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Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib live chat

March 28, 2011

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Tarik Khatib

New Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib will join us for a live chat with LJWorld.com users Monday, March 28, at 10 a.m. Submit your questions in advance below.

Moderator:

Welcome to our chat with Tarik Khatib, Lawrence's police chief. Thanks for joining us this morning, Tarik.

Tarik Khatib:

Thanks for having me. I look forward to participating.

Moderator:

We have a quite a few questions, so we will get started.

RalphGage:

Please tell us how to pronounce your name.

Tarik Khatib:

Tarik (say it like "Erik") and Khatib (silent "h").

flux:

Do you think the crime rate in Lawrence has risen as a result of the slump in the economy?

Tarik Khatib:

The are quite a few criminologists/sociologists who would debate both sides of this issue. Nationally, crime trends do not appear to have changed due to the economy; but often we don't see a change until several years after a worsening trend. Locally, our crime rate is higher than some communities due to demographics and also I would argue, officer workload. Addressing crime is going to take three components: Education of the community on how not to be a victim, smart environmental design, and police resources dedicated to incapacitation of the criminals; a concept called perpetrator oriented policing.

formerfarmer:

Do you plan on naming an assistant chief in the future?

Tarik Khatib:

The Lawrence Police Department used to have an Assistant Chief Position. I believe at some point in the future, this may again be something to explore for the purpose of unifying the operations (patrol and detectives) portion of the department. For right now, I think an Assistant Chief position would be something that may actually hurt my direct interaction with employees. From a personal perspective, I would do not want to have to filter my message through another command position - not yet anyway.

JHK71:

There seems to be an increasing amount of gang graffiti around town. What would you say about gang activity in Lawrence?

I have called community corrections to paint over graffiti in my neighborhood, but they seem to have difficulty getting it done. Is there another department to call?

Tarik Khatib:

Gang activity is still prevalent within Lawrence. It may not be as obvious as in the past. Many gangs have taken a less visible stance within the community due to public and police notice of them. Graffiti is one way in which a gang can mark its "territory". It could also be "tagging" by individuals not involved in a gang. Either way, this should be reported to the police department. An officer will respond, take a picture of the graffiti, and complete a report. In this manner, the police department can keep track of these things to stay on top of any trends or issues developing. From a removal aspect, the property owner is responsible for removal. If the graffiti is on public property, then the entity becomes involved. Community Corrections is one agency that utilizes people on probation for crimes to participate in community service by removing graffiti. If you would like, contact our Neighborhood Resource Officer(s) at: 830-7408; and we'll see if we can help with the process.

Moderator:

I will summarize this next question from Kendall Simmons, director of the Hope and Recovery Network in Lawrence. It's about crisis intervention training (CIT) on how officers interact with people "having a mental health crisis."

"Do you plan to finally institute CIT training for Lawrence police officers? Or will you at least seriously consider it?"

Tarik Khatib:

Thanks for the question. This is a topic that is effecting law enforcement more every year. Especially in the face of tightening budgets for many social service and mental health agencies. Often, the police officer is placed in the role of mental health professional when not always equipped to do so. Several years ago, department personnel attended a training session hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) with the hopes of locally partnering. This plan never made it to fruition, partly due to the local chapter disbanding. At the Department, we do provide training on crisis intervention to the officers and how to interact with mentally ill individuals. We also have begun to train other City employees on how to interact with individuals having similar problems. I would welcome partnering with the Hope and Recovery Network to increase positive outcomes in this area. If you could contact our Training Division at: 830-7410, we can get it on the schedule. Also, I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you further in person concerning this topic.

smitty:

Have you done any LPD personnel house cleaning since your hire?

Tarik Khatib:

Smitty, thanks for the question. Certainly, anytime a new Chief is appointed, this represents an opportunity for new leadership and direction. I intend to hold myself and members of the department to the highest standards of conduct, not only in interactions with the community, but among ourselves as well. I am proud of the level of commitment and service department personnel provide to the community on a daily basis. Do officers make mistakes? Of course they do. And most of the time, they can learn from those mistakes and continue to be productive in the community and organization. You have much invested in them. There are, of course, situations that occur that will preclude an employee from continuing on in law enforcement. I believe we generally do a good job of staying on top of that. If you have specific concerns you would like to address, I encourage you to meet with me.

Moderator:

Before our next question, I need to apologize for incorrectly listing the name of Recovery and Hope Network Inc. when I summarized the earlier question from Kendall Simmons.

And here is our next question.

worktolive:

Do you have plans to address retention of officers, the psychological impacts of the job and the work/home life balance?

Tarik Khatib:

Great question, thanks. Law enforcement is a very demanding profession - more so psychologically than physically sometimes. I have given much thought to this issue over my career. What I conclude is that officers need to "decompress" (before going home as well) and otherwise have non-confrontational interactions with the community. Being call-driven, our interactions usually take the form of interacting with a victim, a suspect, or issuing a citation for some law violation. This is not healthy for the officer or the community. The key is to more fully (and fund) engage community policing concepts that allow officers to stop in for that cup of coffee or the conversation with the school children at lunch. As far as retention goes, we lose approximately 8 officers a year. This has been the average for the last eleven years. There are many reasons why they leave. Part of it could be workload, or they discover this is not a career for them, or they fail to meet our standards. Either way, we need to have good strategies in place to make sure the number being hired and retained keeps up with the number leaving. This has not always been the case any has contributed to the workload, as it has to be accomplished by fewer personnel. This is something the City Commission and the City Manager's Office has recognized and made a priority. It is notable that in 1999 we had 79 officers assigned to patrol. In 2011, this number remains at 79. So clearly the addition of some resources can help with this issue.

Moderator:

We have time for a final question. We apologize for not being able to get to all questions that were submitted during this hour. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions for the chief.

stopit:

When do you plan to open up the hiring process for police officers? Will you use the old method of training new cops at the Lawrence training center? I would think that method previously worked well training them the right way.

Tarik Khatib:

Thanks for question. We plan to open the hiring process for the traditional academy in April. When we look at recruiting/training, we have to look all the tools at our disposal. In our history, we have hosted our own full academies, sent some officers to the state academy in Hutchinson, and hired experienced officers. Each method has advantages and disadvantages. The most recent experienced hiring academy allowed us to bring in six officers who were already certified to quickly fill open positions. This is something that I think can be done on occasion, but will not provide, in sufficient numbers, a large enough pool for recruiting that refreshes frequently. What I would like to do is hold an academy starting each spring (to coincide with school graduations) and have this be a predictable schedule. In this manner, we can hire on a schedule, and hopefully over-hire in sufficient numbers to span the attrition rate referenced in the previous question. I still believe a full academy hosted locally at our department is the way to go as the default. I think the way our officers interact with the community, their capabilities, and commitment all speak to the success of an internal academy.

Moderator:

This is moderator George Diepenbrock again. That question concludes today's chat with Tarik Khatib, Lawrence's police chief. Once again sorry to everyone who submitted questions that we were unable to get to. Thanks, Tarik, for taking more than an hour to chat with LJWorld.com readers, and we hope to have you back again in the future.

Tarik Khatib:

George, I appreciate the opportunity to be involved. To everyone else, thank you for the questions. I would like to have answered more, but my obviously poor typing skills most likely slowed me down. Good thing a tying test was not part of the chief job test.! If you do have questions that I did not get to, please contact my office at: 830-7400.

Comments

uglyrumor 2 years, 5 months ago

I think the new decals on the squad cars look pretty small town. Maybe a little too trendy or something. Bring back the old decals!

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Crazy_Larry 2 years, 6 months ago

I've got a question for the Chief: When will you get clip-on personal digital cameras for your employees? If you've got nothing to hide...it shouldn't be a problem.

Fairhope Police get 30 pocket cameras http://www.fox10tv.com/dpp/news/local_news/baldwin_county/fairhope-police-get-30-pocket-cameras

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Crazy_Larry 2 years, 6 months ago

Who watches the watchmen? You go, Smitty!

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pace 2 years, 6 months ago

I wish he had ideas about the community and the force working and communicating together. I appreciate the need to protect our homes and be vigilant to circumstance. There needs to a fresh approach, where the community would be a partner rather than a customer.

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workinghard 3 years ago

How many times can you beat a dead horse?

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smitty 3 years ago

Still haven't gotten this answered but Khatib is getting better at avoiding direct answers that are hot topics. Damn, Khatib, people can read and interpret your answer a just like Olin's secretiveness and evasive management style.

smitty: Have you done any LPD personnel house cleaning since your hire?

Khatib....Do officers make mistakes? Of course they do. And most of the time, they can learn from those mistakes and continue to be productive in the community and organization. You have much invested in them. There are, of course, situations that occur that will preclude an employee from continuing on in law enforcement. I believe we generally do a good job of staying on top of that.

Khatib pledged transparency...well we can clearly see right through your reply if that is your version of transparency. We need a citizen's review board complete with investigative and subpoena powers to stem this practice of collusion between the city managers officer/city commissioners and the PD. CRB will cure the city's part in covering up ethical problems and illegal behavior.

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been_there 3 years ago

Notice in the public notices the bank is foreclosing on the Neighbors house. Odd that while both names are listed as owners on county records, only Guy is on the mortgage.

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goodcountrypeople 3 years ago

It seems a bit chilling for a police chief to talk about "incapacitating" criminals. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Yeah, I'm sure when it comes to the suspect classes the local whitebutt hate-mongers get a kinky thrill out of doing state crimes to incapacitate them. Most likely some who are given to abusing power read the situation as guilty until proven innocent. The problem is with KU abusing the local law enforcement center to cover their own criminal butts you might end up framing the wrong person or abusively participating in brutally retaliatory vendettas. The other side of the problem is that the criminal injustice system has become society's default problem-solving mechanism . No one wants to listen or negotiate anymore.The university doesn't bother using federally required grievance procedures:they just pull strings with the conflict-of-interest,less than squeaky clean local KU-mis-educated DAs to get bogus criminal charges pressed.

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Iwetmypants 3 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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blue73harley 3 years ago

"Khatib knows who I am and how to contact me if he desires to communicate with me."

Since YOU have the questions, it would seem bass-ackwards for him to contact you.

And, if he did, you would probably file harrassment charges.

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Majestic42 3 years ago

Dear smitty, Knock it off. Sincerely, the rest of the LJW boards

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LadyJ 3 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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smitty 3 years ago

Question...Will there be an audit of the LPD by Engiski before or after Khatib cleans up some of the most visible problems?.

It is the City Commission’s responsibility to ensure that the Lawrence Police Department operates with both transparency and accountability.

I sure hope that the commissioners will direct the city auditor to further examine, specifically, the police department’s complaint procedures and performance measures. For a city department whose annual budget exceeds $15 million, an outside examination of the LPD is long overdue.

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smitty 3 years ago

Question...when you are in charge and the pressure is on to fix a major problem, why do you blame the messengers?

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smitty 3 years ago

Question for Khatib....how are you handling the LPD DUI problems?

Whitney, posts from the archives the many names of these LPD officers and it is not considered libelous and defamatory. hint hint

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smitty 3 years ago

Oppression is what happens when the dirty little town doesn't want their dirty little secrets out and goes to lengths to keep those secrets..

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smitty 3 years ago

I'll be disappeaeded me over reprinting what was already published in the JW it seems.

You have received a notice from www2.ljworld.com: Whitney Mathews sent you a message.

Hi smitty, Your comments referencing a domestic violence case and an officer Martin are considered libelous and defamatory, which is why they have been removed.

If you continue to post comments identifying the officer or hinting at his identity, I'll ban your account.

Whitney

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smitty 3 years ago

How does the LPD compare to the national stats of 40% LE abuse their family? Any DV since Miller as stated in this JW article...

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/1999/jul...

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smitty 3 years ago

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/1999/jul...

.........James W. Miller resigned as a Lawrence police officer after he was convicted of striking his teen-age daughter

This is from the JW archives. as was all the other ones removed.

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smitty 3 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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smitty 3 years ago

What are the stats on dometic violence within the LPD? The natioal stats say up to 40% of LE are involved in DV. Where does the LPD come in at?

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Majestic42 3 years ago

How about everyone ask questions...except for smitty. he's incapable of a human discussion regarding anything LPD-related.

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smitty 3 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Amy Heeter 3 years ago

If you want ill go with you smitty.

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KU_Dude 3 years ago

Have you set up an appointment to meet with Chief Khatib like he's asked Smitty?

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UNIKU 3 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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smitty 3 years ago

What role did you play in the YH investigation and corruption?

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smitty 3 years ago

What are the comparative stats of tickets issued in the 1900 to 2100 blocks of Mass compared to 2206(?) when that was the highest addy for radar ticketing?

YH is now out of business and that radar harassment stopped as Olin left so I assume you didn't agree with the harassment but fail to address the truth of the issue.

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smitty 3 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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smitty 3 years ago

You didn't answer the question Khatib. You did another PR push without substance...

Have you done any LPD personnel house cleaning since your hire?

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