Friday, September 28, 2012

Traffic Alert through Saturday

I-435 & US-69 Interchange Red Project

The following lane and ramp closures are scheduled to take place this Thursday-Saturday, September 27-29 for the setting of girders for the new Quivira Road Bridge over I-435, including a full overnight closure of all lanes of eastbound I-435 at I-35.

SHORT-TERM LANE CLOSURE: Eastbound I-435 right lane at Quivira Road will be closed for setting bridge girders between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. the same day on Thursday and Friday, September 27-28. Project work is scheduled to be completed on Friday, September 28.

OVERNIGHT RAMP CLOSURE: Northbound and southbound I-35 to eastbound I-435 ramps will be closed for setting bridge girders overnight beginning at 9:30 p.m. and reopening at 5:00 a.m. the next morning on both Thursday and Friday, September 27-28. Project work is scheduled to be completed on Saturday, September 29.

OVERNIGHT FULL ROADWAY CLOSURE: All lanes of eastbound I-435 at I-35 will be closed for setting bridge girders overnight beginning at 10:00 p.m. and reopening at 5:00 a.m. the next morning on both Thursday and Friday, September 27-28. Project work is scheduled to be completed on Saturday, September 29.

Advance message boards will alert traffic to the lane and ramp closures and to the marked detours.

Drivers should expect MAJOR DELAYS and will need to use alternate routes during the lane and ramp closures. 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.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Senator Moran Visits Overland Park

Yesterday, City Manager Bill Ebel, Fire Chief Bryan Dehner and I had the opportunity to welcome Kansas Senator Jerry Moran to Overland Park as he took time out of his busy schedule to tour the Overland Park Command and Control Center. In addition, he also visited the newly dedicated 911 Memorial which is located just outside the front entrance to the Fire Training Center.

As City leaders we are very proud of our facilities, especially the 911 Memorial and the state-of-the-art Command and Control Center. We appreciate Senator Moran giving us the opportunity to showcase these items to him.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Citizen’s Police Academy Kicks Off

Last night I had the pleasure of welcoming 16 new members to the Citizen’s Police Academy. I’m always thrilled to see the turnout we have from members of the community who desire to know about the police department and how we do our jobs.

The Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA) is our ongoing effort to partner with our citizens to provide them an opportunity to get to know us by participating in practical police exercises, receiving information, and having the opportunity to ask questions.

The CPA is an eight-week (28-hour) academy. Participants learn about patrol operations, firearms training, crime analysis, narcotics, traffic enforcement and much more. Participants see through the eyes of the instructors and "hands on" practicals that demonstrate what it's like to be an Overland Park Police Officer. There are also opportunities to observe and interact with tactical police equipment and vehicles through demonstrations by the police K-9 unit and SWAT team.

There is no fee for the Citizen's Police Academy. Our Officers and other personnel in the Academy provide their services and expertise to the members of the class as a complimentary part of the program.

Please visit the following link for more information on the CPA:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Drug Take-Back Event Planned for September 29th

On September 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Overland Park Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Bring your medications for disposal to:

• Sanders Justice Center, 12400 Foster

• Scafe City Office Building, 8500 Antioch

• Hen House, 6900 W 135th St

• Price Chopper, 7000 W 75th St

Last April, Americans turned in 552,161 pounds—276 tons—of prescription drugs at over 5,600 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,300 state and local law enforcement partners. In its four previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 1.5 million pounds—nearly 775 tons—of pills.

Here in Overland Park, residents at April's event turned in 28 bags for a total of 706 pounds.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. The DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act.

Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Overland Park Police Department and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

Monday, September 24, 2012

SCAM ALERT: Credit Union Text Message

This morning I was contacted by two adult members of my family who informed me of a text message they received over the weekend which they believe was a scam.

Each of them received a text from the “The Credit Union Alert Center” advising them that their “CARD number starting with xxxx has been DEACTIVATED. Please call 913-553-5359”.

When you contact the number listed in the text message, they will ask you for your 16-digit card number to verify. Luckily for those members of my family, they were smart enough to hang up the phone and not give out any information.

I wanted to find out if we’ve had any recent reports from our citizens regarding this scam, so I called one of our crime analysts. She just happened to have received the same text message this morning from the number I mentioned above. She also recognized it as a scam and deleted it.

While the people I’ve mentioned above were very cognizant that this was a scam, I’m worried about those in our community who may be more susceptible to this type of thing, especially the elderly who are easy targets for thieves.

Please be careful when dealing with anyone who calls, texts or emails you asking for personal information, especially those requesting financial data. Legitimate companies already know your account numbers and shouldn’t be asking you to give it to them verbatim for verification. They will, however, ask you for the last four digits and request your answers to some security questions.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tragic Incident Involving MoDOT Worker

A Missouri Department of Transportation worker was killed this morning when he was struck while working an accident scene that had shut down I-70 Highway in Independence.

Our thoughts are with the family as they deal with this unexpected loss of their loved one. Sadly, this is just another incident involving a worker on the streets and highways and, according to MoDot, this is the 16th MoDOT employee to have been killed in the line of duty since 2000.

Whether it’s a law enforcement officer, fire department personnel, or one of the many DOT workers on the streets and highways, it’s imperative we do everything we can to protect those who work on our roadways.

Here in the state of Kansas, we have several laws specifically designed to protect these individuals:

Move Over Law:

Kansas law protects everyone who works along our highways. This includes maintenance crews, construction workers, law enforcement

officers and emergency responders. The law requires motorists on four-lane highways to switch to the lane farthest from any stationary vehicle displaying flashing lights, if they can do so SAFELY. On two-lane roads, motorists are required to slow down and proceed with caution.

Move It Law:

The "Move It" law states that all drivers involved in traffic crashes must move their vehicles out of the lane of traffic to keep traffic moving, except when there are injuries, the vehicle can't be moved or one of the drivers involved appears to be intoxicated.

KDOT Worker Memorial
 Let’s all do our part to help keep the roadways safe. Please slow down and move over for your safety, as well as for the safety of others.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise Again

It seems as if we’re always putting out reminders regarding the theft of catalytic converters, but truth is, the problem is a constant one and needs our regular attention. Unfortunately, catalytic converter thefts are well documented nationwide, and is certainly nothing new to Overland Park or the Kansas City Metro Area.

Going back to the 1st of May, we have taken 52 reports regarding catalytic converter thefts. The majority of these have occurred in locations such as apartment complexes and commercial office parking lots.

Did you know a thief can remove a catalytic converter from under a vehicle in as little as two minutes?

There are some things you can do to reduce the possibility of being a victim of thefts in general. The first preventive thing is to park in well-lighted areas, or close to the front entrance to buildings. Also, be aware of any suspicious vehicles or people hanging out in parking lots.

Here are some additional steps for preventing catalytic converter theft:

  • At shopping centers and other similar parking lots, park close the entrance of the building, or near the access road where there’s a lot of traffic.

  • If you own or work at a business or factory, park within a fenced area that’s busy during the day and secured at night.

  • Engrave your license plate number on the converter to make it traceable. This can act as a catalytic converter theft deterrent and help with local police investigations.

  • Purchase a vehicle security system, and make sure it's set to trigger with the slightest motion.

  • Visit a local muffler shop and have the converter secured to the vehicle’s frame with a couple of pieces of hardened steel welded to the frame.

  • Check out the different types of catalytic converter theft deterrent systems at your local auto parts store or on the Internet.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19th is designated as Pledge Day in Kansas

(KDOT Press Release) A recently-completed AT&T study showed that on average, 43 percent of American teenage drivers admitted to texting and driving even though 97 percent know it is dangerous.

Because of those numbers, and the fact that it is illegal to text and drive in Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback has proclaimed today, “No Text on Board Pledge Day”.

“Please Do Not Text and Drive. It Can Wait.” will be the driver safety message featured on electronic message signs located on major interstates across the state.

The Kansas Department of Transportation, along with many other state DOTs, are partnering with AT&T’s “It Can Wait” public awareness campaign for tomorrow’s national focus on this simple, yet powerful message: No text is worth dying for.

A recent university study shows that those who send text messages while driving are 23 more times likely to crash. In his proclamation, Gov. Brownback calls on all Kansans to take the “no texting while driving pledge” and asks that all Kansans help spread this message throughout their communities.

Visit online at:, to take the “don’t text and drive” pledge. To learn more about KDOT’s educational driver safety messaging and the Kansas texting law, visit

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Reality Based Training Continues

Two months ago officers of the Overland Park Police Department trained on civil disturbances and their reaction to these calls. This week they are taking it a step further with active shooter training.

This is not the first time we’ve trained with an active shooter scenario.  Several years ago we utilized an old movie theater for this same type of training. It was a good opportunity to train on something we hoped we would never have to actually use. Little would we know, another jurisdiction would be faced with this exact type of situation.

This time we will use a school setting. This will be complete with role players, simunition rounds and any type of chaos we may be able to replicate. The idea is to put the officers in that loud, noisy, and sometimes violent and out of control moment to help the learn how to react.

An active shooter story is not one we want the media to have to bring to you. However, through training and preparation, it is one I hope our officers would respond to effectively if they ever do have to face it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Press Conference Scheduled


Overland Park, KS – Police Chief John Douglass and Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe will conduct a news conference at 3:30 P.M. to discuss a recent homicide investigation conducted in Overland Park.

The news conference will be held today at the W. Jack Sanders Justice Center, 12400 Foster.

In an effort to be fair to all media outlets, no other information will be provided or released until that time.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Leaving Vehicles Unlocked Creates an Easy Target for Thieves

Auto burglaries are a common occurrence for a city of our size and the surrounding metro area. There are a few things you can do that will greatly increase your chances of NOT becoming a victim.

During the month of August, more than 60% of the auto burglary reports we took were the direct result of unlocked vehicles. None of these required any type of forced entry as they were all easily accessed just by opening up the door.

Most thieves do not want to draw attention to themselves as they peruse parking lots or neighborhoods looking for items to steal from vehicles. As statistics have proven, the burglar would rather quietly open a car door at 3:00am than break a window and wake up the neighborhood.

With that being said, you’re still at a higher risk of becoming a victim if you leave valuables in plain sight, such as wallets, purses, laptops, I-Pads, cell phones, or other electronic items.

Midnight Patrol Officers are doing what they can to help spread the message by looking inside parked vehicles to see if there are any items of value that can be seen from the outside.

If the Officer sees nothing that would attract a thief, they 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 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, but there are a few easy steps you can take to avoid becoming the next victim.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Officers Arrest Auto Burglar after Call from a Citizen

 On Tuesday, September 11th at approx. 11:22 p.m., Officers responded to a possible “burglary in progress” report in the 8900 block of W. 106th Street.

The Officers received information from the reporting party that an unknown man was trying to enter a vehicle parked in a driveway. The calling party also reported that they heard a “metallic” banging sound coming from the same area.

When the officers arrived on scene, they located a white male near the front of the vehicle. Further investigation revealed the suspect had tools in his possession and was attempting to remove items from the victim’s vehicle. The suspect was then arrested and charged with the crime of theft.

This criminal activity would not have been discovered without the awareness of the calling party and immediately reporting this suspicious behavior to police.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wide Turns At Intersections Increase Traffic Accidents

Making an illegal wide-turn is a traffic violation which causes a lot of accidents on our roadways at all hours of the day and night.

The law requires drivers to make a right-hand turn "as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. It also states "left turns are to be to the left of the center of the intersection, and any left turn "shall be made so as to leave the intersection . . . in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction."

A wide turn violation occurs when someone turning right fails to turn into the extreme right-hand lane, and when someone turning left fails to turn into the extreme left-hand lane. Once the turn is complete, people are free to change into another lane provided they signal their lane change at least 100 feet before doing so, and provided the lane change can be made safely.

Drivers that fail to stay in their lanes during turns or that make wide turns (right or left) at intersections cause accidents and may receive a citation for the wide turn.

Monday, September 10, 2012

County Wide Heavy Vehicle Inspections

Overland Park Police, along with officers from several area agencies, will be taking to the streets this morning in a county-wide commercial vehicle inspection initiative.

The goal of this event is to identify safety violations and locate stolen equipment. The enforcement area will be along W. 135th Street and Switzer.

This effort is made possible with help from the MOKAN Theft Taskforce. The results of this endeavor will be released at a later date.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Vice Sting Results in 5 Arrests on Thursday Night

The Overland Park Police Department’s Vice Unit is continuing to combat all forms of prostitution within the city. Last night they conducted a prostitution sting which resulted in the arrests of 4 people who were charged with either prostitution, patronizing a prostitute, or promoting prostitution. There was also one arrest made for drug possession.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Installation of 9/11 Artifact Sparks Emotions and Memories

I was attending a meeting today at the Overland Park Fire Training Center and was fortunate to be on-site just as the 9/11 artifact was erected.

This 14-foot, 5,600 pound steel artifact came from the World Trade Center in New York. It will be part of a larger memorial in front of the building as a remembrance of the many lives lost on that tragic day in our nation’s history.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, I remember clearly what I was doing on that day and the emotions that event invoked in me.

As I watched them hoist the artifact into its final resting spot, I once again felt that emotion rising in my chest. Mainly, I felt deep sadness for the victims, but there was also tremendous pride in the resiliency of this great country.

The tragedy that took place on that day affected each American in some way or another, and we will all bear the scars for the rest of our lives.

America has become stronger and more resilient since 9/11, and the lessons we’ve learned came at the sacrifice of many that we must never forget.

The dedication will take place the morning of September 11th, 2012 at the Overland Park Fire Training Center, located at 12401 Hemlock.

This entire project is being funded with private donations. To learn more about the memorial and the get involved in the final phase visit and click on the 9/11 Memorial Informational video.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Where Can I Find the City’s Ordinances?

Do you want to read a City Ordinance? If so, go to the City of Overland Park's Web Site and on the home page click on the green link to “City Government”. When you are on this page, scroll down and on the left side of the page and you will see the title Legal Publications. Once there, all you have to do is click on Codes and Ordinances. This will allow you access to any ordinance.

Let's say you want to read the Noise Ordinance. All you do is enter the word “NOISE” in the search box and you will be able to review all the information in that ordinance.

Knowing the exact content of an ordinance enables a person to be better informed and to make decisions based on accurate information.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Results of Labor Day S.T.E.P. Campaign

The Overland Park, Kansas Police Department conducted a Labor Day – You Drink, You Drive, You Lose - S.T.E.P. Campaign from August 16, 2012 through September 3, 2012. The campaign was conducted with the principle focus on DUI deterrence and detection in an effort to reduce alcohol related accidents. Officers also looked for speeding violations, seat restraint violations, bicyclist violations, and pedestrian violations.

Please review the statistical results for this year compared to the last two years: