met on Facebook. He was supposed to return it that day, but never did.

When the victim attempted to re-contact the suspect, the suspect’s identity is now in question. The victim provided the following photo of the person of interest in this case.

If you know the identity of this man, please call the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750.

Please use caution on social networking sites. Just because the site indicates you may know a person, that is not always the case.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Getting to Know the Department

A Police Sergeant

A Sergeant is the first line supervisor who is responsible for upholding the standards and practices of the Police Department. Sergeants have the daily task of juggling paperwork and field work necessary to guide a team of Police Officers. They do not respond to every call, but may arrive on a scene for a variety of reasons. Sergeants are required to supervise all the time, not just when a call for service deteriorates into a dangerous or complicated situation.

They may arrive on scene to offer assistance, provide direction, or to meet with an officer to discuss other police matters. A Sergeant is constantly evaluating needs-- needs for relief, needs for additional resource and needs for equipment. They may even simply supply a welcome bottle of water for a thirsty officer directing traffic.

Sergeants also respond to calls for service when officers are occupied with other situations. They will respond to back up officers, make traffic stops, and even handle the initial investigation of a call. They prepare performance evaluations for officers and are tasked with equipment tracking and maintenance. And let’s not forget, Sergeants read and approve every police report written by officers.

Do you know how to differentiate a sergeant from an officer? Police uniforms vary according to rank, but most people don’t know how to interpret those differences. Badges and name plates on an officer’s uniform are sliver; on a Sergeant’s uniform they are gold. In addition, the Sergeant uniform has three gold stripes on the sleeves of the shirt.

In Overland Park, a Sergeant is constantly in the field trying to make a tough job a little easier for Officers and to make sure the department provides exceptional service for the citizens we serve.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Follow up to Sept 8th, and Sept 15th, blogs

Through this blog, I try to keep citizens aware of events occurring in our city. Frequently, we ask you to watch for a suspect car, identify a certain type of crime, or assist in identifying a person. Whenever possible, I believe we should provide updates to those events for which we have asked assistance.

If you remember, on September 8th and 15th we posted a photo showing a person of interest in some burglaries of cell phone stores. Recently, we gained more information on these crimes from a simple car stop.

On October 28, 2011, an officer stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation in the area of 75th and Metcalf. The juvenile driver did not provide the officer with his correct personal information so the officer began to investigate further. During the investigation, the officer discovered the juvenile was in possession of stolen property.

As the investigation continued, information regarding the cell phone burglaries was discovered. The juvenile was taken into custody for obstruction, possession of stolen property, and driving without a driver’s license. There have not been any charges filed regarding the cell phone burglaries as of yet, but the cases will be sent to the District Attorney’s Office soon for review of charges.

Just thought you would like to know.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

One Shoe Shoplifter Ran, but He Could Not Hide

Losses from shoplifting not only negatively affect businesses, they also negatively affect consumers. Businesses charge higher prices for products to compensate for shoplifting losses. Deterring shoplifting and prosecuting offenders benefits everyone. That’s why one of our officers recently ran “the extra mile” to catch one.

On October 31, 2011 about 7:00 p.m., we were called by a Loss Prevention Officer (LPO) to one of our local businesses. The LPO reported a suspect concealing video games in his clothing.

As one of our officers was arriving, the LPO reported that he chased the suspect from the store out to the parking lot. The suspect then headed eastbound from the store. About this same time, our officer observed the suspect run right past the front of the police car.

Our officer got out of his car and chased the suspect. The foot pursuit continued into a farm field. The suspect failed to comply with the officer’s commands to stop, despite losing his shoe and spilling video games on the ground.

The officer eventually caught up to the suspect and was able to get him to the ground and place him in handcuffs. No injuries were reported. The suspect was transported to the Johnson County Jail to await his court appearance for theft and a drug possession charge.

If you search the web, you will find several sites that estimate annual retail losses in the billions due to theft. Any impact we can have to deter this crime is beneficial to everyone.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

No Excuse for This

One of our hospitals was a recent victim of property damage. For no apparent reason, someone threw a rock through a window near the ambulance entrance to the hospital. The rock that broke the window was no bigger than a ping pong ball.

This occurred on 10/28/2011 around 9:30 p.m. Officers responded to 124th Street and Metcalf to take a report on criminal damage to property. The surveillance cameras showed two individuals standing on the helicopter pad just before the incident.

One person ran across the helicopter pad and into the dark immediately after the damage occurred. The video shows that individual was wearing all dark clothing.

If you were in this area and witnessed anything, contact the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750.