Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Some Things Can't Be Changed

On Jan. 24, 1985, the interchange of I-35 and 75th Street looked very different than it does today. While the interchange has been redone and I-35 widened, what happened that night can’t be changed.

That night and the story of Officer Deanna Rose affected the way officers responded to calls and forever altered the way we would do business.

In 1983, Officer Rose became one of seven female officers in the Overland Park Police Department.  The department had about 100 officers at the time.

At 1:42 am on the night of Jan. 24, 1985 Officer Rose stopped a vehicle going northbound on I-35, just south of 75th Street.  She began a DUI investigation on the 19-year-old driver. A struggle began as she attempted to arrest the driver, who already had one DUI charge pending.  The suspect knocked Officer Rose to the ground and as he was driving away, ran over her.  Officer Rose died from her injuries two days later.  She was the first female officer in Kansas to be killed in the line of duty, and the first and only Overland Park officer killed in the line of duty.

The man who killed Officer Rose pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter on April 17, 1985.  He served six years before he was released on parole. In 1996, he attempted unsuccessfully to have his record and the charge of voluntary manslaughter expunged.

There are now 248 sworn officers in the Overland Park Police Department; 23 of those officers were working in 1985.

Some have clear memories of Officer Rose, that cold winter night of Jan. 24, and her memorial service a few days later.  Many remember who spoke at the service and what was said.  One recalled several officers standing at attention through the entire service because there were no seats available.  Another remembered not being able to attend the funeral of someone he respected because he was working undercover at the time. Not exactly a challenge you might think of if you had to make plans to attend a memorial service of a friend.

Even after her death Officer Rose continued to help those in need.  As an organ donor she helped several other people.  The recipient of her heart was a 49-year-old father of three daughters.

Many are familiar with the name Deanna Rose.  Hundreds of thousands of visitors each year walk through the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.  The Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, originally named “The Children’s Farmstead” was renamed in 1985 in honor of Officer Rose, who loved animals and was considered an accomplished equestrian.

Today is National Peace Officers Memorial Day.  A day set apart from others to give recognition to law enforcement officers who lost their lives while doing their job - protecting others and upholding the laws. 

Today we remember those officers and for those of us in Overland Park, we especially remember Officer Deanna Rose.

Officer Rose's Memorial, Jan. 28, 1985

Officer Rose's huband, David Rose

Archived photos courtesy of Olathe Daily News and Kansas City Star