Thursday, January 31, 2013

Detectives Need Help to Identify Commercial Burglar

The metropolitan area has experienced a series of commercial burglaries between midnight and 0600 hours in which the suspect consistently targets the cash register and safe of the business. 

The suspect uses pry tools to force entry through the glass doors and forces open the register and/or safe.  The suspect is described as having a compact build, very agile and athletic, who usually wears a hooded jacket, long pants, dark footwear, gloves and a thin mask.

Please take a look at the surveillance video below. We’re hoping someone may recognize the clothing the suspect was wearing at the time of the break-ins.
  

Anyone with information on this person’s identity is asked to contact the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or the Overland Park Police at 913-344-8750.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Overland Park Police Requests Drivers Walk In their Accident Report

Due to current weather conditions, Overland Park Police is requesting drivers involved in non-injury accidents walk in the accident at a later time.

Drivers should exchange pertinent information. (DL Numbers, Insurance company information, license plate numbers, names of persons involved to include passengers and witnesses).

Police will continue to respond to injury accidents or accidents where the vehicles are not drivable or accidents where substance abuse is suspected.

The reports may be made at the Sanders Justice Center, 12400 Foster or the Scafe Police Building, 8500 Antioch.

Driving Safely During Wintry Conditions

The snow is currently falling, the roads are getting slick, and the Overland Park Police Department is seeing an increase in the number of accident reports this morning. In the last hour, we’ve take fifteen reports with the majority of them occurring along the I-435 corridor. PLEASE BE CAREFUL!
 With this in mind, The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) wants to pass along these important winter driving tips as you navigate the roadways this morning.
Driver Safety Tips

Please remind DRIVERS if they must travel about to: 
1.       Take it SLOW!
2.     Allow plenty of extra drive time.
3.      Watch for icy/slick spots on the roadway; don’t assume that if the pavement looks clear, that it is.
4.     Buckle up every passenger, every time.
5.      If they get stranded, to stay with their vehicle and call *47 on a state highway/interstate route (any highway that begins with I-, K-, and US-), *KTA on the Kansas Turnpike, or #911 at anytime.

For travel throughout the morning commutes, drivers should use caution, allow plenty of driving time, buckle up (every passenger, every time) and be sure to turn on their headlights, and turn off their cruise control.  Drivers should also provide for a safe distance or cushion between themselves and vehicles ahead of them. 

We also want to remind drivers to stay a safe distance back from KDOT snow plows, and if drivers should pass the snow plows, to be extra careful and allow plenty of room as the trucks do travel slower than surrounding traffic.

Updated Road Conditions (via phone or online 24/7)
Updated Kansas road conditions are at your fingertips.  KanDrive is the new online travel info portal, www.KanDrive.org, that displays information from KDOT’s traveler information technology, including highway cameras, dynamic message signs, traffic management centers and 511 phone, online and mobile (http://511mm.ksdot.org).  Snapshots from more than 30 closed-circuit cameras along I-70 between Topeka and Colorado and along other highways in the state, as well as camera views from the KC Scout system are available through the new online site, so users can see the roadway conditions.

Travelers can also obtain updated road conditions simply by calling 511 from any phone (landline or cellular), or by clicking on the following link:  http//511.ksdot.org, drivers can obtain updated all of Kansas road conditions at anytime, day or night. 

Additional weather-related information can be found online at http://www.ksdot.org/offTransInfo/511Info/511traffictravel.asp.  This KDOT web site link includes informational brochures on 511 Winter Storm Survival, Managing Snow and Ice on Kansas Highways, and Safe Winter Driving Tips.  Drivers…“If the weather is bad, remember with ICE AND SNOW, Take it Slow, or just don’t go.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cooler Heads Must Prevail

On Wednesday January 23rd, we blogged about two drivers engaging in aggressive driving that turned into road rage, and subsequently shots were fired. We’re still looking into that case and are following up on any leads in hopes of making an arrest in the future.

When the story was being written for that blog, dispatch received a call from a female motorist who claimed a passenger in another vehicle displayed a gun to her after a road rage incident. The victim said she would be waiting for officers in a nearby parking lot, but was gone when we arrived. She has yet to respond to messages left on her cell phone. The exact location of the occurrence is unknown.

This weekend (Saturday), we received a call from a motorist who stated someone in another vehicle pointed a handgun at her during a road rage incident in the area of I-435 and Metcalf. Police were able to locate both subjects in an area parking lot. The suspect was eventually arrested and transported to the Johnson County Jail to await formal charges of aggravated assault.

In less than a week’s time the streets of Overland Park have seen three different incidences where road rage has escalated to the point where a weapon was displayed. In one case a weapon was fired at another driver. These acts not only place the lives of involved at risk, but most certainly place innocent bystanders in the cross-fire.

In a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation, nearly 9 in 10 respondents said they believed aggressive drivers were a “somewhat” or “very serious” threat to their personal safety. This same survey found that a substantial number of drivers admitted to engaging in potentially aggressive behaviors, such as traveling more than 15 mph above the speed limit, or running a red light. In fact, the Foundation study found that potentially aggressive actions –such as tailgating, erratic lane changing, or illegal passing – are a factor in up to 56% of fatal crashes.

Check out this link from the AAA Foundation for detailed information on things you can do to avoid becoming involved in a road rage incident.

https://www.aaafoundation.org/store/road-rage-how-avoid-aggressive-driving

Monday, January 28, 2013

One Car Injury Accident at 143rd/Hemlock, Driver Sustained Serious Injuries

On Monday January 28th, 2013 at approximately 12:01 p.m., Overland Park Police responded to a one car injury accident in the area of W. 143rd Street and Hemlock. 

Preliminary investigation indicates the driver was eastbound on W. 143rd Street and lost control of the vehicle causing it to roll-over several times.  The driver was transported to an area hospital with life threatening injuries.

Westbound 143rd Street is currently closed from US69 Highway to Antioch Road.

The Overland Park Police Traffic Safety Unit continues to investigate this accident.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Two More Vehicles Stolen While Warming Up on Thursday

With the temperatures well below freezing for a good portion of 2013, there’s a natural temptation to warm up your car and leave the keys in it while you’re inside. For the majority of people who practice this habit on a regular basis there are usually no negative consequences, but a few unfortunate people have become the victims of auto theft.

During all of 2012, the Overland Park Police Department took a total of five reports from owners who had their vehicles stolen while warming up outside. So far in 2013 we’ve taken six reports, including two that just occurred yesterday morning. Colder temperatures so far this year as compared to 2012 is certainly a good reason the number is higher.

Thieves are finding it tougher to steal cars with the various anti-theft technologies installed by auto manufacturers, so they look for easier targets such as unattended vehicles sitting with the keys in them.

Investing in a remote starter is another way to limit easy access to your vehicle. Anything you can do will be a lot cheaper than the alternative of having to call your insurance agent to explain to them how your car was stolen and hope there was no fine print in your policy disallowing coverage for leaving the vehicle running. There’s also the hassle of trying to get another vehicle to get to work, not to mention replacing anything of value that was inside of it when it was stolen.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

One Little Lost Lamb

Regardless of our religious beliefs or non-beliefs, most all of us have heard the parable of the lost lamb and how the good shepherd went to extraordinary measures to find and protect that one lone animal.  Most of us have heard it because it is a great story of loyalty, dedication and the importance we place on every one of our flock.
This morning the community awoke to the modern day example of the good shepherd and the lost lamb.  A missing three year old had wandered away from his apartment and the protective shepherds of our time, the police, were frantically looking for one lost little boy.  Resources from neighboring communities poured into Lenexa to assist in their search which had been underway for some time.   It seemed for a moment that no matter what the resource necessary or the effort required that the community had stopped in place, dropping everything that was going on, to search for and find this one child. 
For that moment all of our other priorities were set aside.  Nothing else mattered, short of returning that child to his family.  In addition to the police, the community rallied and the neighbors came out to search, as well.  The TV stations were non-stop in their efforts to get the word out.  It was as if the whole world, for one moment, was locked together in a common purpose and a common goal.  The best part of this story is that it had a happy ending.  He was returned home, safe and sound, to the waiting arms of his mother. 
But the lesson from this story is something much different.  The lesson is the extraordinarily powerful capability of a unified community working on a common goal.  Isn’t it too bad that we can’t all come together the same way to solve all of the problems that plague us?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Road Rage Revisited

This past Monday, The Overland Park Police Department responded on a reported shooting in the area of W. 79th and Metcalf that stemmed from a road rage incident. Luckily, no one was hurt when at least five rounds were fired from a handgun at another driver.

Our preliminary investigation of the incident on Monday indicated both drivers were engaged in aggressive driving that put the lives of others at risk. The ordeal subsequently ended up with one of the driver’s pulling out a handgun and letting a few rounds fly towards the other driver. Certainly this is not the kind of report we expect to be taking during the morning commute.

The actions of these two drivers are a daily occurrence on our roadways all across the nation. Conduct a search of the topic and you’ll find numerous cases where the situation like the one above has been played out numerous times but with tragic outcomes.

Aggressive driving and road rage incidents are directly related to each other and reports of both continue to rise. During 2012, Overland Park Officers took a total of 77 reported road rage incidents. Many of them resulted in no charges while others would be categorized as forms of assault, battery, criminal damage to property, and disorderly conduct reports. The number of reports should be higher, but a lot of these encounters are never reported to police.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that road rage "involves a criminal act of violence, whereas aggressive driving can range from tailgating, to speeding, to running red lights." Here are a few NHTSA tips to help you avoid becoming another “Road Rage” statistic:

  •  Don't take traffic problems personally
  • Avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver
  • Don't make obscene gestures ("that makes you a player and suddenly it begins to escalate")
  • Don't tailgate
  • Use your horn sparingly (the polite honk can be misinterpreted)
  • Don't block the passing lane (some drivers think you're doing something to them when you do this)
  • Don't block the right hand turn lane
 The old saying “it takes two to tango” is providential when discussing road rage and aggressive driving because in a majority of the cases it was the actions of both drivers that caused the escalation. Do yourself and the general public a favor and make the choice not to engage in this type of behavior.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

TRAFFIC ALERT: I-435 & U.S. 69 Interchange

EXPECT DELAYS! DAYTIME RAMP CLOSURES: Eastbound I-435 to northbound U.S. 69 ramp will be CLOSED for the constructing bridge piers on Wednesday-Thursday, January 23-24 between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day. Crews will be constructing bridge piers for the new ramp bridge from southbound U.S. 69 to College Boulevard.

Advance message boards will alert traffic to the ramp closures. A marked detour will be provided. Eastbound I-435 traffic will detour via southbound U.S. 69 to the College Boulevard exit back onto northbound U.S. 69. Drivers should expect delays and must use alternate routes during the ramp closures.

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.

NOTE: In the event of inclement weather (rain, snow, etc.), the ramp closures will be suspended and rescheduled for a later date.

To find out about more about the I-435 & U.S. 69 Interchange Area Improvement Red Project, visit the project website at: http://www.ksdot.org/kcMetro/projectstudytest.asp.

Friday, January 18, 2013

2012 By the Numbers: Total Accidents

Earlier this week we published the top 20 High Accident Locations (HALS) for the year 2012. Today, we wanted to expand a little on that list and give you the total accident statistics for 2012.

In looking at the list of HALS earlier this week, you noticed that all but two of them decreased, which is obviously something we’re very happy with. Since the list of twenty showed significant decreases over the year, does that mean overall accidents were down as well?


Looking at the graph above, you could definitely surmise that 2012 was an improvement compared to 2011. What factors caused this?  Several things did really, from the weather to enforcement/education - and possibly a little luck mixed in there, as well.

When the word “enforcement” is mentioned, it’s natural to assume this means a drastic increase in the number of citations written in order to get the results above, but that certainly wasn’t the case for 2012. Hazardous citations increased by only 376 tickets (2%), while non-hazardous citations fell 14% as compared to 2011.

The goal of our enforcement/education activity is to save lives by keeping the roadways safe for all those who travel upon them. The overall mission of our enforcement efforts is to try to change driver behavior.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Prostitution Sting Results in 6 Arrests

The Overland Park Police Department conducted a Vice Sting on Wednesday, January 16th, which resulted in the arrests of four prostituted women and two men for patronizing a prostitute.

In order to combat all forms of prostitution, the Overland Park Police Vice Unit, in conjunction with other department assets, will work closely with hotel, motel and apartment operators. We will educate employees to recognize likely vice activity and encourage them to share the information with us.

We will also conduct regular “sting” operations where police officers will pose as prostitutes and customers in order to identify, arrest, and prosecute prostitutes, promoters, and customers.

Through these and other efforts, we expect to send the message that prostitution is not welcome in Overland Park.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Police Currently Investigating a Serious Injury Accident

This morning around 5:35 a.m., Overland Park Police responded to a one car injury accident in the 11500 block of Mastin. 

The preliminary investigation indicates the driver was traveling at a high rate of speed and lost control. The vehicle rolled over and struck a tree. The driver, a male in his 20’s, was transported to a local hospital with life threatening injuries.

Overland Park Police Traffic Safety Unit Officers continue to investigate this accident.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2012 By the Numbers: DUI’s

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), in the United States, the number of drunk driving deaths has been cut in half since MADD was founded in 1980.

In 2011, 9,878 people were killed and approximately 350,000 were injured. Each crash, each death, each injury impacts not only the person in the crash, but family, friends, classmates, coworkers and more. Even those who have not been directly touched help pay the $132 billion yearly price tag of drunk driving. but together we can eliminate drunk driving.

Here in Overland Park, the number of DUI-related arrests has decreased over the last three years, which is something we’ve gladly promoted on several recent blogs. As we look at reasons why the numbers have declined, it’s fair to acknowledge that alcohol-related fatalities are also on the decline.

Number of DUI Arrests (Overland Park):     2012    2011    2010
                                                                             701      757      950

MADD contributes this reduction to the administration of tougher DUI penalties, especially given the fact that about one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of alcohol are repeat offenders.

According to the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA):

Communities throughout America support increased criminal justice efforts to stop this illegal and life threatening offense. Studies show that the majority of Americans consider impaired driving one of our nation’s most important social issues ahead of healthcare, poverty/hunger, racism and education. Nearly 97 percent of Americans view impaired driving as a major threat to the community. As a result, the majority of Americans support increased use of enforcement efforts, such as saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints, to protect innocent victims. Two-thirds of Americans strongly endorse the use of stricter and more severe penalties against impaired drivers to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Here in Overland Park we are still using the same resources that we have for the last few years or so, and the emphasis has not changed during that time. The key to our results have been the hard work by officers in this department and the ongoing enforcement and education campaigns. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

2012 By the Numbers: High Accident Locations (HALS)

Each quarter we’ve shared with you the top ten accident locations throughout the city of Overland Park and how those locations compared to the previous quarter. The information provided to us by our Crime Analysis Unit is critical as we try to determine why these locations fall where they do on the list. It’s also a great tool to help us better allocate our resources in order to try to properly manage these locations, especially those at the top.

If you asked every comparable mid-size city, they should be able to give you a similar list of the high accident locations within their boundaries. The key for us has been the recognition of the issues that have contributed to these statistics and exploring alternatives or solutions to the problem.

As was mentioned in the past, we know there are certain mitigating factors which will always have an impact on the numbers, such as road construction or the large number of vehicles which travel through the various locations on a daily basis.

Looking at the final numbers for 2012, we’re pleased with the results and the efforts made by this department to reduce all but two of them, as compared to 2011. Number two on the list, I-435/Quivira, saw a total increase of just three accidents, which isn’t too bad considering the ongoing construction in that area.
  
#
LOCATION
     2012
2011
% Change
1
I435 HWY / METCALF AVE
85
96
-11.5%
2
I435 HWY / QUIVIRA RD
83
80
3.8%
3
135 ST / US69 HWY
55
66
-16.7%
4
COLLEGE BLVD / US69 HWY
51
58
-12.1%
5
I435 HWY / US69 HWY
48
54
-11.1%
6
75 ST / METCALF AVE
42
44
-4.5%
7
135 ST / HEMLOCK ST
41
30
36.7%
8
COLLEGE BLVD / QUIVIRA RD
38
41
-7.3%
9
I435 HWY / ANTIOCH RD
38
50
-24.0%
10
119 ST / US69 HWY
37
43
-14.0%
11
75 ST / I35 HWY
37
44
-15.9%
12
151 ST / US69 HWY
36
43
-16.3%
13
I435 HWY / ROE AVE
36
43
-16.3%
14
I435 HWY / NALL AVE
33
47
-29.8%
15
135 ST / METCALF AVE
27
37
-27.0%
16
95 ST / US69 HWY
27
53
-49.1%
17
COLLEGE BLVD / METCALF AVE
27
28
-3.6%
18
115 ST / METCALF AVE
25
29
-13.8%
19
95 ST / METCALF AVE
23
31
-25.8%
20
107 ST / METCALF AVE
22
23
-4.3%


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 these various locations throughout the city will hopefully continue to reduce motor vehicle collisions.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Beyond Everyday Police Equipment

When the risks are high and hazardous situations threaten life, property and safety, what do you need? You need a specialized team of highly trained men and women with hi-tech equipment to appropriately respond. Overland Park’s S.W.A.T team is ready to respond whenever extreme circumstances arise. The team regularly trains with some of the most sophisticated equipment available today. The goal is to successfully resolve dangerous operations as safely as possible.

The most visible piece of S.W.A.T equipment is the Ballistically Engineered Armored Rescue vehicle (B.E.A.R). The B.E.A.R is made by Lenco and is equipped with a blast fragmentation resistant floor, specially designed gun ports, a roof hatch with a rotating turret, run flat tires, gear storage and much more. It weighs more than 17 tons, is 11 feet tall and 26 feet long. It has multiple uses but is primarily used to transport the S.W.A.T. team into close proximity of the threat without placing the Officers in undue danger. The B.E.A.R. is a highly secure vehicle. S.W.A.T. Sgt. Ryan Miller commented, “When you are inside the B.E.A.R. you are in the safest place in Overland Park.” The B.E.A.R is used by S.W.A.T. teams around the world and was recently credited with saving the lives of two Officers in Pittsburg, PA., when fired upon by a suspect with a rifle.

Another specialized and highly useful piece of equipment the S.W.A.T. team has is Remington’s Eye Ball Camera. It is used in tactical operations where members of the S.W.A.T. team need to see the situation before entering a building, floor or room. It can quickly be attached to a pole providing visibility into ceilings and attics or can be attached to a lowering wire, allowing the officer to safely clear stairwells. The Eye Ball Camera is about the size of a baseball, has the ability to rotate 360 degrees, and remotely sends the captured images back to a hand held 6.4 inch T.V. screen.

These are just two of the frequently used pieces of extraordinary equipment the S.W.A.T. team uses on a tactical operation. Both the B.E.A.R. and the Eye Ball Camera are designed to limit the risk of injury to both Officers and suspects. They are invaluable tools for enabling the Overland Park S.W.A.T. team to fulfill its commitment to ending high risk situations as quickly and safely as possible.