Wednesday, February 29, 2012

High Visibility Traffic Enforcement Today

The Overland Park Police Department's Traffic Safety Unit will conduct High Visibility Traffic Enforcement on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, and will focus on US69 Highway from 119th Street to 87th Street.

Officers will enforce all traffic violations, but will be paying particular attention to those violations related to aggressive driving, red light violations and speeding.

This particular stretch of US69 Highway is currently labeled as a construction zone because of the ongoing work being done to improve the roadway. KDOT has advised they are still working in that area and need to shut down lanes on an “as needed” basis. Construction along that corridor will continue into 2013 as they work on the section between I-435 Highway and W. 119th Street.

Allow yourself a little extra drive time in these areas and some additional space between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Alert: Demolition Set for Quivira Rd & I-435 Interchange Bridges

Starting tomorrow at 9:00 am, work will begin to prepare for the demolition of the I-435 and Quivira Interchange bridges.

According to KDOT, All northbound lanes will be shifted to the southbound side of the road for bridge reconstruction work beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 29. (US-69 & I-435 Red Project) Project work is scheduled to be completed in early July 2012.

Expect to see major delays as Quivira Road to eastbound I-435 ramp will be closed beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 29. A marked detour will be provided during the ramp closure. Traffic will detour south on Quivira Road, then east on College Boulevard to northbound US-69, then back to eastbound I-435.

Advance message boards will alert drivers to the ramp closure. Drivers should expect delays and allow extra time for their commutes during the ramp closure. As well, drivers must use alternate routes during the duration of the ramp closure.

Weather permitting, beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, all eastbound and westbound lanes of I-435 from I-35 to US-69 will be closed to traffic, along with numerous ramp closures, for the demolition of two of the three Quivira Road over I-435 interchange bridges in Overland Park. The Quivira Road bridges will be demolished via implosion at approximately 10:00 p.m. that evening. The existing bridges will collapse onto a bed of dirt so as to cushion the fall onto the existing I-435 roadway. Crews will then spend the remainder of the overnight closure removing the imploded bridge debris and cleaning up the I-435 roadway. Construction for the new bridges will take place during the 2012 construction season.

Note: All lanes of Quivira Road over I-435 will be closed for a short time during the demolition of the bridges for approximately 40 minutes.

Planned improvements for the I-435 & US-69 Red Project will add auxiliary lanes to I-435 between US-69 and Quivira Road. These improvements will help address congestion at the I-435 and US-69 interchange. Updated daily traffic information for this project can be viewed online at:

The Kansas Department of Transportation urges all motorists to be alert, obey the warning signs, and “Give ‘Em a Brake!” when approaching and driving through the project work zone. For more information on this improvement project, please contact Kimberly Qualls, Northeast Kansas Public Affairs Manager, at (785) 640-9340 or Howard Lubliner, Field Engineering Administrator, at (913) 764-0987.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Road Rage Incidents

We’ve noticed a slight increase in the number of road rage incidents being reported to the police department. Normally during a long and gloomy winter where there are a lot more cloudy days than sunny ones, the number of incidents occasionally rises.
Since we’ve been enjoying a warmer-than-normal winter season, the rise in the number of road rage occurrences during this time is somewhat hard to explain.

The World Wide Web is full of sad stories of road rage incidents that have turned deadly after one of the antagonists pulls out a weapon. There are even a few websites dedicated as places where you can go and vent your road rage experiences.

The Overland Park Police department is committed to the task of reducing aggressive driving that can eventually lead to road rage incidents. Aggressive driving can come in the form of speeding, improper or unsafe lane changes, failure to signal movement, following too closely, and running red lights or stop signs. Aggressive drivers can also be seen expressing frustration, cursing at others, or displaying rude hand gestures.

There are some things to do to lessen the chance of being involved in a road rage incident. The first thing to consider when being confronted by an aggressive driver is to simply get out of their way and let them pass. Avoid counter-measures such as blocking their way or speeding up so they can’t pass you. Try not to make eye contact with the other driver or make any gestures towards them that will only make matters worse.

The most important thing to remember is to keep your cool, avoid confrontation, and get to your destination safely.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cop and Robbers: The Game

Over the weekend, our 911 dispatch center received a frantic call from a subject who heard some yelling outside. When he stepped out on his patio to see what was going on, he saw two vehicles sitting in an adjacent parking lot and observed a subject running towards a nearby creek. He then heard someone yelling “I have a gun, stop or I’ll shoot” and something about being a “drug dealer”.

As you can imagine this alarmed the witness and certainly got the attention of the officers who were on duty that evening.

When officers arrived on scene, they located two occupied vehicles sitting behind an area business. Since the information we received from the caller indicated there was possibly a weapon involved, the officers conducted a high risk car stop on these two vehicles and the subjects inside.

Each occupant was ordered at gunpoint to exit the vehicle and walk back towards the officers. This was done to protect the officers and maintain control of the scene. The subjects were then handcuffed and interviewed individually regarding the incident.

The story was finally sorted out as several young adults admitted they were just playing a fun game of cops and robbers and no weapons or drugs were involved.

Our advice to them was to conduct this type of game in an area where the general public wouldn’t overhear or see anything of a suspicious nature. Otherwise, they could be staring down the barrel of a real police weapon again, if they’re not careful.

Another common problem we face is individuals who carry air-soft weapons that are replicas of real guns. A small orange tip on the barrel of the air soft gun is the only distinguishing difference. Unfortunately, some people will paint over the tips to disguise the air soft guns even further. This has caused alarm to citizens who assumed the guns were real. Sometimes even law enforcement cannot immediately tell the difference which could have serious consequences.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

High Visibility Traffic Enforcement on Thursday February 23rd, 2012

The Traffic Safety Unit will be conducting a High Visibility Traffic Enforcement Event on Interstate 435 on Thursday, February 23, 2012. The event will start at 7:30 am and end around 11:30 am.

7:30 am to 9:30 am
I-435 & Antioch Road (Antioch Enforcement)
I-435 & Quivira Road (Quivira Enforcement)

10:00 am to 11:30 am
Interstate I-435 (Eastbound & Westbound Lanes) Enforcement

All traffic violations will be enforced, but an emphasis will be placed on Aggressive driving, Red Light violations and Speeding.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Help to Identify Auto Burglary Suspect

On February 4th, 2012, officers responded to the 8100 block of Marty in reference to an auto burglary report. The victim was inside the health club working out when a white male suspect entered the locker room and took keys to the victim’s vehicle from their unsecured locker. Once outside, the suspect was able to locate the victim’s vehicle and gained access using the key fob.

The suspect removed a Kindle electronic reader and a movie from inside the vehicle. He then went back inside the facility and places the victim’s keys back in the original locker.

Video surveillance cameras positioned outside were able to capture images of the suspect as he committed the crime. He is described as a white male, with brown hair, wearing a dark blue coat and blue jeans.

Anyone who believes they know the identity of the individual below is asked to call the Overland Park Police at 913-344-8750 or the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting to Know the Department: OPPD K-9 Unit

The Overland Park Police Department’s K-9 unit was established in 1989, by Detective Bob Valencia and his K-9 partner Blitz. Today, the unit consists of three K-9 teams: Officer Cory Flaming and K-9 Weaver, Officer Justin Doherty and K-9 Deuce, and Officer Ben Hardin and K-9 Cezar. Officer Cory Flaming serves as the trainer of the unit, and Sergeant Roger Pesek is the supervisor.

K-9 Weaver started in July 2011 and is the newest member of the unit. He is a Belgian Malinois from the Netherlands. K-9 Deuce is a Belgian Malinois from France and has served for more than seven years. K-9 Cezar is a German Shepherd from Slovakia, and has served for over five years.

All three K-9’s are considered “dual-purpose,” as they have two main areas of focus and use. The first area is for patrol and tactical responses. These types of responses may include: searching buildings and open areas, tracking, and apprehending suspects. The K-9’s are also trained to protect their handler. The second area of focus is detection. K-9 Weaver is trained for explosives detection, while K-9’s Deuce and Cezar are trained for narcotics detection.

In 2011, the K-9 teams were called for patrol or tactical response more than 90 times. K-9’s Deuce and Cezar searched more than 210 vehicles/buildings, resulting in more than 100 narcotics finds. K-9 Weaver searched nearly 290 vehicles/buildings, resulting in three explosives finds.

In addition to serving the City of Overland Park, the K-9 teams responded to assist surrounding cities on 25 occasions in 2011.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vice Sting Results in 15 Arrests over the Weekend

The Overland Park Police Department Vice Unit is continuing to combat all forms of prostitution within the city. This past weekend, they conducted a prostitution sting which resulted in the arrests of 15 people who were charged with either prostitution, patronizing a prostitute, or promoting prostitution.

The Overland Park Police Department will continue to confront vice activity in its hotels, motels and apartment communities. We want to get the message out that you’re taking an increased risk if you come to Overland Park to conduct this type of activity.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Results of the Driver Awareness Campaign on February 14th, 2012

Listed below are statistics related to the Driver Awareness Campaign conducted by the Overland Park, Kansas Police Department on Tuesday, February 14, 2012. The event was conducted during a (6) hour period at various locations in our city. Most of the locations worked were High Accident Locations and Traffic Complaint Areas.

139 - Traffic Tickets
111 - Vehicles Stopped
11 - Driver Awareness Warnings
3 - Drug arrests
2 - Warrant arrests

The next High Visibility Traffic Enforcement date is scheduled to take place on Thursday, February 23, 2012. The primary goals of the monthly enforcement initiatives are to reduce accidents in these locations and to get drivers and passengers to buckle up.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Increase in the Number of Teen Driver Deaths

Today a study was released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) which revealed alarming statistic among 16 and 17 year-old drivers in the United States. Their survey of all 50 states and the District of Columbia indicated that driver deaths of teens in this age range increased from 190 to 211 - an 11% increase - during the first six months of 2011. If the current trend remains for the second half of 2011, it will mark the end of eight straight years of declining deaths for people in this age category.

The GHSA felt a lot of the increase may be contributed to the state Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws which have been in place for some time now, but their initial effect has leveled off slightly. The recovering economy also seems to be a contributing factor as more and more young people are getting their licenses and getting behind the wheel.

The study went on to say that there were 23 states which showed an increase in the number of fatalities, while 19 of them showed to have a decrease. The state of Kansas was one of those with a decrease during this six month period.

As a police department, our goal is to reduce the number of injury and fatality accidents across all age groups. The study released by the GHSA is certainly alarming for our teenaged drivers across the country, but we're encouraged by the steps the state of Kansas and the Overland Park Police Department have taken to make sure we do everything necessary to keep these numbers as low as possible.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Runaways in Kansas

Each year we take hundreds of reports on juveniles who’ve run away from their homes for various reasons. As law enforcement, our goal is to bring these children back home. As runaways, they are at a greater risk of becoming involved with prostitution, alcohol and drug abuse.

In Kansas, a runaway is defined as someone who is under the age of eighteen and leaves the home without the permission of the child’s parents or legal guardians.

When the police department is notified that a child has left home, an officer will gather pertinent information from the child’s parents or guardians. This includes things such as obtaining the names of their friends, looking at their social networking profiles and email accounts. They will also request a recent picture of the child.

The officer will then complete a report and enter the runaway juvenile into the National Crime Information Center database (NCIC). Entering the juvenile in NCIC allows any officer who has contact with the child to take them into custody and return them to their parents or legal guardian.

Sometimes we face obstacles which make finding and returning a runaway to their home a little more difficult. Whether by good intentions or otherwise, anyone who knowingly harbors or aides a runaway is guilty of Contributing to a Child’s Misconduct as defined below:

Kansas Statute 21-3612: Contributing to a child's misconduct or deprivation.

(a) Contributing to a child's misconduct or deprivation is:

(1) Causing or encouraging a child under 18 years of age to become or remain a child in need of care as defined by the revised Kansas code for care of children;
(3) failure to reveal, upon inquiry by a uniformed or properly identified law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of such officer's duty, any information one has regarding a runaway, with intent to aid the runaway in avoiding detection or apprehension;
(4) sheltering or concealing a runaway with intent to aid the runaway in avoiding detection or apprehension by law enforcement officers;
(c) As used in this section, "runaway" means a child under 18 years of age who is willfully and voluntarily absent from:
(1) The child's home without the consent of the child's parent or other custodian; or
(2) a court ordered or designated placement, or a placement pursuant to court order, if the absence is without the consent of the person with whom the child is placed or, if the child is placed in a facility, without the consent of the person in charge of such facility or such person's designee.

The Overland Park Police Department wants to discourage any person from assisting and / or exploiting juveniles in these situations, but instead asks the public to help by reporting sightings of missing / runaway / exploited children.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Driver Awareness Campaign

The Overland Park Police Department's Traffic Safety Unit will be conducting a Driver Awareness Campaign on Tuesday February 14, from the hours of 7:00 am until 5:00 pm.

Officers will be working High Accident Locations and Traffic Complaint Areas throughout the city. They will be enforcing all traffic violations, but will be paying particular attention to those violations likely to result in a motor vehicle crash.

Top Accident Locations as of 12/31/2011.

I435 Hwy/Metcalf
I435 Hwy/Quivira Rd
135th St/US69 Hwy
College Blvd/US69 Hwy
I435 Hwy/US69 Hwy
95th St/US69 Hwy
I435 Hwy/Antioch Rd
I435 Hwy/Nall Ave
I435 Hwy/Roe Ave
119th St/US69 Hwy
151st St/US69 Hwy
75th St/Metcalf Ave
75th St/I35 Hwy
College Blvd/Quivira Rd
119th St/Metcalf Ave
College Blvd/Metcalf Ave
106th St/Quivira Rd
135th St/Hemlock St
95th St/Metcalf Ave
103rd St/US69 Hwy

Monday, February 13, 2012

Help Identify Retail Theft Ring

Our Investigations Division has released the attached photos of three people they would like to identify from a recent theft case. Suspects stole numerous electronic items valued at over $7000, from an Overland Park Best Buy store on January 18th.

There are three suspects shown in the photos below, but five are actually involved in the thefts. Two of the suspects remove the product from the shelves, another suspect then removes the sensors, and then one will carry the items out of the store while another suspect distract the employees.

These types of cases are difficult in nature because they are so organized and that is why we are asking for the public’s help.

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

Friday, February 10, 2012

How to Reduce Motor Vehicle Accidents

Did you know one out of every four drivers will be involved in a motor vehicle accident in their lifetime? Did you also know the odds of being injured in a motor vehicle accident are 1 in 1000?

Here are some common sense tips to reduce your chances of becoming a motor vehicle accident statistic:

1. Always obey the speed limit.
2. Slow down in inclement weather.
3. Avoid driving when you're tired.
4. Check blind spots before changing lanes.
5. Maintain a safe distance.
6. Keep your eyes on the road. Don't be distracted.
7. Don't drink and drive.
8. Periodically check your tires for wear. Don't delay replacing worn tires.
9. Look both ways before entering an intersection.
10. Make proper use of your turn signals.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

“Dad, Can I Have the Car Keys Please?”

People put much emphasis on making sure their teen drivers are fully prepared for the responsibility of driving a car alone. Can they multi-task? Can they remember the laws? Can they remember where they are going and how to get back home? These are all questions that come to mind as the parent of a teenage driver….but, how much consideration goes into whether or not your elder family members should be driving?

Every month Overland Park Police Officers respond to calls assisting elderly drivers. The old joke of the white haired, little old lady driving down the freeway with her blinker on, blocking traffic is not exactly what I am referring to. While we often see slower drivers who are elderly and speed by rolling our eyes thinking, “Someone needs to take away their license,” it’s not that easy. Kansas currently has no law on the books that mandates when an elderly driver is “too old” to drive or when a driver’s test is needed.

Most often, officers respond to assist an elderly driver who is confused or cannot remember how to get back home, rather than the call of someone driving too slowly with their turn signal on. This can be a very frightening experience for the driver, as well as embarrassing. Family members often respond to the scene and state they were aware the driver has recently had issues with their mental awareness, but they are not sure what they can do.

If you have a loved one who is starting to have difficulty or you feel their mental alertness is diminishing, take a ride with them. Have them drive you somewhere they routinely go. Check their ability to respond to stimulus while they are driving, how easily they remember the route, or even why they were going to a certain location. But, don’t be in a rush to take away the keys. Taking away someone’s ability to drive is not something to be taken lightly. They will have to depend on others to get to the grocery store, the doctor, church, and social gatherings. This can be a very devastating experience and should be approached with sensitivity.

If you feel someone you care about is starting to have difficulty with the task of driving alone, you can write a letter to the Kansas Department of Revenue stating why you feel this person’s driving privileges should be revoked. Family, friends, doctors, and police officers are tasked with making sure elderly drivers are up to the task, and should take this matter very seriously.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is Your Gas Tank Unusually Low?

When you think of people stealing gas, you immediately picture someone with a plastic hose siphoning gas from the tank. However, it seems that is the old-fashioned method if four incidents in Overland Park last week are any indication.

In each case, the suspect will drill a hole in the tank and drain the gas into a bucket. What used to be merely a theft now involves a criminal damage to property charge (CDP), as well.

When the vehicle owner comes out to their car, they either smell strong gas fumes, or notice that they have little or no gas remaining after just filling it up.

In one report, the suspect was actually confronted by an alert neighbor who called police and scared the thief away – bucket and all. The witness told police the suspect was a white male in his early 20’s, wearing all dark clothing. The suspect was seen driving a red four door vehicle that was missing all four hubcaps.

A joint effort between Overland Park Police and the Olathe Police Department resulted in a possible suspect being identified. Detectives are still gathering information and the investigation is on-going.

Please keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles and people in parking lots, especially apartment complexes during the overnight hours. If you have any information regarding this case, please call the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Global Internet Safety Awareness Day

The other day my Public Information Officer (PIO) was surfing the World Wide Web and came across a website which proclaimed Tuesday, February 7th, as Safer Internet Day. The goal of this organization is to stress the importance of safety and security on the internet.

Safer Internet Day (SID) is organized by Insafe, and is recognized in February of each year to “promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world.”

Here locally, The Overland Park Police Department has been proactive through the years in its efforts to promote online safety of our young people. During the school year, our School Resource Officers (SRO’s) educate both kids and their parents on the dangers of the internet and offer ways to protect themselves.

Take a moment today and check out the links below for more information about Safer Internet Day. Each of them offers suggestions to protect you and your loved ones from the dangers of on-line predators.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Need to Leave a Tip?

Since we started writing this blog back in June of 2010, we’ve often submitted posts asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects of various crimes. At the end of each blog, you'll usually see something similar to the following:

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

Since we obviously rely on the public for a lot of the TIPS we receive, we thought it was fitting to give you a little more detail about the TIPS HOTLINE and how it operates.

The TIPS HOTLINE is part of the Crime Stoppers network, and the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers 816-474-TIPS Hotline, was founded in 1982. Since its inception, the TIPS HOTLINE has, on average, solved four felony cases each and every day.

The TIPS HOTLINE is funded completely by private donations and fundraising events. It is run by a non-profit corporation and not the police department. A forty member volunteer board of directors oversees the program.

Callers to the TIPS HOTLINE remain completely anonymous. There is no caller ID, and they will never have to speak to police directly or testify in court. When someone calls in with a potential tip, they are given a code number which is specific to that case and phone call.

It is the responsibility of the caller to keep checking back on the status of their tip. Once a felony arrest is made in a case, the board will review and approve all reward money. The caller will be then directed to respond to a local bank where the money is sent out anonymously after supplying the right code.

Friday, February 3, 2012

DUI Saturation Patrol Tonight

The Overland Park, Kansas Police Department is conducting a DUI Saturation Patrol on Friday, February 3rd, 2012. It is the police department’s goal to reduce alcohol related auto accidents and discourage impaired driving within its community.

The DUI Saturation Patrol will begin at 10:00 PM, and the enforcement will not end until 2:00 AM. The Traffic Safety Unit will hold a briefing at the Myron Scafe Building, 8500 Antioch, Overland Park, KS, prior to initiating the enforcement.

Drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs pose a significant threat to the motoring public. Each year, thousands of motorists are killed in this country as a result of an impaired driver. Removing impaired drivers from our roadways is a top priority of this department.

The officers assigned to the Saturation Patrols have significant experience in DUI apprehension. The patrols will also include officers specially trained as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). An officer certified as a DRE has received extensive training in identifying a driver who is under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs.

To report an impaired driver in Overland Park, call Police Dispatch at 895-6300 or 911.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

We Need Your Help to Find Molly

At approximately 9:30 P.M. last night, Overland Park Police began looking for a missing person. The family of Molly Jones reported her missing from the area of 83rd Street of Farley.

Molly suffers from medical conditions that can cause her to become catatonic and unaware of her surroundings. It is believed that Molly is wearing a pink sport shirt and blue jeans. Her hair was up in a pony tail, but when down, it is shoulder length. Molly left on foot, so there is no vehicle description. Molly is a white female 5’4, 155 lbs, with red hair, and blue eyes. She left with no purse or phone.

Earlier in the week, Molly disappeared from KU Medical Center and was eventually found a few days later in the area of 40th Street and Booth Avenue.

Below is a recent picture of Molly. Please call the Overland Park Police Department at 913-895-6300 or 911 if you see Molly.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Golden Age is Before Us…

Do you remember the commercial with the elderly female who calls out the plea, “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”? This commercial demonstrates the assistance our aging community might require. Having some recent personal experience in providing care to an elder, I thought I might take a moment to provide you with some resources that may be helpful if you find yourself in the same situation.

If you haven’t experienced it yet, one day you might find yourself in a caretaker position tending to the health and emotional needs of an older loved one. Our aging adults helped build our foundations that would form us into the adults we are today and are the links to our heritage. They may be challenging at times, but I’m certain we were challenging to them at one time too.