Archive for Thursday, January 12, 2006

Case hits close to home for officer

LPD captain’s daughter on trial for money laundering, distributing crack cocaine

January 12, 2006


A crack-cocaine dealing case unfolding in court has hit a little too close to home for the Lawrence Police Department: One of the defendants is the daughter of a top LPD supervisor.

Erin Harmon, 25, daughter of Capt. Kevin Harmon, is scheduled to stand trial next month in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., for money laundering and distributing crack cocaine.

Prosecutors allege she helped her boyfriend, Darren D. Wilburn, deal crack and concealed the proceeds by buying automobiles for him and by storing $11,000 cash in a desk drawer at her office.

The case caused friction within the department starting in June 2005, when Erin Harmon called her father and mother to her home in the 3200 block of Glacier Drive after members of the joint city-county Drug Enforcement Unit began serving a search warrant there.

Kevin Harmon later testified that when officers tried to get his daughter to consent to a warrantless search of her workplace - a Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services office - he refrained from advising her because he was afraid of interfering with the criminal case.

She eventually consented to a search of her cubicle at work, where officers found the $11,000 in a paper sack.

But later, Erin Harmon's defense attorney, Jim George, of Lawrence, sought to keep the money from being used as evidence in court, alleging officers used "trickery and deception" by telling her they could get a warrant to search her office if she didn't consent to a search.

Kevin Harmon testified as a defense witness at the suppression hearing, saying he was shocked when he heard LPD Detective Mike McAtee tell his daughter he'd be able to get a search warrant.

In his view, McAtee's statement was contrary to case law, he testified.

"Harmon testified that he should have interjected about his reaction, but he did not because 'I felt like I was in jeopardy myself,'" according to a court document.

On Jan. 6, Judge Kathryn Vratil ruled that the officers who searched Erin Harmon's workplace acted within the law. Where the testimony of Kevin Harmon contradicted that of the two LPD drug officers at the scene - McAtee and Sgt. Tarik Khatib - she gave greater credit to McAtee and Khatib, she wrote.

"Because Harmon is a captain in the Lawrence police department and because he is the defendant's father, he has obvious interests in this matter," Vratil wrote in a footnote. "For this reason, and because of clear inconsistencies in his testimony, his testimony is not altogether persuasive."

Harmon, who oversees the department's training unit, is one of six Lawrence Police captains who are second in command only to Chief Ron Olin. LPD officials declined comment about the issue because of the pending case.

Wilburn, 30, pleaded guilty last month to money laundering and conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Two co-defendants, Evann A. Hardy, 22, and Robert "Cowboy" Robinson, 52, have entered pleas to reduced charges.

A fifth defendant, Lamar Johnson, 30, is scheduled to stand trial next month along with Harmon.


prarie_princess 9 years, 10 months ago


NOUN: pl. perjuries Law - The deliberate, willful giving of false, misleading, or incomplete testimony under oath. The breach of an oath or promise.

redfred 9 years, 10 months ago


re: purjury

Which one?

I know both Harmon and McAtee and wouldn't believe either of them!

craigers 9 years, 10 months ago

jannie, I forgot that his daughter can't make decisions of her own.

townie 9 years, 10 months ago

I think the entire LPD needs to be investigated. It makes one wonder, when a body is found in the back yard at the place where he lived, which happens to be know as one of the biggest crack dealers in Lawrence, and right away they rule it as suicide without any real investigation. You would think they would have had the right to search the home of the victim. It looks to me as if they are tring to cover something up. Another reason to investigate the LPD, last year I got pulled over at 3am, I passanger had a sack of pot on him and didn't want to get caught so he threw it in my glove box. When the cop search my car he took the pot and he never said or did anything about it, guess he wanted it for himself. It's scary that anyone can be a cop in Lawrence. I think it's about time that a police officer gets a taste of what it is like to be on the other side. Maybe now they will take their job seriously and start busting the drug dealers in Lawrence instead of helping them.

JimmyJoeBob 9 years, 10 months ago

I wish the DA's office had the balls to charge someone with perjury in Douglas County. It happens every day. If they would charge someone it would stop all these Defense Attorneys from suborning perjury from their clients and their defense witnesses.

JimmyJoeBob 9 years, 10 months ago

Townie do you think they should start with busting you. You may not be out of the woods yet, it just depends on when you got stopped last year. You still may be charged when the results from the lab come back. If you read the JW you should know how back logged the KBI is.

cutny 9 years, 10 months ago

Man...gotta love this one....The daughter will cop some plea and skate away, doubtless. From first hand experience, I can tell you that I wouldn't mind seeing Khatib's version of "the truth" being examined a little more closely.

townie 9 years, 10 months ago

Yeah they should have busted me, but point is they didn't. JimmyJoeBob do you think its ok that LPD is scared of the crack dealers or that they help the crack heads? I have friends that do drugs but not me, never did a drug in my life or drank any alcohol. I have many family members that are alcoholics and drug users that I never seemed interested. I just wished they would've got busted, it could have done them some good but we'll never know.

cutny 9 years, 10 months ago

Well townie...clearly you've made some informed decisions about letting people who carry drugs on them ride in your car. Curious that you think your glove box is a safer place for a bag of weed than down your friend's own pants....the last place a cop will look, btw.

DGL 9 years, 10 months ago

Townie: That cop who took your weed and didn't arrest you did you a favor! This is how the whole state of California deals with petty marijuana offenses, by the way. If you had been arrested, you'd be on here complaining about how there's no justice in this world and the LPD are a group of oppressive tyrants with a chip on their shoulder. GIVE ME A BREAK! You couldn't handle being a cop for a week.

townie 9 years, 10 months ago

Like I said, I agree with the fact I should've been busted, I let friend in my car with drugs, big mistake. Everyone has made bad choices in their life, and trust me it has come back to haunt me, having a friend killed for not paying his dealer, is life changing carma. But whats scary and upsetting is when police officers, the ones who are suppose to keep the streets safe, are helping these dealers. It's my oppinion that what McAtee did is nothing that Harmon hasn't done himself, but when it comes to his family, he feels its not right. The LPD is so crooked that I hope that with this situation they will be internally investigated. My friend should've been in jail along time ago for doing drugs, atleast then he would still be alive and there would've been one less drug user on the streets.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 9 years, 10 months ago

Well, lookie's a collection of "Who's been arrested more" complaining about the LPD. Of course it wasn't YOUR fault that you were arrested. You've got no idea how that stuff got where it was. You loaned your car to a friend the day before. You let a friend borrow your pants and they must have put it in your pocket. You've got no idea how it got into your wallet. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

It may surprise you but police officers have trouble with family members just like the rest of us. So do judges and attorneys. Just because a parent enforces the law, it doesn't mean their children are going to be little "beacons of justice".

townie 9 years, 10 months ago

You're right I couldn't handle it that's why I'm not a cop. DGL the only chip on my shoulder is that I am not able to big my friend back, and that the LPD only looked at his death as a good thing, "One less drug user to worry about". When they should be worried about the dealers who fed his addiction; their still out their finding new clients, even worse, drug use is becoming more popular for middle school children. How is one able to live with themselves after selling drugs to little kids?

craigers 9 years, 10 months ago

jannie, I don't even remember ever reading one of your posts, but go ahead and jump to conclusions. I guess your children have never made mistakes or anything like that. You must be one of the perfect people in this world that is a perfect parent too. Do you ever think that usually the kids that are under the microscope so much because of their parents positions are always the ones that act contrary to what their acceptable behavior is? Sometimes pastor's kids can be the most outspoken and misbehave because people are always watching them. Some could be attributed to their parenting, yes, but sometimes the kids feel a lot of pressure and they buckle just like they do to with peer pressure. Yes I am a sympathizer. I know other kids of a cop and they burglarized cars when they were around 16. They were raised in the same house as the other kids that didn't participate in any illegal activities so can you tell me why some did well and the others didn't? It has to do with their free will and they chose to do what they wanted, just like this daughter of a cop did. Give them a break and don't just blame the parents because a lot of people don't like the LPD.

norm 9 years, 10 months ago

It's the norm around here.....

The discussion isn't even on the crooked SRS person. Doesn't SRS give out welfare money and the like? Isn't it possible that Harmon was giving out welfare benefits to people who weren't supposed to get them? Did she get the job because her daddy has the job he has? Or maybe she has some other relative connection somewhere....that's how you get jobs around's the norm anyway...

I'm going to spend some time and find out how long this Harmon has been working for those people over there. Wasn't there a manager in that very office who was let off for using the welfare system (Barb Grains or something?) in the very early 1990's to create fake people and paid herself their welfare check? It's the norm around here, you know.

lonesome_breeze 9 years, 10 months ago

JanniebullinLawrence,,You are quite possibly one of the most egregiously misinformed people to ever post in this forum. In the state of Kansas, There is one State Police Academy, it is in Hutchison, Kansas.It is known as The Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. A recruit may attend that academy,only if they are in the employee of either a city agency or a county S.O,or Kansas Wildlife and Game By Kansas State law you must be certified within a year of your appointment to your respective agency. There are other academies that are approved by the KLETC. These acadamies are mainly in larger cities such as Wichita and in Johnson County. But not just any individual can enroll in them. You must already be hired by a Kansas State law enforcement agency. I don't know where you got your information, but it could not be further from the truth.

JimmyJoeBob 9 years, 10 months ago

Townie apparently you didn't read my post fully. Just because you weren't arrested that day doesn't mean you won't be. Sometimes the judicial system move slowly. I don't see where you have proven that the LPD is afraid of Crack Dealers. Instead of blaming the cops you should be blaming yourself. You seem to be the one enabling your friends to do drugs. Why don't you step up and do something about your friend's drug problem. You are the reason your friend is dead.

DGL 9 years, 10 months ago

LONESOME_BREEZE is absolutely right.
Also, I don't care who the defendant's father is. If she contributed to someone selling poison to people for personal profit I hope she spends the next couple of decades in prison. It sounds to me like the LPD Captain acted appropriately in not interfering with the case.

yeah_right 9 years, 10 months ago

What I hate to see is all of these young women who are helping their drug dealing boyfriends and knowing what they are doing is wrong! The drug dealers are using these girls who are willing to put their jobs, families, and lives on the line to keep their man. Come on ladies, use your heads!

monkeywrench1969 9 years, 10 months ago

What is interesing is everyone is talking about how crooked the LPD is when it was quite clear they had no problem going after a daughter of a high ranking person in the department. To me that shows they are not protecting their own which is what a crooked department most hollywood movies would like to depict(Insert: Copland, The Bad Lieutenant, One Good Cop, The Shield).

Smitty: Peck was a bad guy and LPD purged the bad cop. The reason why he never resurfaced with a list of crooked cops, judges attorney's was becasue he did not have one. The DAs offices in Johnson County and Douglas COunty would not have cleared so many of his collars if he was above board. He worked for Overland Park and Lawrence. He had problems on both sides of the county line so you can't say he got reamed by the system two times because he was a super cop with dirt on Olin and his cronies. Lightning hit twice.

I have to agree with several who said there are good people who have bad kids...they work for the police, ministers, SRS, Bert Nash...all kinds of professionals who have wild child children who do things that can't be controled. I can place a sure bet they are more embarrassed by those children's behavior becasue of their positions.

Godot 9 years, 10 months ago

"I have to agree with several who said there are good people who have bad kids...they work for the police, ministers, SRS, Bert Nash...all kinds of professionals who have wild child children who do things that can't be controled. I can place a sure bet they are more embarrassed by those children's behavior becasue of their positions."

There is the question. Why is it that so many of the kids who have so much "promise," the ones with privilege, advantage, money, position.....end up on the dark side of drugs and alcohol after going through lawrence schools?

Lawrence is identified , nationally, as having a drug culture. It needs to end. Our children are suffering for it.

jenf825 9 years, 10 months ago

I have to say, I know kevin harmon...he is the father to one of my best friends. That family is an amazing family!! Erin kinda went off the deep end a while ago. Everyone tried to stop her, and i dont think this has anything to do with kevin or the rest of his family. His other daughter is an amazing girl. Erin is 25 and can do what she wants at this point... she supports herself and has for a long time! I'm sorry to see this happen to such a nice family that ive known for 10 or more years

lonesome_breeze 9 years, 10 months ago

janniebull..You are so misinformed.I dont know why I am taking the time to argue with you, or should I say school you. Maybe these officers were hired and put on the road before going to Hutch. That is perfectly legal, and depending on the size of the department, sometimes necessary. I know they go to hutch because those departments are too small to have their own academy. They don't have the resources to conduct their own academy. Very few departments west and south of lawrence do. The KLETC wont accredit an academy unless there are at least 6 recruits in the class. Since only Baldwin, and maybe eudora PD, even has a 6 officer department, logic and finaces dictate they do not have their own academies. Thus, they go to the KLETC for their respective certifications. It is a 16 week course, 40 hours a week. ONCE AGAIN... Kansas law mandates they must be certified in the first 364 days of their appointment. It is ludicrous for you to state anybody can sign " a letter of intent' and appoint themself a law enforcement officer. Why don't you back up your statement, and list your source. Mine is the the KLETC and Kansas state law.

Godot 9 years, 10 months ago

My guess is that Janniebull is enforcer who is singlecandle. This person is a public employee, paid by taxpayers, whose job is to provide wise counsel and guidance to those in need, in the name of psychology.


rousseau108 9 years, 10 months ago

Smitty, Peck held the rank of officer, not detective. Small detail, I know, but I figured you would like to know since you seem to pride yourself on having all the "inside" info on the LPD. I think it's great the LPD disciplines officers the way they do and don't let someone get away with crime just because her daddy's a captain.

And to Janniebull, like lonsesome_breeze already pointed out, no one in Kansas can just sign a letter to become a cop. And though some of the very small departments may let a new officer on the street prior to them getting their training (as state law provides for in the 1 year grace period), you will never see that in Lawrence. Lawrence does not let anyone become a sworn officer patrolling the streets armed with a gun until they have completed the academy training. But don't tell anyone that LPD actually goes above and beyond state minimum standards, that might contradict all the posters here who like to make up lies against the LPD and criticize the officers' professionalism.

hockmano 9 years, 10 months ago

I love all the self rightous and judgemental people of good ole Lawrence Kansas. Although I do not know Erin Harmon personally, she has helped me more than any other social worker I have ever come in contact with. What she did was wrong, and I am sure she understands that now. I thought it was innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent! Who in the heck made you people judge and jury? She is a grown woman who made a mistake. Why are you holding her parents accountable? I forgot! Maybe none of you have ever done anything wrong! Even though it may not have been on the same scale, I think you had better go check your closets for skeletons! I have never lived in a town where they claim to be so open minded but are the biggest hypocrites. It would be a travesty to send someone like Erin to jail for years when she could be on probation and doing community service. Erin I wish the best for you. God does everything for a reason, I hope you figure out what that reason is.

monkeywrench1969 9 years, 10 months ago


What are you using for your resource on LPD and Peck...the book Hichita and the underground anarchist zines. Please...

THe cops I work out with at LAC said Peck went through and entire academy and was not part of this experienced officer class you spoke he technically went through two academies in two different places. They were not sure if Olin sought Peck at the time but they said he was working for a private investigation firm at the time he was hired. Additionally they said Olin reinstated the Lawrence Police Academy program after doing this experienced officer program so since you are drawing conclusions I will assume he decided it was a bad way of picking officers so even if Peck was one of those hand picked guys in an experinced program Olin has changed his mind.

One last thing Peck lied to a judge (WHich seemes to be the big problem everyone is pointing out about does Peck fit in the same catagory) if I remember the original articles and only came out with this list after he got canned...if he had a list it should have been taken directly to the Attorney General's Office of Kansas or the FBI for civil rights violations. Since it has been years and he never won a law suit against the city I CAN DRAW THE CONCLUSION IT NEVER EXISTED.

From your tone and content I would assume we have Cynthia Butler the conspiracy theorist in desguise.

wonderwoman 9 years, 10 months ago

Wonder how many defending Chief Olin's personnel and policies are hidden law enforcement from the LPD thus can not legally give a direct defense of Harmon?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.