Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Traffic Alert for Saturday August 4th, 2012

From KDOT - Beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 4, all lane and ramp closures on I-435 will be in place for demolition work on the last remaining Quivira Road Interchange Bridge, including a full closure of eastbound and westbound I-435 from I-35 to US-69 in Overland Park. All lane and ramp closures will reopen to unrestricted traffic at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, August 5.

Advance message boards will alert traffic to the lane and ramp closures. Drivers should expect MAJOR DELAYS and will need to use alternate routes during the lane and ramp closures. A marked detour will be provided. Westbound I-435 traffic will detour via northbound US-69 to westbound 87th Street to southbound I-35 to westbound I-435. Eastbound I-435 traffic will detour via northbound I-35 to eastbound 87th Street to southbound US-69 to eastbound I-435.

The updated daily traffic information for this project can be viewed online at: www.ksdot.org/kcmetro/laneclose.asp.

KDOT 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. (KDOT Project #K 8251-08)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Results of 3-Day Aggressive Motorcyclist Campaign

On July 12th we posted information regarding an enforcement campaign focusing on aggressive motorcyclists. This special traffic initiative was a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to take enforcement action on motorcyclists who operate their motorcycles in an unsafe manner.

Four Traffic Safety officers and a supervisor participated in this year’s campaign which was held on three different dates. The first two occurred on July 11th and 13th from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. and the last day was on July 28th from noon until 6:00 p.m.

Although the focus was on aggressive motorcycle riding, officers also targeted aggressive driving by motorists.

During the three day period, officers wrote 10 citations to motorcycle operators, and issued another 136 to vehicle operators, including 14 for failing to wear their seatbelts.

In 2011, 29 accidents involving motorcycles occurred on our roadways, of which 21 were injury accidents. Nationwide, there were an estimated 4,500 motorcycle fatalities in 2011.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Traffic Initiatives Continue to Show Positive Results

In follow up to a previous blog I posted on June 11th 2012, the Overland Park Police Department continues to see a decrease in vehicle accident reports. Previously the total accidents and non-injury accidents decreased where injury accidents had increased. I am pleased to announce that from January 1st, 2012 through June 30th, 2012 the total accidents reported, ( non-injury accidents / injury accidents) have decreased as compared to this time last year.

In an effort to continue reducing alcohol related auto accidents, the Overland Park Police Department is conducting a DUI Saturation Patrol on Friday, August 3rd 2012.

The DUI Saturation Patrol will begin at 10:00 PM, and the enforcement will not end until 2:00 AM. Officers will be deployed throughout the city watching for impaired drivers. Drivers who appear to be impaired will be stopped and asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

If You See It Coming...

If you see it coming, time probably seems to stand still while you wait for the impact. No matter how short a time span it is, it may feel like it takes forever. When all motion stops and the crash is over, you may be left wondering, “What just happened and how did my car end up here?” After some recent training, two officers in our Traffic Safety Unit may be able to answer those questions for you.

The last two weeks of June Officer Andy Black and Officer Michelle Koos attended Accident Reconstruction Training at the Kansas Highway Patrol training facility in Salina, Kansas. The training was sponsored by the KHP and put on by the Institute of Police Technology and Management.

Officer Black and Officer Koos join four other reconstruction trained members of the Traffic Safety Unit. This team, through figures such as angles of approach and departure or the rise or fall of an airborne vehicle can determine things like the speed at impact or the location of a vehicle seconds before impact. To calculate these answers they must obtain specifics related to the crash scene like measurements of the scene, final rest of the vehicles and coefficient of friction for the roadway.

When I spoke with Officer Koos about the training she explained reconstruction is about Newton’s Laws of Motion. Algebra, geometry, trigonometry and physics provide answers to many of the questions during their accident investigations. She added, “I wish I would have listened to my geometry teacher, Mr. Heck, when he said, ‘Pay attention, you may need this someday.’”

Here is an example of one of the basic equations they use:

Speed = (2.73*D )/(Cosθ√(±H ±(D*m)))

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Don't Have To Tell You It's Hot Outside

How are you holding up with this heat? It has been rough on everyone it seems. This is true even with police officers and fire personnel. Officers are used to working in all Mother Nature throws at them, but to say this summer has been a challenge might be an understatement. Sometimes the officers get so caught up in helping others that they don’t see the warning signs their own bodies are throwing out.

Within the past few weeks two Overland Park officers have been treated for heat related issues. While many people are coping with the heat by wearing shorts and t-shirts, officers are daily donning their uniforms. Most departments select a dark uniform for their officers. Ours is a dark blue, almost black. In addition to the dark uniform, the officers wear their duty belts and bullet proof vests. If you include the radios they carry and the military style boot most wear, that add a total of about 21 pounds of gear. And in regards to that bullet proof vest, well, let’s just say it doesn’t breathe very well.

I have told the officers to watch out for themselves as much as they are watching out for others during this intense heat. I encourage you to do the same. And look on the bright side, it’s only forecasted to be in the mid 90’s tomorrow and Friday.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Graduation Day

Do you remember your graduation from high school or college? I would guess it was one of your more memorable moments. For those who made up the 103rd graduating class of the Johnson County Regional Police Academy it is no different. On Friday, July 20th, I attended their graduation. I was asked by one of my officers how much the event had changed since I graduated.

To begin with when I attended the training, it was called the Johnson County Police Academy. I was in the second graduating class. At the time the program was 10 weeks long. There was no pre-academy or post-academy as there is today. While today’s academy is likely more structured or disciplined in comparison, the academy in the early stages still did much more than the state of Kansas required. Then officers were required to have at least 180 hours of training to become commissioned, but the Johnson County academy had 400 hours of training. For my class, there was no real graduation “ceremony”.

The program has evolved and is now 16 weeks long. Recruits today are still instructed in the same basics I learned such as law, patrol procedures, investigative procedures and human relations, to name just a few key areas. They must show proficiency in tasks such as firearms, CPR, report writing and emergency vehicle operations. They have 64 hours dedicated to practical problems, and more than 100 hours of fitness, health, defensive tactics and officer safety.

At the end of all this, they now have an actual graduation ceremony. This is complete with awards presentations, a class speaker, a guest speaker and an address by the academy director. They show a video montage full of both good and embarrassing moments - like the officers’ reactions to OC spray. At the end, they are presented with their certificates. Their families and loved ones are invited to be present for the event.

Of the 25 graduating recruits, the City of Overland Park welcomes four new officers. These officers began their post academy training with the city yesterday. A few weeks from now they will actually be placed with Field Training Officers (FTOs) where they will put all their training to use under the watchful eye of an officer who will provide daily evaluations of their performance. The field training program lasts an additional 12 weeks, which they must successfully complete, before they are allowed out on their own.

I am proud to introduce the following four new Overland Park Police Officers.

Officer Joseph "Jay" Ward, badge #1023

Officer Michael Hightower, badge #1024

Officer Nichole Bockover, badge #1025 

Officer Emily Villa, badge #1026

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fleabags Steal Feline Funds

Young and old, male and female, and now we can even add dogs or cats to the potential victims list. It seems thieves steal from man or beast. This past Sunday a group of ne’er-do-wells entered the Purrfect Pets adoption location at Metcalf South Mall and victimized the felines.

Just before 3 pm, three juveniles visited the store and looked at some of the kittens up for adoption. A short time later a female adult entered the store. She spoke briefly with the three juveniles and then all four ran from the store, grabbing two of the donations boxes on their way out.

An observant witness was able to provide a description of the get-away vehicle and a partial tag. Now all that’s left is a little follow-up, which might go faster if you are able to help.

The three juveniles involved were described as black females about 11 to 12 years old. One of the girls wore beads in her hair. The adult black female was described as “large” and in her 30’s. They left in a blue or silver Dodge Caravan. The vehicle displayed a temporary tag with the numbers “7173” in it.

Anyone with information on the identity of these suspects or information on this vehicle is asked to call the Overland Park Police at 913-327-8748.

Purrfect Pets is an adoption center for orphaned, unwanted and relinquished cats and kittens. The donation boxes that were taken help pay for their expenses, to include food, litter, toys, crates, vet care and cleaning supplies for them.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Training for Tragedy

This morning nearly every media outlet I turned on was covering the story about the overnight shooting in Colorado at a movie theater. With the case still under investigation and details still not confirmed, one question seemed to be repeated by each reporter. Why?

The motivating factor behind any crime is a necessary piece of information when we are working towards preventing any reoccurrences. While we may not be able to insure this will never happen again, one thing we, as police officers, can do is prepare for our response to such an event.

A few years ago an old movie theater here in Overland Park was due to be demolished. Prior to the demolition we took the opportunity to train for an active shooter type scenario. Foresight or just a good opportunity to train? It doesn’t really matter how you answer the question. What does matter is any one of the Overland Park Police Officers that attended that training was put into a situation, similar to the one that happened in Aurora, Colorado, where they had to think about their response and plan for the worst possible event.

This week officers are training on civil disturbances. Again, they are working on how to respond to situations that are loud, noisy, and sometimes violent and out of control. The goal is that we train for the worst and hope for the best.

In the grand scheme of things, the answer to “why” will probably never bring any type of closure to the families affected by this tragedy. My thoughts are with them as they deal with the losses of their loved ones.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

DUI Saturation Patrol Friday July 20th

The Overland Park, Kansas Police Department is conducting a DUI Saturation Patrol on Friday, July 20, 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.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Traffic Alert: 103rd at Quivira Rd.

Beginning Tuesday, July 17th, 2012, through Monday, July 23rd, 2012, 103rd Street at Quivira Road will be closed to through traffic during thoroughfare improvements.

Detours will be posted.

Please contact Alan Daniels, City of Overland Park,
at 913-233-9432 with any questions.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Good Samaritans Alive and Well in Overland Park

On July 11th, in the middle of the day, a female was loading groceries into her car after shopping at a local Wal-Mart store. Out of nowhere she was grabbed from behind by an unknown assailant who proceeded to fondle her.

The female, unsure of what this person intended to do with her, took no chances and started screaming for help at the top of her lungs. Also in the parking lot were three people who heard the screams and went to the aid of the female.

Not only did they scare the attacker off, but they were also good witnesses, giving police valuable information and a description of the suspect.

As soon as the lady began screaming and the good Samaritans showed up to help, the suspect left the area in his vehicle. The information provided to police allowed them to identify the suspect and eventually make an arrest.

There are a lot of instances across the country where people have refused to help someone in distress and look the other way, but in this case, we’re proud of these citizens who decided to make a difference.

We would also like to remind people who are faced with the decision to be a good witness or get involved, that your individual safety should always come first in any situation.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fatality Accident at W. 143rd and Quivira Road

17 year-old Nathaniel L. Trinkle of Olathe, Kansas, passed away as a result of a one-car accident that occurred on 7-14-12 on 143rd Street just west of Quivira Road.

According to witnesses, Nathaniel was in the front passenger’s seat hanging out the side window when the vehicle drifted off the side of the roadway striking a tree and a guardrail.

The Amigo was driven by a 17 year-old female, and also contained another 17 year-old female in the back seat. Both females were transported to a nearby hospital with minor injuries.

The Overland Park Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit continues to investigate the accident.

This is the second traffic fatality in the city during 2012. Last year there were a total of five fatalities.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Top Accident Locations for the Second Quarter of 2012

This week, the Crime Analysis Unit published statistics showing the top accident locations in Overland Park for the second quarter of 2012.
If you’re familiar with most of the locations on that list, you’ll know that a good number of those have been under construction for a while now. Also keep in mind that these numbers include all the interchanges associated with each location, especially ones as big as I-435/Metcalf and I-435/Quivira. These larger intersections see a greater volume of traffic on a daily basis.

Statistics have long proven the fact that the number of accidents increase in work zones. That being said, it’s still the responsibility of each driver to remain focused at all times when they get behind the wheel. Many of the crashes in these areas are avoidable, and are generally caused by inattentive driving.

Officers with the Overland Park Police Department will continue to conduct their monthly accident and driver awareness campaigns in an ongoing effort to keep our roadways safe. The special attention given to various locations throughout the city is in hopes of reducing motor vehicle collisions through selective enforcement, education and deterrence.

The picture below shows the breakdown of accidents at I-435 & Quivira. On it you’ll notice how the accidents occurred, the type of accidents and several other factors. The total number of accidents shows to be 69 compared to 61 on the chart above. That’s because the map is pulling in a few more numbers farther out than our Crime Analysts do, but the information is still the same regardless.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Aggressive Motorcyclist Campaign

This month several area police departments, including the Overland Park Police Department, will participate in an enforcement campaign focusing on aggressive motorcyclists. The campaign will allow for additional officers on both sides of the state line to take enforcement action on motorcyclists who operate their motorcycles in an unsafe manner.

Every year the Overland Park Police Department takes numerous complaints from our citizens and the motoring public associated to aggressive motorcycling and noise associated to motorcycles.

In May of 2011, the Overland Park Police Department was granted permission by the City Council to participate in the Law Enforcement Campaign against Aggressive Motorcycle Riding. Officers worked a total of 120 hours, issuing 121 hazardous moving violations.

In 2011, 29 accidents involving motorcycles occurred on our roadways, of which 21 were injury accidents. Nationwide, there were an estimated 4,500 motorcycle fatalities in 2011.

Because of economic reasons, the number of motorcycle riders is expected to increase. Among the growing population of motorcycle drivers are those who drive aggressively, often performing very dangerous “stunts”.

In 2010, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported speeding was a contributing factor in almost 30% of the fatalities reported. This grant, similar to others the Overland Park Police Department has received from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to enforce underage drinking laws, is specific to enforce laws associated to aggressive motorcycling.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Operation Impact Today

Overland Park Officers will be patrolling the major highways today as part of Operation Impact. More than 40 different agencies will be out on the major highways and byways with the goal of making the roadways safer. They will be targeting aggressive driving, seat belt violations and other violations which cause accidents or increase the severity of accidents.

The Mission

To establish a cooperative effort among law enforcement agencies and create an alliance to reduce the number of people injured in accidents and decrease the dollar amount of property loss directly associated to vehicular accidents. The agencies will not only use enforcement techniques to reduce speeding, but also will use the media as a resource to inform the public of the problem, in an effort to gain voluntary compliance to the speeding limits.

Operation Impact History

In December of 1989, six local law enforcement agencies met in Overland Park, Kansas with representatives from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The meeting was called to discuss the speeding problem throughout the United States. It was decided at this meeting that the speeding problem in the metropolitan area of Kansas City needed closer attention; attention on a metropolitan wide basis and scope. The six law enforcement agencies decided to meet again in January of 1990 to develop strategies for attacking this speeding problem. The six agencies participating were: Overland Park Police Department, Kansas City Missouri Police Department, Independence Missouri Police Department, Kansas City Kansas Police Department, and both Kansas and Missouri Highway Patrols.

It was decided at this second meeting that these six agencies would ally themselves together in a common effort to impact speeding in the metropolitan area. The purpose of this alliance was to reduce the number of people injured in accidents and the dollar amount of property loss directly associated to vehicular accidents.

Since its inception in 1989, more than 40 agencies have taken part in the campaign.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cars Vandalized on 7/7/12

At least ten vehicles were “keyed” overnight in the 9100 block of W. 102nd Street. Residents told police they believed the vandalism occurred between Saturday evening and early Sunday morning.

Most of the gouges were limited to the door areas of the vehicles as they were parked on the street or driveway. Total damage estimates appear to be over several thousand dollars.

Anyone with information on this crime is urged to contact the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fireworks Complaints down this Year

Prior to this year’s 4th of July holiday, the Overland Park Police Department used various media outlets, as we do every year, to convey the message that fireworks are illegal in the city.

The City of Overland Park has banned all fireworks for many years due to the potential for personal injury and property damage. In addition to the yearly ban on fireworks, the Overland Park Fire Marshall issued a burn ban this year because of the extreme heat and dry conditions.

Looking at the number of complaints this year compared to the last two years shows a significant drop in the overall number of calls for service. We believe the decline can be attributed to people's awareness of the dangers posed by fireworks, in addition to the burn ban and the public’s willingness to comply.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Another Close Call

Back in January of 2011, an Overland Park officer was working the scene of an accident in the 12500 block of US69 Highway when his patrol car was struck from behind by another motorist.
The officer, who was seated inside the patrol car at the time of the collision, suffered significant injuries that kept him sidelined from active duty for more than eight months.

There have been several other “close calls” or accidents involving officers here within the city. Luckily, only minor injuries have been reported in these events.

Last night we had another incident where one of our officers was involved in an accident while sitting inside his patrol car. The officer was on a traffic stop on I435 just east of Quivira when his vehicle was side-swiped by a passing semi. Thankfully, the officer received minor injuries and should return to work shortly.

Traffic related fatalities have long been one of the leading causes of deaths for on-duty police officers. Thankfully, so far in 2012, the number has declined 40% over last year’s totals.

Are you aware Kansas has a "Move Over Law”? All but a few states have laws in effect which require motorists on four-lane highways to slow down and move away from emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights.

Did you know the law also applies to vehicles engaged in highway construction or maintenance, that are displaying a flashing amber light? When passing a stopped emergency or law-enforcement vehicle with its flashing lights on, you must either vacate the closest lane, or significantly reduce your speed.

The "Move Over Law” was enacted following the deaths of two KDOT maintenance workers, who were killed in traffic incidents in 2005. If you have not already done so, please make a habit of "moving over" when approaching an emergency or construction vehicle on the side of the road. Doing so could save a life.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Traffic Alert for Friday July 6th, 2012

Because of the recent water main breaks, Lamar Rd. from W. 69th Street to W. 71st Street will be completely closed to through traffic from 6:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Friday July 6th, 2012. There will be a detour route provided.

Please contact Murv Morehead, city of Overland Park, Kansas at 913-895-6189 with any questions.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Reminder to Keep Your Garage Door Closed

During the overnight and early morning hours, the Overland Park Police Department responded to three separate calls regarding open garage doors.

The first one occurred around 11:30 last night in the 9600 block of W. 124th Terrace. The homeowner saw three male juveniles attempting to enter his open garage. When he confronted them, they took off running and got into a waiting car.

The second incident happened around 1:15 a.m. in the 13700 block of Gillette. The homeowner received a call from a neighbor advising him that his garage door was open and one of his vehicles was missing from inside. The missing car contained a purse belonging to the homeowners.

The most recent theft occurred this morning around 7:20 in the 6300 block of W. 133rd Terrace. The homeowner opened his garage door to take his dog for a walk. After he got back, he went inside and did a few things for about 30 minutes. When he went back outside, he noticed his vehicle was then missing from inside the garage.

When you leave your garage doors open, you take the unnecessary risk of losing valuable items such as golf clubs, tools, unlocked vehicles and bicycles which are left in clear view to opportunistic thieves.

The three events illustrated above are just a few examples in which thieves can gain access to the valuables inside your garage and sometimes the interior of your home. In most cases, the garage door that leads inside the home is often not secured. This can increase the risk of property loss from inside or lead to an unwanted confrontation with residents.

Homeowners who keep garage doors open are more at risk to be victims of theft. Thieves see an open garage as a fast, easy target.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fireworks Reminder

If you watch either the local or national news channels, you’ve probably noticed that there is a growing list of communities that have decided to cancel their Fourth of July fireworks shows due to the extreme heat.

Fortunately for the citizens and visitors of Overland Park, the city’s fireworks show is scheduled to proceed this year.

The sale, possession or discharge of any fireworks in the city is illegal, but because of the extremely dry conditions we are currently experiencing from record high temperatures, we are once again reminding the public of the importance to refrain using personal fireworks.

On Wednesday June 26th, the Overland Park Fire Marshall issued a burn ban for the city because of the extreme heat and dry conditions. This ban includes open and recreational burning until further notice. Outdoor grilling is permitted, but cooks are urged to use extreme caution and be sure to have the means to suppress a fire.

Officers with the Overland Park Police Department will be out in full-force during the Fourth of July holiday and will be issuing citations to those found to be in violation of the city’s fireworks ordinance.

Each year fireworks are the cause not only of injuries, but also fires that destroy homes and businesses, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage. You should know that you could be held financially responsible for damage you or your children cause.

The city of Overland Park invites you to come and see the Kansas City metro area’s largest fireworks display. For more information on this year’s Star Spangled Spectacular, click on the following link: