Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Do You Know This Guy?

Being the victim of a crime is never convenient, but being the victim of a crime when you are part of a military family and normally stationed in Japan, well that’s really a problem. And that’s exactly what happened to one visitor to the area.

Our victim and his two children went to pick up a few things from a local store. While there he accidentally left his wallet behind. He went back to get it and it was already grabbed up by a ne’er-do-well.

Shame on this person for keeping someone else’s wallet and potentially making it tough for our victim to get back home with no ID.

We’ve got a few photos for you to look at of both the person of interest in this case and his vehicle. Maybe you can identify him and help set things right.

The male seen picking up the wallet is described as a heavy set, white male, wearing a horizontal striped polo shirt and dark shorts.  He has short dark hair and a goatee. He left the scene in a smaller blue vehicle.

Anyone with information on this person’s identity is asked to contact the Overland Park Police at 913-344-8730.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

They Got Six

Officers were busy at the DUI Check Lane conducted Friday, July 26th. 403 vehicles entered the check lane between the hours of 11:00 pm and 2:00 am. Officers found reason to test 38 drivers. Of the 38 drivers tested six were determined to be over the limit or under the influence of alcohol or drugs to a degree that rendered them incapable of safely driving their vehicle.

In addition to the DUI arrests, two drivers were charged with refusal of a preliminary breath test, two were charged with transporting an open container, and one was charged with driving while suspended.

Was it a success? If it stopped one driver from driving drunk, then it was a success. In this case it stopped six and hopefully made an impression on the drivers and occupants of the other 397 vehicles that came through the lane.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Now You Know

Auto burglaries are a problem that can and do happen just about anywhere.  We try to remind people regularly not to leave things in their vehicles when they are out shopping, working out at the gym, traveling, or parking their cars overnight.  Now we have a new area for you to be aware of-- parks.

In the past three months there has been an increase of auto burglaries at local parks, a total of seven as of the end of last week.  Most of these incidents have occurred on weekdays and in the early morning hours.  The targeted items in these cases are no different than any other auto burglary.  They include purses, wallets, credit cards and cash.  Some of the vehicles entered were unlocked vehicles while others were broken windows.

Obviously carrying a purse or other valuables with you might not be exactly the way you picture a walk in the park, or maybe entertaining the kids on the playground.  Whenever possible, it’s better to just leave these things at home and carry only the necessities--your identification, phone and keys maybe.  If you don’t leave them at home, out of sight out of mind is better than nothing, but putting them out of sight out of mind while you are in the presence of others watching completely defeats the purpose.

Now you know, and like GI Joe used to say, “And knowing is half the battle.”

Friday, July 26, 2013

DUI Check Lane This Evening

This evening we are conducting another DUI Check Lane in the City of Overland Park.  The check lane is a DUI enforcement tool we use a few times a year and it is done with the assistance of Kansas Highway Patrol and several different city and county agencies.

Each driver who enters the check lane will be greeted by an officer or trooper and given information on potential DUI penalties.  Those drivers who appear to be impaired by alcohol and/or drugs will be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests and take a preliminary breath test.

Drivers who fail the field sobriety tests may be asked to submit to further testing of breath, blood or urine and may be charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs.

As always, drivers are encouraged to find a sober ride home if they choose to go out and drink.  Just another friendly reminder that we continue to take the task of DUI reduction seriously.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

One For the Good Guys

We send out regular reminders to warn people about scams. We also send out regular reminders to be vigilant about looking out for our aging community so that they do not fall victims to scams. Past blogs such as When the Golden Years Don't Glitter address these in more details. It’s disappointing to respond to calls where someone has lost a large sum of money, especially when that person is someone in our aging community that lives on a very fixed income and relies heavily on their savings.

Yesterday, could have been another one of these calls, but we got to chalk one up for the good guys. Officers responded to follow up on a call that originally came in from a concerned bank employee. The employee said one of their customers came in and withdrew a large sum of money saying she was sending it on to a company that told her she won 7 million dollars and a Mercedes Benz. All she had to do was send this money to the company so she could claim her prize. The bank employee recognized it as a scam and tried to warn the customer, but until the customer heard it from police, she was set on getting her winnings.  The scammers were that convincing.

Thanks to an alert bank employee who did the right thing, this resident wasn't a victim. Great job!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Promotion Day

A promotion in any job is a big deal and in the police department it is no different.  Today the Overland Park Police Department recognizes two accomplished members within the department as each accepts a new title and a whole lot more responsibility.

Officer John Kotnour is promoted to the rank of Sergeant.  He started as a patrol officer with the Overland Park Police Department in 1990.  During his 23 year career he has been a Field Training Officer, Detective in the Professional Standards Unit, Firearms Instructor and School Resource Officer.  He has the unique position of now calling former students co-workers, a point that they remind him of often.

Sergeant Cindy Henson is promoted to the rank of Captain.  She started her career with the Overland Park Police Department in 1991.  In that time she has held numerous assignments including Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, School Resource Officer and a Community Police and Problem Solving (COPPS) Officer.  She was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2000 where she was a supervisor in the Patrol Division, Narcotics Unit, Professional Standards Unit and COPPS.

Congratulations to both Sergeant Kotnour and Captain Henson!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Heads Up On Road Improvements

We know you’ve been patiently waiting for the road construction work to be completed.  It’s no fun sitting in slowed traffic, especially when the temperatures start to rise, but tomorrow things might start to get a little better.

Clarkson Construction and Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) have announced plans to open the new eastbound I-435 Highway ramp to US 69 Highway / 119th Street ramp tomorrow, July 24th, weather permitting.  We just wanted you to be aware because this normally means changes to the traffic patterns.

Keep those changes in mind as you travel the area.  Don’t be in a rush and watch the signs.

For more information check out KDOT’s website at

Monday, July 22, 2013

Answering the What and How

Tragedy’s at schools leave many of us asking why.  Instead of asking why and dwelling on that why, we decided to ask what and how.  What do we do to keep it from happening at all?  How do we keep them safe?

Today several representatives from agencies and school districts across Johnson and Miami Counties joined together for In Defense of our Schools Project summit.  This is a project that started shortly after the Newtown school shooting.  We all came together to gather answers for what and how.

The project developed strategies for identifying both internal and external threats to our schools, advance planning, securing facility perimeters, and last resort measures.  The end goal is to provide tools to avoid tragic events taking place at our schools.  To keep our children safe.

The children are our futures.  The time and dedication devoted to this project is only the beginning, but these first steps and the hours it took to put together this information was well worth it.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Don’t Be a Statistic

You see us send out regular reminders not to drink and drive, but we’d rather you read it here than hear it from an officer on the street when you are sitting in the back of a patrol car. 

If you drink and drive any time you are behind the wheel you run the risk of hearing, “I told you so.” But tonight Overland Park Officers will be out in force again working a DUI Saturation Patrol, exponentially increasing your chances of a costly DUI if you choose to imbibe and drive.

The DUI Saturation Patrol will begin at 10:00 PM, and the enforcement will not end until 2:00 AM.  As usual, the goal is to detect and deter impaired drivers.  Don’t be part of the statistics we post next week. Make responsible choices.  If you choose to drink, please don’t drive.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Detectives Need Help to Identify Suspects Using Stolen Credit Cards

On July 10, 2013, around 6:15 pm, an Overland Park Police Officer responded to the 10300 block of Barkley for an auto burglary report.  The victim reported she arrived at the gym about 5:20 pm and ran inside for just a few minutes.  When she returned to her vehicle around 5:35 pm, she found her car burglarized and her purse missing.

Within 30 minutes of this happening her credit cards were used at several different locations within close proximity to the burglary.

The attached seven photos show an unidentified male and an unidentified female using some of the credit cards at two different locations.

The male is described as a white male, late 20’s to 30’s, dark hair, wearing a red and white striped shirt, dark shorts and athletic shoes.  The female is described as late 20’s to 30’s, blonde hair pulled back into a bun, short stocky build, multi-colored tank top, jean shorts and white athletic shoes.  The female also appears to have marks on her left and right biceps which appear to be small tattoos.

A black Ford Ranger pickup truck has been associated to the pair.  The truck appears to have an extended cab.

Detectives are asking for help identifying these two people.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or the Overland Park Police at 913-344-8729.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Trailer Theft Trend

Sometimes thieves will steal anything that’s not tied down, and sometimes even things that are tied down are targets.  Most recently we’ve seen an increase of trailer thefts.  There have been nine thefts since June 1, 2013.  Some were taken from residential homes and driveways.  All were done in the overnight hours.

We’re not the only jurisdiction to see this increase.  It seems trailer thefts have been on the rise in other areas of the metro, as well.  Since crime prevention is one of the best ways to reduce crime, we did some research on trailer security.  Some of what we found was funny but, in the middle of the funny comments, there were a few good suggestions that you may want to implement, if you own a trailer.

Consider a trailer lock system.  There are several different types available.  Online prices show them starting around $29 and going up from there.  Some of these were fairly basic pin-lock systems, while others were much more complex and went over the entire hitch area.

A heavy or hardened chain might be something that is an option for you.  The chain can be used to chain the trailer to something secure or you can loop the chain through the wheels.

Another option you might consider is an alarm.  Tilt type alarms can be installed fairly simply and are relatively inexpensive.

Of course, if none of these ideas sound secure enough you can follow the suggestions we found on one message board:

Put some blocks under the suspension and let the air out of the tires. Take a hitch ball and cut off the stem. Then lock the ball into the hitch. Make a wheel clamp and put it on when you are storing it. Make the hitch easily removable. Paint a sign on the back bumper that says "If the truck pulling this isn't (your truck colour) then this trailer is stolen. Take one wheel off it you aren't going to be using it for a while”.!

As funny as some of those things might sound, it’s really about making your trailer inaccessible or harder to steal.  Theft deterrents are just that, they are deterrents.  Many of them can be overcome, but it’s about making trailers more difficult to steal.  Even if you just park another vehicle in front of it, taking some type of preventative measure. Be proactive in keeping your trailer in your possession and not someone else’s.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Through the Eyes of a Child

Children can be so candid.  They are likely to tell you exactly what they are thinking, even if the truth hurts.  Sometimes they have a unique way of conveying the most basic messages.  Knowing that sometimes adults and other children will listen to a child before they listen to another adult or even a stranger, we’re going to forward this chance for your child to be heard – so to speak.

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced today they are having a poster contest aimed at putting the brakes on fatalities.  Children ages 5 to 13 in Kansas are encouraged to enter artwork for this statewide poster contest.

There will be three age groups---ages 5-7, ages 8-10 and ages 11-13.  Three statewide winners will receive family packages to the Great Wolf Lodge and also $50 gas cards from QuikTrip.  There will be a total of 18 regional winners in six regions. The winner of each of the three age groups will receive a bicycle and helmet donated by Safe Kids Kansas.

Entries must be postmarked by Friday, September 20.  For more information visit KDOT’s website

Monday, July 15, 2013

Shots Fired

Yesterday afternoon the quietness of a residential street was broken by a report of shots fired.  Around 3:25 pm, Overland Park Police Officers responded to a call for service regarding gun fire in the area of 94th Terrace and Lamar.  They arrived a few minutes later and found a black male victim in his 30’s, later identified as Raymon K. Thomas, dead at the scene.

Officers and Detectives learned from preliminary witness statements that a newer model red or maroon Ford Taurus with Missouri plates arrived in front of the victim’s house.  The victim happened to be in the process of retrieving things from his house to put into his vehicle which was parked in the driveway of the residence.  Someone from that Ford Taurus exited and began firing shots at the victim, striking him multiple times.

At this point, we have learned that there are two suspects in this incident.  Both are described as heavy set black males.  The shooter was described as having very short hair or a shaved head, wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans.  The suspect vehicle was last seen driving westbound on 94th Terrace towards Metcalf Avenue.

Thomas is the first homicide victim in the City of Overland Park this year.  Being the first doesn’t make it any more or less tragic.  The fact remains that there is a family who now has an empty hole where a loved one once was.

Detectives continue with their investigation.  They will use all investigative tools to follow up on this case.  Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Now You See It – Now You Don’t

Have you heard of a “Quick Change Artist”?  Well, they might consider what they do an art form but, the reality is, they’re thieves and earlier this week one entered a bank in Overland Park and ran his scam.

Here’s what he did:  He entered the bank with an amount of money and told the bank teller that he wanted to exchange the sum for a different denomination.  The teller started to fill his request and that’s when he told her she was using the wrong type of currency.  He had wanted foreign currency.  A short conversation took place between the teller and the scam artist about the availability of foreign currency, he “returned” the already counted out money that was intended as the exchange and took his money back.  The problem was he took part of that money that was intended for the exchange along with his money that he walked in with, leaving the teller short.

Quick Change scams show up from time to time.  The best way to avoid them as a cashier or teller is to be alert and not allow yourself to get flustered by someone causing a scene.  Review your company policy about how they want you to handle a customer who is either demanding more change or a different amount than what you feel is due.  There’s nothing wrong with asking for a second set of eyes to help make sure the customer is taken care of and given the right amount of money back.

During the investigation, the following surveillance photographs were collected.  Detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying the subject shown.  Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or the police department at 913-344-8730.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Everybody Has to Follow the Rules

You will frequently find bicyclists throughout the city and, for as often as they can be seen on roadway, we are lucky to have so few incidents.  Last year there were 17 reported bicycle related incidents and this year there have been 4.  These numbers are either a reflection that people are following the laws regarding bicycles, or that we've been lucky.  To make sure it’s not just luck, we’ll take this opportunity to review a few things with the end goal being everyone’s safety.

Wherever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders have to use the path, not the roadway.  This is one rule that surprises a few people because many think that bicycles have to remain on the roadway.

Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway has the same rights as any motor vehicle, but is also held to the same laws as the motor vehicles.  That means they have to obey all traffic control devices (stop lights and stop signs) and they must signal lane changes. And for the speed racers, this means obeying speed limits, as well.

When bicyclists do use the roadway, they have to ride as near to the right side of the roadway as possible in almost every case.  The few exceptions to this have to do with preparing to make a left turn, overtaking another bicyclist, or avoiding an obstruction or hazard.

One of the least known parts of the ordinance restricts bicyclists from riding in large packs that block a lane of traffic.  It says they cannot ride more than two abreast, except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

Now, it’s not all about the bicyclists minding the rules.  Those who operate motor vehicles have to understand that if a bicycle is on the roadway, you have to give them the same respect as another vehicle.  The ordinance that allows drivers to pass another vehicle allows vehicles to pass a bicyclist in a no passing zone when it’s safe, but-- and this is important-- you have to pass on the left and at a distance of not less than three (3) feet. 

Striking a bicyclist is the same as striking another vehicle or pedestrian.  It’s a motor vehicle accident and, if you leave the scene without exchanging information or stopping, you can be charged with hit and run, in addition to any other charges that may be coming your way.

In short, when it comes to bicycles and vehicles trying to utilize the same roadways, everyone has to follow the rules.  Continuing to follow the rules will keep everyone happy and safe.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

He's Looking When You're Not

The Overland Park Police Department is investigating a number of recent thefts from office buildings.  The suspect in this case likes to browse through office buildings and find unattended purses and wallets.

Detectives continue to work through this investigation, but would like to remind business employees to be aware of unknown persons who access their offices.  It's also a good chance to remind you that your office is not a good place to leave your personal belongings out in the open.

Detectives have released the photograph below and would like assistance determining the identity of the person shown.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or the police department at 913-344-8730.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hot Pizza and a Hot Car

His back was only turned for a moment. He hadn’t even gotten to the door yet. But that’s all the time it took for one pizza delivery driver’s car to be stolen.

Around 7:45 pm on July 6th the pizza delivery driver stopped in the 8400 block of Farley to make a delivery. He parked his 2001 Nissan in front of the address and started walking to the door with pizza in hand. The temptation of his running and unlocked vehicle was apparently just too much for two thieves to resist because they were in the running vehicle and driving away before the driver was able to deliver his tasty goodies.

Vehicles left running are an easy target. We see an increase of these when the weather turns cold and residents leave their cars unattended while they warm up, but don’t think for a moment it can’t happen in the middle of the summer. This is a crime of opportunity just like many others. Eliminate the opportunity and you reduce your risk of being a victim. The delivery driver is supposed to get the tip, but we’re betting he’s probably willing to echo this tip about leaving your car running and unattended.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Quite Day But For a Few Fireworks

Did you have a good day yesterday?  The weather was perfect and it seemed most of the citizens were in good spirits.  In all, Overland Park officers responded to a total of 237 calls for service between about 7 am on July 4th and about 3 am on July 5th.  77 of those calls were for fireworks, with the last fireworks complaint being called in at 2:50 am on July 5th.  We had no reports of any injuries due to fireworks.  Only 21 calls for service during this time frame were reports of disturbances, thefts, alcohol or drugs, or other types of misdemeanor crimes.  The remaining calls for service were made up of traffic complaints, noise complaints, alarms, animal complaints, civil matters or other types of informational and assistance type calls.

It would seem most people generally enjoyed the day and each other’s company, which is not only nice for the public, but nice for law enforcement too.  Whether you have to work today or if you are one of the many that took an additional day off, we hope the rest of your holiday weekend is a pleasant one.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I Saw That

When it comes to enforcement of traffic laws, officers utilize several different tools to assist them in doing their job.  Thanks to a study conducted by the University of Kansas School of Engineering, Overland Park officers will have a new tool.

Yesterday, public works crews placed blue lights at the intersections of 75th Street and Metcalf Avenue and College and Quivira.  These blue lights come on when the traffic signal is red.  This allows officers to sit further down from the immediate intersection and take enforcement action on drivers who enter the intersection after the traffic signal turns red (and the light turns blue).

College and Quivira and 75th Street and Metcalf both are in the top 20 accident locations in the city.  I believe that the safety of our citizens and the officers who serve them are paramount to what we do on a daily basis.  This simple, yet innovative system will allow us to safely monitor and enforce traffic violations at two of the city’s busiest intersections in regard to traffic accidents.

For more information visit:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Bump in the Night

Heard of ding-dong-ditching?  You know, when someone rings your door bell or knocks on the door and then takes off running before you can get there to answer it.  That’s probably a bit annoying for most, especially when you are in the middle of doing something or, worse, enjoying a deep sleep.  Well, this weekend one Overland Park family learned a whole new form of ding-dong-ditching.

Early Saturday morning one family found the front of their home damaged from an apparent hit and run accident.  They said they heard what sounded like thunder over night, but did not get up to investigate at that time.  It wasn’t until one of the family went out for the morning that they found the damage to their garage.

Evidence at the scene showed a vehicle was southbound on Farley in the 10400 block when it left the roadway and drove through the yard of the home before striking the garage.  It moved the wall of the garage about 2 feet.  Parts left at the scene were identified to belong to a red, 2005 to 2009, Ford Mustang.

Thankfully, no one in the home was injured.  A city inspector was called to confirm the home remains structurally sound for occupancy.

The identity of the driver is unknown at this time and the case remains under investigation.  Anyone with information is asked to call the Overland Park Police 913-895-6300.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rockets’ Red Glare, Bombs Bursting in Air

Every year about this time we put out a blog reminding people about the fireworks ordinances in Overland Park.  It’s not even the 4th of July yet and officers have already started answering those familiar fireworks complaints.  Now we don’t want to sound like a broken record, but we also don’t want to have to come take enforcement action and be blamed for ruining the holiday. So, here’s your reminder this year about fireworks.

The restrictions on fireworks are easy to remember.  In short, they are banned - all of them.  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.

The city didn’t take this position because someone was unpatriotic.  We don’t want to spoil anyone’s celebration, but we do believe in safety.  Each year there are reports of fireworks festivities that end tragically. 

This year the news already ran a story of a young boy who lost several fingers in a fireworks accident.  In 2011, 11-year-old Blair Lane was killed by a stray bullet from a gun that was shot up in the air as a way of celebrating.  And it seems there’s always a story about a house fire that started when some type of firework landed in an unintended place.

Since we do want you to still enjoy the rockets’ red glare, bombs bursting in air, and all that other good stuff that comes along with the 4th of July holiday, please consider this your invitation to join us at the Overland Park fireworks display held at Corporate Woods.