Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bilingual Skills Are Put To the Test

Officer Jordan Johnson (left) with  a Blue Valley ESOL
Kindergarten Class.
The Overland Park Police Department (OPPD) has partnered with the Blue Valley School District (BVSD) since its inception.  OPPD has provided D.A.R.E. Officers in the past and currently staffs all BVSD high schools and middle schools with School Resource Officers (SRO).

One of the many activities we are honored to participate in is speaking requests to students.  On June 20th, 2014 Officer Jordan Johnson was asked to partner with Blue Valley School Officers to teach kindergarten students about police officers.  This particular class was somewhat of a challenge for the officers because English is the second language of the students.
Officer Jordan, a bilingual officer, speaks Spanish and was happy to assist the class in providing instruction in both languages.  He, and the other officers, made a quick connection with the students and they very much enjoyed talking with the officers and seeing the police equipment. 

We value our continued partnership with the BVSD and all the students in our City.  Tammi Graff, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Teacher, said “the kids were thrilled with the presentation” and “pulling the police car up by the building, out of the rain, so the students didn’t have to miss the car experience was perfect”.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

National Night Out (NNO) Is Almost Here

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 is National Night Out (NNO) across the country. NNO held its first event on August 7, 1984. It was introduced as "America's Night Out Against Crime".

The purpose of NNO is to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and to send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are involved and partnered with police to fight crime.

Last year, 37.8 million people in over 16,124 communities across the country participated in NNO activities. This year, at least 19 neighborhoods in Overland Park will officially participate in NNO activities. Many of our residents will turn on their exterior lights to support NNO but, some will also have picnics and other outdoor events.

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is designed to:

• Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
• Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs;
• Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
• Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Make yourself aware of what is happening in your neighborhood, and call police if you witness a crime or see suspicious activity. The Police Department relies on our citizens to be watchful and make us aware of things that are happening. Police Officers cannot be everywhere all the time, but together we can have a huge impact on crime and keep our community safe.

The link below will take you to a website that provides more information on National Night Out.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

OPPD Now Has A Permanent Drug Drop Box

Beginning on July 24th the residents of Overland Park now have a permanent and convenient location to dispose of excess and expired prescription and over-the-counter medications.

The Overland Park Police Department has partnered with the Johnson County Regional Prevention Center to establish a permanent Prescription Drug Take Back Drop Box which is located inside the Sanders Justice Center (12400 Foster Street). The hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm.

This service is free and can be done anonymously without having to fill out any paperwork. Any items dropped off should be in pill or patch form only, no liquids or needles will be accepted.

“Teens and young adults access the majority of prescription drugs of abuse from friends and relatives. Adults can be the unknowing suppliers of prescription medications being used in unintended ways. We are thankful for another opportunity for Johnson County citizens to dispose of medications in a safe and environmentally responsible way. Working in partnership with the Overland Park Police Department, we hope to help reduce access to potential medications of abuse” - Shana Burgess, Director, The Regional Prevention Center of Johnson County Mental Health.

Interim Police Chief Mark Kessler had this to say about the box, “I'd like to personally thank the Regional Prevention Center for taking the initiative to make this permanent drug box a reality. The drop box will provide the residents of Overland Park with a safe and efficient way to get rid of unwanted and unused medications. This effort will hopefully decrease the chance that they'll become misused or abused.”

Since the inception of the DEA's Drug Take Back Event in 2011, 4.1 million pounds (2,123 tons) of prescription medications have been removed from circulation. To date, there have been 7,086 pounds of pills taken back at Overland Park drop off locations since October 2011.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Now's the Time to Sign Up for the Next Citizen's Police Academy

Are you curious about the different roles and various assignments members of the police department engage in on a daily basis? If the answer is yes, then we've got a great deal for you.

In our on-going effort to partner with our citizens and to provide them an opportunity to get to know us, we are pleased to announce our next Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA). The goal of the CPA is to provide citizens with the knowledge and understanding of the basic functions that are  provided by the Overland Park Police Department. Each participant will be able to ask questions, receive definitive information and participate in practical police exercises.

The CPA is an eight-week (28-hour) academy and begins on September 23rd through November 11th. Participants will learn about patrol operations, firearms training, crime analysis, narcotics, traffic enforcement and much more. These citizens will learn from “hands on” demonstrations what it’s really like to be a police officer.

For more information and/or to sign-up for the CPA please visit: or call Officer Betsy Selman at 913-469-8500 Ext. 4653. If interested, complete the online application before the September 16, 2014 deadline.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ramp to Southbound US69 Highway Shut Down at 135th for Trash Truck Fire

The Overland Park Police Department is currently working a fire at the ramp to southbound US69 Highway at 135th Street. A Deffenbaugh trash truck's load caught on fire and they had to drop the contents at that location.

Fire crews are on scene and the ramp will be closed for an extended amount of time while it's cleaned up.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Assistance Needed in Identifying Repeat Shoplifters

The Overland Park Police Department is requesting assistance in identifying two subjects involved in shoplifting items twice over a three day period. The pair also recently hit another beauty supply store in Johnson County.                                                      

The male and female in the attached pictures hit a beauty supply store in Overland Park on July 12th and 14th, taking over $1000 worth of products from that store alone.

The male suspect removes items from their packaging and places them inside his pockets while the female distracts the employees. Both of them leave the store without paying for anything.

The female is described as being in her early 20’s, approximately 5’4 and a thin build. One witness stated she had a tattoo outline of a blue and green dragon on her left calf.

The male is described as tall, with an average build, in his late 30’s –early 40’s, with a nose ring on the left side. He had a limp on his right leg and has been seen with and without a cane. Surveillance video has also shown him using the cane to support both legs.

Anyone with information on the identity of these individuals is asked to contact the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or Detective Byron Pierce at 913-535-3193.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Help Identify Repeat Cell Phone Thieves

Our Investigations Division is currently working on identifying individuals who've been involved in several thefts of cell phones from Kiosks located throughout Oak Park Mall.

So far we've taken a total of nine different theft reports involving these subjects.

Anyone with information on the identity of these people is asked to call the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS, or Detective Rick Breshears at 913-344-8767.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Detectives Need Help Identifying Suspect on Attempted Break-In

On 06/29/14 officers were dispatched to  a small retail store in the 7000 block of W. 105th Street on an attempted burglary report . When the owners of the business arrived in the morning, it was evident to them that someone had tried to enter the business overnight.

The suspect attempted to enter the store by kicking at the lower glass area of a side-entry door. His attempt failed  as he could only succeed cracking the window.   

This wouldn't be such a news-worthy case except for the fact that this particular business has experienced two forced-entry commercial burglaries in 2013, in addition to this latest attempt.  The cases from 2013 are still open and there's a good chance it may be the same suspect. The losses from those burglaries added up to around $15,000. 

The latest attempt was caught on a nearby surveillance camera. The suspect is a single white male of average build and proportionate height, wearing a dark T-shirt and long dark athletic shorts.
Please take a look at the surveillance photos below. If you can help us identify the suspect, call our Investigations Division at (913) 344-8750.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Results of the July 18th DUI Check Lane

The Overland Park Police Department and several Kansas police agencies conducted a DUI Check Lane on Friday, July 18th, 2014. The DUI Check Lane was conducted with the intent to reduce alcohol related auto accidents and discourage impaired driving.

Each driver was briefly interviewed by an officer as they entered the lane and provided with a brochure on Drinking and Driving. Of the 526 drivers who entered entering the check lane, 38 of them were given Field Sobriety testing.

Here are the results:

526 -    Vehicles entered the Check Lane

38   -    Drivers tested for DUI                       

4     -    Drivers arrested for DUI

1     -    Transporting Open Container (Alcohol)

4     -    Other arrests

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Blowing Smoke

There was a story on the news a couple weeks ago about this thing called “Rollin’ Coal”.  If you didn’t see the story and have no idea what we’re talking about “Rollin’ Coal” in short and put as basic as possible has to do with the exhaust coming from a vehicle.  A little more specifically and more commonly, the exhaust from diesel trucks.  Diesel trucks and exhaust?  Ok, so who hasn’t seen the exhaust from a diesel truck?  Well, this is actually a little more than that; it’s almost a sport.

YouTube videos show it best.  Drivers who have usually altered their vehicle or drive in such a manner as to produce excessive amounts of exhaust at just the right moment, or wrong moment, depending on who you are.  If you are the intended target for the smoke, say a bicyclist, pedestrian, Prius driver, and even a police car in one of these videos it can be more than just annoying.  In some cases that smoke is so thick that it creates a vision obstruction, not to mention it makes it a bit hard to breath until it clears.

Well after seeing that video we thought it might be a really good opportunity to do just a little law review for some folks who might have seen that same video and thought it would be fun to go rollin’ coal.

Please take note Overland Park Municipal Code 12.04.175 states “… the engine and power mechanism of every motor vehicle shall be so equipped and adjusted as to prevent the escape of excessive fumes or smoke.”  So before you decide to smoke out that walker, jogger, bicyclist, Prius driver or if you are foolish enough to try it out on a cop car, remember, your actions can earn you the unwanted autograph of one of our officers and the opportunity to visit the Overland Park Municipal Court.  Roll safe!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa - Hold the Presses!

Did you sleep well last night?  Hope so.  Better question - Did you catch the news this morning?  If you did, you probably heard that the midnight shift of Overland Park was busy catching an auto burglar in the 6100 block of Foster.

Around 3 am, thanks to a resident who wasn't sleeping yet, dispatch received a call of a possible auto burglar trying to enter unlocked vehicles in the parking lot.  Officers responded to the area and a short time later had one in custody!

But wait, there’s more!!  About an hour before that another citizen who also couldn't sleep, this one on the south end of town in the 15300 block of Robinson, called in car prowlers in the area.  Did we say prowlers?  Yes we did.  Three of them.  The midnight shift was able to make contact with these three (one adult and two juveniles) and took them into custody for auto burglary.

With these arrests people are probably asking the question, are any of these related the string of auto burglaries in Overland Park?  Yes, some of them are in very close proximity to those other burglary reports we've taken, but that is yet to be determined.  The cases are all still under investigation.

Here’s what we can say for sure:  Way to go midnight shift and way to go to our observant citizens!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

To Be Or Not To Be - Impaired

Do a search on the internet regarding fatalities related to DUI’s and the numbers you are likely to find are staggering.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2012 10,322 people died in drunk driving crashes.  That’s 1 death every 51 minutes.

In 2012, 239 children under the age of 14 were killed in DUI crashes.  Of those, 124 were riding WITH the drunk driver.

It’s not like we haven’t seen the public service announcements.  It’s not like we can claim we didn't know.  Even if there weren't public service announcements, word of mouth would probably get the message out there.  After all in 2011 there were over 1.2 million drivers arrested for DUI.

But here’s something you might not know, in 2009 NHTSA did a study and found that 18% of the reported fatality crashes involved drugs OTHER than alcohol.  That includes all those street drugs most people know about like marijuana, cocaine or meth and even the drugs you might not think of like prescription drugs and even some over the counter medications.

This Friday the Overland Park Police Department is going to be doing another DUI check lane.  Yes, another one.  Because as long as people are making the choice to drink and drive and running the risk of forever changing someone else’s life or that of loved ones, we will be out there taking enforcement action.

This is not one of those times where asking for forgiveness later is better than asking for permission first so here’s what you can do to be proactive:

  • Prior to drinking or partying, pick a NON-drinking and sober designated driver or make plans to take a cab.
  • Don’t let your friends drive impaired.
  • If you are hosting a party where alcohol is served, remind your guests to make plans ahead and offer alcohol free beverages.  We would recommend not serving drugs of any kind as a party snack or favor – not only is it a bad idea, it’s illegal.
  • Make sure your guests leave with a sober and unimpaired driver.

 As always, you can make a plan for your own ride, or we can arrange one for you.  Drive safe and no offense, but we hope we don’t have to see you Friday.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

It's in the Box

On June 24th, the male shown in the picture below walked into a retail store off of 97th Street carrying an empty square fan box. Incidentally, the brand depicted on the box was not sold by the particular store he had just entered.

The suspect proceeded to the electronics area and was able to gain access to two cell phones and a tablet computer. The suspect looked around making sure no employees were in the area, and then placed the electronic items into the empty fan box. He then placed the box in a gift bag and left the store without paying. Investigators are looking into the possibility the suspect may have had a  key to remove the items from their security devices.

The suspect is described as a white male, 18-20 years of age, 5’10 inches tall, 165lbs, and brown hair. The suspect departed in a black pickup truck with what appeared to be rust on the hood.  The male was a passenger in the truck and the driver was not visible on camera. (see photo below).

The same subject was captured on video at another Johnson County retailer stealing electronic items with the same fan box.  

If you can help us identify this thief please call the Overland Park Police Department at (913) 344-8750.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Help Identify Subjects Using Stolen Credit Cards

Our Investigations Division has released surveillance photos of four people they would like to identify from a recent theft case. The suspects were able to get away with over $2000 worth of electronics after they used a stolen credit card to purchase the items at an Overland Park electronics store on June 5.

The victim's purse was stolen along with her credit cards back on June 2 in Kansas City, Kansas. The suspects used fake identification to purchase the items in Overland Park. The three women and a Hispanic male driver fled the scene as police were arriving.

Anyone with information on the identity of these people is asked to call the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS, or the Overland Park Police Departments Investigation Division at 913-344-8750.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fireworks Calls

Over this 4th of July Holiday there were several media reports around the area of a number of people who have been injured, some seriously, because of fireworks.

The City of Overland Park has banned all fireworks for many years due to the potential for personal injury and property damage. When you think about it, most fireworks are a “controlled” explosion and/or material burning at a very high temperature! It's a risk that is simply not worth taking.

To give you an idea of what occurred in our City, we checked and found our Officers responded to 146 calls for service related to fireworks from July 1 through July 7th. Officers also made 44 arrests for violations of the ordinance. As mentioned in a previous blog, Overland Park Municipal Court fines range from $200.00 to $500.00 for these types of violations.

It’s simply not worth the risk of injury, property damage or the fines for fireworks.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Don't Get Caught With Illegal Fireworks

Each year, Overland Park police officers respond to numerous complaints about illegal fireworks.

Fireworks pose a serious danger to everyone. The city has a comprehensive ordinance prohibiting all forms of fireworks. Additional officers will be on the streets to specifically enforce the ordinance.

In Overland Park, it is illegal to purchase, possess or discharge any fireworks, including sparklers, snakes, firecrackers and other devices. Fines range from $200 to $500.

Each year, fireworks are the cause of injuries and fires that destroy homes and businesses, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage. You should know that you could be held financially responsible for damage you or your children cause.

Leave the fireworks to the experts and come see the Star Spangled Spectacular to enjoy a safe and fun filled Fourth of July in Overland Park. This 4th of July event, seen by thousands, is sponsored by the City of Overland Park, Corporate Woods and the Overland Park Rotary Club.

Activities begin at 4 p.m. with the free fireworks show set for about 9:30 p.m. at Founders' Park in Corporate Woods. (Rain date is Saturday, July 5, for fireworks only. No vendors or other activities on July 5).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Can You Identify These Recent Auto Burglars?

The first suspect's picture is from an auto burglary in the area of 78th and Lowell on June 29th. The person caught on the surveillance video was also seen with another white male.

The next suspect was also caught on surveillance video entering a vehicle on June 9th in the area of 139th and Hemlock. As you can see, he's joined by two other white males. There's a good chance the three of them are involved in the recent auto burglaries we've seen in the south end of the city over the last two weeks. The still photos of all three suspects follow the video.

The last set of pictures depict a white male who entered several vehicles at a residence in the 14600 block of Marty on June 29th. The white male was wearing a light colored outfit: shorts and a short sleeved shirt. He also had on baseball cap with sunglasses on it facing backwards, and was wearing black tennis shoes.

Anyone with information on the identity of these suspects are asked to call the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750.

June 29th 78th and Lowell

 June 9th, 139th and Hemlock

June 29th 14600 block of Marty

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Remove Valuables and Lock Your Vehicle

Yes, it really can be that simple.

Did you know that there are people who travel through neighborhoods in the middle of the night checking door handles on cars parked outside just to see if they're unlocked. In many cases they are, and in these unlocked vehicles are various electronics, GPS devices, phones, purses, wallets, and the list goes on and on.

Inside some of these unlocked vehicles you'll also find garage door openers that will allow thieves to gain access to the inside of your garage where your other vehicles are, or worse yet, the inside of your home. Leaving a garage door opener inside an unlocked car can be an open invitation to enter your house.

In 2013, the Overland Park Police Department took 298 auto burglary reports involving unlocked vehicles. That number is about half of all the auto burglaries. Just think of how much lower the total would be for the year if the owners had taken the time to secure their vehicles.

The majority of these thieves don't want to take the chance of waking up the neighborhood by breaking a window, hoping they'll find something of value inside - because there's too many other vehicles down the road that may be unlocked.

The simple solution is obvious in order to reduce the majority of these "crimes of opportunity." Lock it up and don't leave valuables inside!