Thursday, February 28, 2013

Underage Drinking

Back in December, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) highlighted a study on underage drinking conducted by Monitoring the Future. In that particular study, it was noted that for the first time since the survey began in 1991, fewer than 30% of 8th graders had drunk underage.   The bad news to come out of that study revealed the fact that drinking amongst 12th graders went up during 2012.

More than half of all high school seniors (54%) have been drunk at some time and over half of those have been drunk in the past month.  In addition, almost one out of every four 12th graders reported binge drinking in the past two weeks.

As a police department, those numbers continue to be an alarming statistic and one that needs our constant attention.

The table below shows the number of Overland Park DUI arrests for minors (under the age of 21) over the last five years. As you can see the numbers have gone down considerably compared to what they were during 2008-2010.


Now let’s look at the number of Overland Park alcohol arrests involving minors during that same five year period. Although the number of arrests in 2012 is up slightly compared to 2011, it’s still well below the numbers for 2009 and 2010. Nationwide, the overall numbers are still at unacceptable levels and will require a community-based response to continue to get the message out.


Below is a video from MADD’s website that won their second annual Power of You(th)® video contest to prove that underage drinking is not cool. The winning entry was submitted by 17-year-old Jason Girouard from Brimfield, MA.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lessons Learned

During the two-day period of snowfall last week, the Overland Park Police Department took a total of 26 accidents in the city limits. During this last snow storm we had only ten reports.

Picture Courtesy of CNN
The lower number can be attributed to several different factors: the timing of this storm as compared to last week; people were more prepared this time around. The lessons learned from the last storm were apparent as many people stayed home and allowed the snowplows to do their job without having to maneuver around stuck or abandoned vehicles.

The hard work and effort displayed by the employees of this city, combined with the selfless acts demonstrated by its citizens helped to lessen this storms impact.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Please Be Cautious Around Snow Plows

So far this morning the Overland Park Police Department has taken two accident reports involving snow plows, and had a near miss involving another one. With these incidents in mind, we ask drivers to be extra cautious as they share the roads with snow plows.

A snow plow driver’s field of vision is often restricted, especially when they’re concentrating on the task at hand. You may see them, but they may not always see you. Keep your distance (at least 100 feet) and be prepared for sudden stops because they are too busy to watch out for motorists who try to pass plows or follow too closely.

It’s important for all motorists to allow plow operators room to work to avoid a potentially deadly collision. Be patient, slow down and ensure you are well prepared for winter roads. Remember to adjust your speed to the existing conditions.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thanks from a Grateful Officer

During the snow storm on Thursday there were hundreds of calls to the police department from stranded motorists who needed help.  It was a long, hard day and everyone working did a fantastic job. As was mentioned in the blog on Friday, both the community and the officers did an extraordinary job of stepping up to this winter challenge.

Officer Dianna Brokaw sent an email to her supervisor telling us what a great job the community did and how much of an impact it made on her ability to do her job that day.

Officer Brokaw writes: “My patrol car got stuck 3 times and citizens pushed me out of the snow.  Also, traffic was stopped on westbound I-435 on the exit ramp to Quivira. All the traffic trying to merge from US69 was also stopped.  Several men came to me asking about plows and tow trucks and I explained this scene was one of many, and crews were working as quickly as they could.

After about an hour, a few of the men asked if there was anything they could do.  Jokingly, I said if they could push the 50-plus cars up the ramp, I would direct traffic and get everyone off the highway.  They did it!

About 30 to 40 men, in groups of 5 or 6, systematically pushed one vehicle after another up the ramp so they could exit onto Quivira. They even managed to get one of the semi trucks off the ramp. There were people digging with shovels and someone with a small plow on the front of his truck made three passes on the ramp so vehicles could make it up. Once the ramp was clear, they helped me direct cars up the hill at a pace that allowed them to make it to the top without getting stuck again. In all, about 200 vehicles got off the highway and were finally able to continue their trek home. Everyone was in good spirits and no one complained.

It is well known that the American people are resilient, hard working, and generous; especially in times of trouble. Our community really came through for us and I believe we owe them a debt of gratitude for their assistance. Well, at least I do.”

Respectfully,

Officer Dianna Brokaw #933

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dedication and Acts of Kindness

As you can imagine, yesterday was a busy day for Overland Park’s first responders.

From 5:00 am Thursday through 5:00 am Friday morning, police dispatchers received 633 calls for service but, interestingly enough, only seven of those were accidents reports. The majority of them was in the form of motorist assist calls (399) and abandoned vehicles (78). In addition, officers took 81 reports which is about double the daily number.

Obviously, drivers responded to the intense nature of the storm and heavy snow accumulations by adjusting their driving speeds. Judging by the low number of accident reports, it was also evident that drivers were being extra cautious as they navigated their way around the city.

Many thanks go out to the officers who diligently worked twelve straight hours assisting stranded motorists, with most of that time spent pushing cars out of the snow.

If you happened to drive around the city during this time, there was a good chance you witnessed complete strangers stopping to assist others in their time of need.

Whether it was by grabbing a shovel to dig out a stranded motorist, pushing the bumper of a car, or shoveling an elderly neighbor’s driveway, acts of kindness could been seen throughout the city. These are all examples of what make this city such a great place to live and work.

Thursday, February 21, 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 date.

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.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vandals Smash Windows on Six Vehicles Overnight

Overland Park Police are investigating an overnight vandalism spree as six cars had their rear windows smashed and broken out. Officers were dispatched around 11:00 pm last night to the 9100 block of Conser Street and found the damaged vehicles.

According to the owners, nothing was taken from inside their vehicles and they were unaware of why they were targeted. The damage appeared to be caused by a baseball bat or similar object.

Anyone with information on this vandalism event is asked to call the Overland Park Police Department at (913) 344-8750.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Be Careful During Wintry Conditions

With the anticipated ice and snowfall accumulations being predicting for this Thursday, it’s a good time to remind everyone about winter driving safety. The best advice is to do what you can to avoid being involved in an accident. Slow down during hazardous weather conditions and allow additional time to get to your destination.

Below you’ll find some clips provided to us by our City Traffic Engineers showing how treacherous the roadways can become with just a small amount of ice or snow. These crashes were from last Friday night on a stretch of US 69 Highway.

Winter Driving Tips:

1. Be sure all occupants are "buckled up."
2. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop.
3. Brake gently to avoid skidding.
4. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility.
5. Use low gears to maintain traction, especially on hills.
6. Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
7. Take extra caution on bridges and overpasses. They freeze quickly.
8. Don't pass snowplows and sand trucks.
9. Keep your windshield clean.
10. Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Four-wheel drive is of little benefit on icy roads.

If you become stranded, stay with your vehicle, running your engine and heater for short intervals. Be sure to "crack" a window open to avoid carbon monoxide build-up.


 

Monday, February 18, 2013

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

EXPECT DELAYS! RAMP CLOSURES: Westbound I-435 to southbound U.S. 69 and the northbound U.S. 69 to westbound I-435 ramps will be CLOSED for the setting of bridge girders each day on Tuesday-Wednesday, February 19-20 between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Crews will be setting girders for the new ramp bridge collector-distributor system for the southbound U.S. 69 to College Boulevard exit (that will span over eastbound and westbound I-435).

Advance message boards will alert traffic to the ramp closures and the detours. The westbound I-435 to southbound U.S. 69 ramp traffic will detour via northbound U.S. 69 to westbound 103rd Street to southbound U.S. 69. The northbound U.S. 69 to westbound I-435 traffic will detour via westbound 103rd Street to southbound U.S. 69 to westbound I-435. 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.

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, February 15, 2013

Results of the Accident Awareness Campaign on February 12th

Listed below are the statistical results of the Driver Awareness Campaign conducted by the Overland Park Police Department on Tuesday, February 12th. The event was conducted during a (6) hour period at various locations in our city. Most of the locations worked were High Accident Locations and Traffic Complaint Areas.

148 - Traffic Tickets Issued

3 - Warrant Arrests

125 - Vehicles Stopped

The next High Visibility Traffic Enforcement date is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, March 13th, 2013. The primary goals of the monthly enforcement initiatives are to reduce motor vehicle collisions through selective enforcement, education and deterrence.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Vice Sting Results in 13 Arrests on Wednesday Night

The Overland Park Police Department 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 13 people who were charged with either prostitution, patronizing a prostitute, or promoting prostitution.

Of those arrested, six were charged as prostituted women, three were arrested for patronizing a prostitute, and four people were charged with promoting prostitution.

The Overland Park Police Department will continue to confront vice activity in its hotels, motels and apartment communities. We want to get the message out that you’re taking an increased risk if you come to Overland Park to conduct this type of activity.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Residential Security Tips

After an aggravated burglary (burglar entered the home while someone was inside) occurred in Overland Park last week, we wanted to provide you with a few reminders to keep yourself safe while at home.

·      Neighbors:  Meet and get to know your neighbors. Neighbors know what does and does not belong on your street. A good neighbor always reports suspicious activity to the police. Many crimes are solved because of a watchful neighbor writing down a license plate number or a description of a car.  Never take action yourself—call 911 so an officer can respond.

·      Doors and strangers: Keep your exterior doors locked. NEVER OPEN YOUR DOOR TO A STRANGER.  If a stranger knocks on your door, answer the door, but DO NOT OPEN IT. Most burglars knock or ring the doorbell to check for occupancy. Let them know the residence is occupied because you don’t want to play hide and seek with a burglar.

·      House numbers:  Let emergency responders know how to find your house.  House numbers should be at least 4” high (6” is even better).  Drive up to your house at night and see if you can clearly read your house numbers.

·      Household items:  Ladders, bicycles, and garden hoses become easy targets—secure them when not in use.

·      Garage door:  Keep it closed and locked!  Keep it closed and locked!  Keep it closed and locked!  Did we say keep it closed and locked?!

·      Lighting: The front of your house should have adequate lighting (low voltage or solar path lights, dim soffit and landscape lighting), and motion sensing light on the sides and back of the residence.

·      Vehicles: When vehicles are left parked outside, always lock the doors and remove valuables (purses, billfolds, briefcases, laptops, MP3 player, GPS).  Never leave a running vehicle unattended.

·      Alarms: If you have an alarm system, make sure everyone in the residence knows how to use the alarm. More than 99% of all alarms are false. Make sure a trusted neighbor or close relative can respond to your home in case of an alarm.

·      Report it:  To report suspicious activity, the non-emergency number for the Overland Park Police is 913-895-6300.  If it is an emergency call 911.

  • Get a Security Survey:  A crime prevention officer will come to your house to perform a residential security survey. The survey is FREE and will include more tips to help protect your home from being a target.  Call 913-895-6945 or use OPCares at www.opkansas.org to schedule your survey.

Officer Koehn visits with a homeowner


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Driver Awareness Campaign Tuesday February 12th

The Overland Park Police Department will be conducting a Driver Awareness Campaign on Tuesday February 12th, from the hours of 7:30 am until 2:45 pm.

Officers will be working High Accident Locations and Traffic Complaint Areas throughout the city. They will be enforcing all traffic violations, but will be paying particular attention to those violations likely to result in a motor vehicle crash.

7:30 am to 9:00 am
W. 87th Street & US 69 Hwy/Lenexa Drive 
W. 75th Street and I-35 Highway
W. 85th Street and Grant Street 

9:15 am to 10:45 am
College Blvd & US 69 Hwy
I-435 Highway & Antioch Road
I-435 Highway & Quivira Road

Noon to 1:30 pm
I-435 Highway & Metcalf Avenue
I-435 Highway & Nall Avenue  
W. 103rd Street & Nall Avenue

1:45 pm to 2:45 pm
I-435 Highway & Roe Avenue
W. 135th Street & US 69 Highway
I-435 Highway & Antioch Road

Monday, February 11, 2013

Results of Non-Grant DUI Saturation Patrol

The Overland Park Police Department conducted a DUI Saturation Patrol on Friday, February 8th, 2013. The DUI Saturation Patrol was conducted with the intent to reduce alcohol related auto accidents and discourage impaired driving.

The DUI Saturation Patrol was enforced between 10:00 PM and 2:00 AM.

Please review the statistical results:
2     -    DUI arrests               
3     -    Drivers tested for DUI
3     -    Speeding
2     -    Safety Belts   
1     -     Drug Arrests
1     -     Lane Change Violations
1     -     Suspended Driver’s License
2     -    No Liability Insurance             
1     -     Right/Left Turn Violations
1     -     Transporting Open Container (Alcohol)
1     -     Red Light Violations
1     -     Defective Equipment  

15   -    Total vehicles stopped    
According to the National Highway Transportation Administration:

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. And, two-thirds of Americans strongly endorse the use of stricter and more severe penalties against impaired drivers, to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Non-Grant DUI Saturation Patrol Tonight

The Overland Park, Kansas Police Department is conducting a DUI Saturation Patrol on Friday, February 8th, 2013. 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. A team of Traffic Safety 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. Additional testing may be required after that.

Drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs pose a significant threat to the motoring public. Each year, thousands of motorists are killed in this country as a result of an impaired driver. Removing impaired drivers from our roadways is a top priority of this department.

The officers assigned to the Saturation Patrols have significant experience in DUI apprehension. The patrols will also include officers specially trained as Drug Recognition Experts (DRE). An officer certified as a DRE has received extensive training in identifying a driver who is under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs.

Please don’t drink and drive. If you are out and choose to consume alcohol, call a taxi or have a sober designated driver.

To report an impaired driver in Overland Park, call Police Dispatch at 895-6300 or 911.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Two Suspects Taken into Custody for Aggravated Burglary

Overland Park Police were called to the 10500 block of Flint regarding an aggravated burglary in progress call. At approximately 12:05 pm. this afternoon, the homeowner was inside when two suspects came to her residence and knocked on the door. When she didn’t answer, one of them forced entry into the back of the home while the other suspect waited in the car.

The homeowner retreated upstairs and contacted police. The suspect in the vehicle was taken into custody without incident. The other suspect left the area on foot, but was apprehended a short time later by officers in the 10600 block of Quivira.

The homeowner was not injured during the burglary. The investigation is still ongoing and no further information is available at this time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Stranger Danger Tips for Kids and Parents

In light of the information we received yesterday on an attempted abduction in Overland Park, as well as a couple more reported in Shawnee, it’s a good time to remind parents and children about “Stranger Danger”.

The information below was provided by “ehow.com” and offers some excellent information and useful safety tips to help safeguard our most valuable resource – OUR KIDS!

Basics

Never tell a stranger your name or address. If a stranger comes to your house and you're alone, do not answer the door. If a stranger calls, never tell them you're home alone. Tell them your parent is busy, or in the shower, or taking a nap and take a message. Never enter a stranger's home without your parent. Never accept anything, including candy or a gift of any kind, from a stranger.

Outdoor Safety

Children are most often approached by strangers while outside and alone. For this reason, always use the buddy system when walking somewhere. Always tell your parents exactly where you're going. Never walk through a forested area as a shortcut. If a stranger approaches you, run away from them. Trust your instinct, if you feel like someone is following you, find help right away and tell a trusted grown-up.

Ploys

Dangerous strangers often try to trick children into coming with them. They may ask you to help them find their lost puppy or kitten. They may ask you to give them directions somewhere. A dangerous stranger may ask you to help them with a wounded baby animal. Know that an adult should not be asking a child to help them; they should be asking an adult. If a stranger approaches you and asks for help, run away. Another trick is that the stranger may tell you that your parent sent them to pick you up. Never go with the stranger until you have heard from your parent directly that this is true.

Plan to Stay Safe

The best way to stay safe from strangers is to have a plan. Talk to your parents and learn who are the safe adults for you to go to should you feel like a stranger is bothering you. Some of these safe adults may be trusted neighbors, teachers or policemen. Practice with your parents how you would yell "No!" and run away if a stranger tried to take you. Make a map with your parents of places where you normally walk, such as to and from school, and always follow that map, so your parents will know where you are. Carry an identification card with you, with your name, address, phone number and parent's cell phone numbers, in case of an emergency.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Overland Park Police Investigating Attempted Abduction Involving Child

 Police investigators are currently seeking information on an attempted child abduction that occurred this morning in the area of W. 80th Street and Glenwood.

The victim said she was walking to her bus stop when a male in a white pickup truck stopped and told her to get into his vehicle. The suspect was holding a black handgun, but did not point it at the victim. The victim ran away from the suspect towards her bus stop. The suspect then left the area.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 30’s, wearing a dark blue hooded sweatshirt and wire rimmed glass. He also had a trimmed beard and mustache

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.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Free Child Car Seat Inspections

Did you know that seven out ten child car seats are improperly installed? The Overland Park Police Department wants to help. The Police Department offers free Child Car Seat inspections on the first Wednesday of each month from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. The next one is scheduled for this Wednesday, February 6th.

The inspections are conducted at the Myron E. Scafe Police Building at 8500 Antioch. Inspections are done by appointment only. An inspection takes approximately thirty minutes. There are two ways to schedule an appointment: You can go to http://www.opkansas.org/ and then click on the OPCares link or call 913-327-5677 ext. 6419.

Friday, February 1, 2013

“Homeless Cell Phone Fraud” Suspects Arrested

Overland Park Police Detectives have been warning area cell phone retailers about a group traveling across the country recruiting homeless or indigent people to buy cell phones on their behalf. This profitable scam has been evident to us since 2010, with groups from all over the country coming to the Midwest to scam retailers out of new, expensive smart phones.

The suspects would recruit people from homeless shelters, blood banks, and off the street, to get them to sign up for a cell phone contract in order to qualify for a new phone. The enlisted individuals are promised a cash payment between $25.00 - $50.00 on average for their participation in acquiring cellular telephone service. Cellular telephone providers through their promotion would offer a free telephone with the purchase of a telephone with a 2-year service contract. 

In some cases, the service contracts would contain false information which makes it impossible for cellular telephone providers to collect when the contract defaults, or the participant in the fraud has no intentions of fulfilling the 2-year service contract.  Eventually, the contract cancels for nonpayment, leaving the cellular telephone providers with a financial loss for the cellular telephone service and their hardware.

Yesterday, Overland Park Police were called to a local electronics store regarding a group from Michigan in the store attempting to get new phones by utilizing this exact scam. Detectives were called out and four subjects were eventually arrested and transported to the County Jail to await formal charges from the District Attorney’s Office.