Friday, December 30, 2011

Bringing in the New Year

Bringing in the New Year is always exciting. It’s a time to reflect on what we have accomplished this year and what we want to accomplish next year. Traditionally, it is also a time to celebrate with family and friends. While the nice weather that is forecasted for this New Year’s weekend will ensure optimum road conditions, your travels can be hindered by impaired drivers. Now is the time to plan for a safe journey this weekend. If you plan to consume alcohol remember to designate a driver or make other arrangements for a safe ride to and from your destination.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 431 traffic accident related fatalities in 2010 for the State of Kansas. Of those, 168 were alcohol impaired driver related fatalities.

The Overland Park Police Department will be conducting a DUI “saturation patrol” on Saturday, December 31st, 2011. This patrol will begin during the late evening hours and continue overnight. Our desire is to discourage drinking and driving, which can result in automobile accidents.

Don’t let the few dollars you spend on alcohol end up costing you thousands in court fines and/or a trip to jail, not to mention the immeasurable cost of an injury accident or fatality.

Enjoy the New Year and Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Sounds of Celebration

New Year’s eve is a holiday known for celebration. It is also a holiday known for noise. Besides our normal calls for service, officers will likely be called to investigate numerous fireworks complaints.

Please consider this my friendly reminder that fireworks are banned in the City of Overland Park. At the risk of sounding like a New Year’s Grinch, the sale, possession and discharge of fireworks, by anyone, adult or juvenile, can result in fines ranging from $200 to $500. Yes, this includes sparklers, snakes, and the smallest of firecrackers.

Another type of call the officers may receive is the sound of “shots fired”. In most cases this ends up being fireworks calls that are mistaken as gun fire. But if you are tempted to replace the celebration sounds of fireworks with that of gun fire, remember, what goes up, must come down.

It might seem harmless to shoot up in the air for the sole purpose of making noise, but it is illegal, not to mention extremely dangerous. Before you decide to celebrate in this way, please remember the tragedy that occurred in Kansas City, Missouri this past 4th of July when 11-year-old Blair Lane was killed by stray gunfire. The gun was fired by someone who intended no harm and only wanted to celebrate the holiday.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Time To Give Thanks

This is the season of giving. A sincere offer of appreciation is one of the greatest gifts of all. “Thank you” is exactly what one group of citizens wanted the officers to hear. We received the poster sized thank you card you see pictured here. I am proud of the Overland Park police officers and civilian employees. Receiving cards like this one is a reminder of why we do this job.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Knock-Knock, Whose There?

A knock at the door could be a sales person, delivery person, neighbor, friend, or visitor. Or, as one resident learned recently, it could be a burglar. She was taking advantage of what started out as a quiet morning to sleep in when she woke up to the sound of someone knocking on her door. When she did not answer the door, a would be burglar tried to break in through a rear door. She made a quick call to 911 as the burglars ran off. Patrol officers were able to snatch up the two juvenile burglars within a few minutes of receiving the call. With a little investigative work, officers and detectives were able to clear other open burglary cases.

Burglars are typically opportunists. They often choose to avoid confrontation, which is why most residential burglaries are reported during normal daytime working hours when most people are not home.

A common tactic they use is to knock on a door to see if anyone is home. If someone answers, they try to provide some excuse for knocking and then leave without much of an explanation. However, when there is no answer to their knocking, they assume no one is home. This is their opportunity to break in and help themselves to your belongings.

Crime prevention is about taking away the opportunity. When someone knocks, you don’t have to open the door, but letting them know you are there tells a potential burglar the home is not empty.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A New Twist On An Old Scam

Unfortunately, telephone scams that prey upon the elderly are not something new. However, I recently received information regarding an elderly female who was contacted in just this manner, but with a new twist.

In this case, the elderly female was called by someone who identified himself as a police officer. The caller told her that her grandson was arrested and required a $3000 bond to be posted for his release. She was told the bond needed to be paid by way of a wire transfer. Thankfully, she became suspicious and decided to verify the callers request before acting on it. She found out her grandson was not in custody of any kind and was safe at home.

In Overland Park, bonds must be paid in person. They cannot be paid by wire transfer or phone. If you suspect a call is suspicious, contact your local police department. They will be able to help you verify the correct agency and bonding procedures for your situation.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Safe Is All That Really Matters

I know there are probably a lot of unanswered questions regarding Aisha Khan. The most important fact for us all to remember is that she is safe. Everything else is now a personal family matter and we respect their privacy. Law enforcement officials were able to find, identify, and verify last night that she was not abducted and that no crime occurred. I want to thank everyone who dedicated their time and effort to this case. In the end, one that was missing has now been found.

‘Tis the Season…

The holiday season is a time of celebration and often brings families closer together. For some it can be a season of great expectations, and many individuals find themselves feeling they are not meeting those expectations.

Every year the police department responds to calls for service during the holidays which are not so merry. The stress of the holiday season can be the precursor for domestic situations as well as mental health calls for service. While buying gifts, making meals, and decorating are all important aspects of the holiday season, showing your love and support to those around you is the most important of all holiday considerations.

Taking the time out of our busy schedules to talk with our loved ones and neighbors might make more of a difference than you realize. If you feel they may be in a time of need, please don’t hesitate to call for assistance. Remember, a smile is contagious and might just brighten someone’s day who really needs it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

39 Years of Law Enforcement Experience Draws to a Close

There are few officers who can boast of 39 years of experience and even fewer that can say they have personally assisted in training the majority of the new officers in the area. These are two of Detective Denis Plumly’s bragging rights. Even though he is retiring today, his influence will be evident in the many officers he helped train.

Denis began his career in law enforcement with the Overland Park Police Department in June of 1972, as a patrol officer. From there he went on to work in the Traffic Unit, Investigations Division, and Professional Standards Unit. Denis’ experiences throughout his career and his personality made him a perfect fit for his last assignment as an instructor at the Johnson County Regional Police Academy.

To say Detective Denis Plumly has made an impression on many lives would likely be an understatement. Denis displayed the utmost professionalism. He has understanding when dealing with the public, his co-workers, and new officers. He dedicated his time and effort to passing on his knowledge to the new faces that will carry on in law enforcement.

The citizens and police officers in Overland Park wish Denis the best.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!

No, the sky really isn’t falling. But on Monday, December 19th, there was a street light that nearly fell into the roadway at I-435 Highway and Quivira Road. Around 7:30 pm the light was struck by a bus, damaging the pole. Repairs to the light necessitated closing the northbound and southbound lanes of Quivira over I-435 Highway to all traffic. The roadway was reopened about three hours later.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Missing Person Alert

The case of Aisha Khan is currently classified as a missing person; however, we are using our resources and partnerships in the possibility that this could be an abduction.

On Friday, December 16th, Overland Park police officers responded to a call from KU Edwards Campus officials regarding Ms. Khan. Responding officers learned Ms. Khan is a Johnson County Community College student who is taking classes at the KU campus as part of a cooperative agreement between the two education centers. Her sister reported that she had received a voicemail from Ms. Khan shortly after 11a.m. In her voicemail message, Ms. Khan mentioned an individual had been bothering her. When Ms. Khan’s sister arrived to pick her up, she was no longer there but her belongings were found where she had likely been studying.

We currently have ten detectives assigned to this case, as well as more than 50 officers. We have utilized our Mounted Search and Rescue Unit, which includes civilian volunteers on horseback. We also requested assistance from the FBI, Olathe police department, and the law enforcement agencies of KU and Johnson County Community College.

As our investigation continues, we are following up on various leads, including interviews with family members, friends, KU students and staff members, and construction workers who were working nearby.

Ms. Khan was last seen wearing a yellow and black shirt, black sweat pants, black scarf, black regular length jacket, and a black and white long outer coat.

She is 5’2”, 120 pounds, has dark brown hair, brown eyes, and sometimes wears glasses.

I am asking anyone who may have seen Ms. Khan or anything suspicious on the date in question to contact the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS or 913-344-8703.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lt. Colonel Jack Cauley Retires, But His Successful Career Continues...

When you think of someone who will be retiring from work, you might picture someone who is kicked back and relaxed with one of the few challenges in life being what to do with their day. This will not be the case for Lieutenant Colonel Jack Cauley who retires from the Overland Park Police Department Monday.

Jack began his law enforcement career in 1984 as a Police Dispatcher with the Lenexa Police Department. After just a year of answering emergency phone calls and dispatching officers, he knew he wanted to be in the middle and helping those in need. In 1985 he became a Prairie Village Police Officer and served with this agency until 1986 at which time he was hired by the Overland Park Police Department.

In the 25 years Jack has worked for the Overland Park Police Department, he has worked his way through the ranks from a Patrol Officer to his present position as Lieutenant Colonel. His duties ranged from taking patrol calls, training new officers, working in investigations, and various other supervisory positions including the head of each bureau within the Department.

His outstanding performance in each role with the Overland Park Police Department leaves me confident he will have continued success with his next position as the Chief of Police for the Castle Rock Police Department in Colorado.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

If I Were a Thief...

During the month of December, the Patrol Division, under the direction of Sgt. Houlahan, has begun an initiative to help deter auto burglaries in locations such as apartment complexes, health clubs, shopping centers, and many others.

Officers will look inside each vehicle to see if there are any items of value that can be seen from outside the vehicle that could be an easy target for theft. Some examples of what they will be looking for are wallets, purses, electronic items, and laptops. During the holiday season, shopping bags with gifts are also items that are attractive to thieves.

If the Officer sees nothing that would attract a thief, they would then place a placard on the windshield thanking the owner for making their vehicle uninviting to thieves. If there are items of value observed from outside the vehicle, they will then make a note of that specific item on the placard. Each placard contains valuable information and statistics to help someone not become the next victim.

Auto burglaries do occur in Overland Park, whether you are at home, shopping, or even at the office. Last year, there were more than a thousand auto burglaries with property loss valued at over $775,000. Many of these vehicles were left unlocked, making them targets for thieves looking for easy access.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

True or False Alarm

Do you remember the old childhood story about the boy who cried wolf? This is a story that sometimes comes to mind when we talk about residential and business alarms. Last year Overland Park Police Officers responded to approximately 5300 alarm calls. More than 95% of these alarms were false alarms.

False alarms can be caused by a variety of reasons. Pets can set off motion detectors, visitors can enter the wrong code, employees have the wrong security word or code, and the list can go on. With an alarm call having the potential to tie up two officers or more for more than 30 minutes; it is imperative that the system works properly. Just as important is knowing how to use that system. Make sure anyone who will be using the system has the proper codes or contacts.

False alarms do have consequences. The City allows for 2 false alarm occurrences a year with no penalties. Each occurrence after that carries a fine. Fines can range from $50 to $250. Alarms can be beneficial, but making sure the system is properly designed for your needs may prevent a false alarm.

A permit is required for all alarms within the City. You may apply for a permit at The permit fee is $10.00.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unexpected Visitors Can Be So Annoying

For most people, Sundays are fairly quiet. This was not the case for one Overland Park resident on the morning of December 11, 2011. Around 10:00 a.m., her morning was interrupted when the driver of a pick-up truck drove through the front of her home.

Officers arrived on scene to find the pick-up truck had smashed through the front of the home and the driver still in the truck. Thankfully, no one was injured in the incident. Officers conducted their investigation and determined the crash was the result of driving under the influence of drugs.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Finders Keepers?

In today’s tight economic times, it might be tempting to keep money that is found on the street. However, one good Samaritan resisted the temptation recently. While on a trip to the Nuts and Bolts store located at 9628 Nall, our good Samaritan found some money in the parking lot. When he was unable to find the owner himself, he turned the money over to an officer.

In cases such as these, the Police Department holds the money for 90 days. If the rightful owner is located in those 90 days, the money is returned. If we are unable to locate the rightful owner, the money can be released to the finder.

The goal now is to find the rightful owner. If you have any information regarding the rightful owner, please contact the Police Department.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Did You Notice Anything Suspicious?

Yesterday evening Officers responded with the Fire Department to a fire call in the 7700 block of Metcalf Ave. The fire was already out upon the arrival of first responders. After some initial investigation, it was obvious to officials that the fire was intentionally started.

An unidentified person entered the men’s restroom at the convenience store and set some paper products on fire. There was damage to a wall along and some smoke damage, but the potential for serious damage was obvious. No injuries were reported.

The time frame in which this occurred was very short. A mere five minutes between 7:15 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. was all it took. The Police Department and the Fire Department are conducting a joint investigation. There is no surveillance video or photos available at this time.

If you were in this area around these times and observed someone acting suspicious, please call us at 913-344-8750, or the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One, Two, Three, Felony

A number of years ago the State of Kansas made some changes to the theft statute that people may not be aware of. The changes made it possible to charge suspects with felony theft if they steal from three separate mercantile establishments in a 72-hour time period, regardless of the amount of loss. Also, a theft following two previous convictions can be charged as a felony under the revised statute. Again, this is regardless of the amount of loss. These changes were intended to help combat shoplifting.

We recently had an example of this. On December 6, 2011 four females were taken into custody for suspicion of theft at a popular Overland Park shopping destination. As officers investigated, they developed probable cause to believe the four took items from more than three stores within a 72-hour period.

The four women, all aged 18 or 19, were arrested and transported to the Johnson County Jail to await formal charges.

This case is a good example of the effort our officers put forth to implement the statute changes and actively prosecute shoplifting cases.

Kansas Theft Statute

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Crashing Through the Snow

Whether you’re going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house or just commuting to work, snowy streets demand caution and a much lighter foot on the accelerator. The first snow of the season arrived this morning and traffic accidents quickly followed.

As you can imagine, the call load on snowy days increases substantially. If you are involved in an accident and there are no signs of injuries or intoxication and the cars are drivable, you have the option of exchanging information with all involved drivers and responding at a more convenient time to one of the police stations. Drivers have this option not only during inclement weather but during normal weather conditions as well.

The best advice is to do what you can to avoid being involved in an accident. Slow down during hazardous weather conditions and allow additional time to get to your destination. From 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. this morning we took approximately 55 accident reports.

If you are involved in a non-injury accident where intoxication does not appear to be a factor and the cars are drivable, remember you have the option to exchange information and file a report later. During inclement weather this may be your most efficient option. If you choose to wait for an officer to respond, keep in mind that emergency calls, including accidents with injuries and/or disabled vehicles, will be handled first. Please be patient.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Getting to Know the Department

Criminal Investigations Division Special Victims Unit

On February 1, 2010, the Special Victims Unit was created within the Criminal Investigations Division. SVU currently investigates the following crime types; Sex Crimes, Child Abuse, Online Child Sexual Exploitation, Elder Abuse, Juvenile Runaways, Prostitution and Human Trafficking. SVU consists of one Sergeant, seven detectives, and one Crime Analyst.

The community within the City of Overland Park, Kansas is not immune to the ills which plague our society today. A quote from the 18th Annual Crimes Against Children Conference exemplifies what our nation is facing today; “Computers and the Internet have made access to our children a child predator’s dream, and as such brings greater responsibility to the adults who seek to guide and protect them.” The Cyber Crimes Unit within SVU consists of two detectives who specifically investigate online Child Sexual Exploitation cases by proactively targeting persons in our community who victimize our innocent population of children. Computer Forensic Previews are conducted to assist in the determination of whether or not an extensive computer analysis needs to be completed at the Heart of America Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory. The Cyber Crimes Unit serves as an affiliate member of the Kansas Internet Crimes Against Children’s Task Force. One of the Detectives serves as a member of the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force greatly enhancing our ability to seek federal prosecution and penalties.

Our three traditional SVU detectives investigate Sex Crimes, Child/Elder Abuse and Juvenile Runaways. The SVU works collaboratively with the Johnson County Sexual Assault Response Team, Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, Sunflower House (Child Advocacy Center) and many other community organizations to offer the best resources for investigation, prosecution and victim advocacy. It should be noted, research into Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking has shown that habitual runaways, throwaways, orphaned and homeless teens are at a higher risk factor for commercial sexual exploitation. Therefore, detectives look into a runaway’s past criminal history, contacts with police and SRS reports to assist in providing services to prevent future runaway occurrences.

Our two Vice Unit detectives proactively target prostitution related crimes, Human Trafficking investigations as well as conduct background checks on Massage Therapy Establishments and Therapists. Vice Sting operations are conducted regularly as well as investigations into massage therapy violations. One Detective serves as a member of the FBI Innocence Lost Task Force which is aimed at addressing the growing problem of domestic sex trafficking of children in the United States. The Sergeant of this group also serves as a member on the Kansas Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force Advisory Board.

Our Crime Analyst wears many different hats within SVU. She reviews all Internet Crime Complaint Center reports sent by the National White Collar Crime Center involving online fraud. Any complaints involving a crime within Overland Park’s jurisdiction are documented in a police report and forwarded to the Financial Crimes Unit for investigation. Our Analyst serves as the online researcher for the prostitution related advertisements as well as conducts analytical and background research on suspects of online child sexual exploitation initiated by Cyber Crimes detectives. In addition, she serves as a Cellebrite Power User which is a forensic tool utilized to download evidence from cellular telephones.