Archive for Friday, May 11, 2007

Overbrook without police force after City Council denies reappointments

May 11, 2007


Northeast Kansas town loses its entire police force

At last night's Overbrook city council meeting, city leaders shocked the town by voting to get rid of all seven officers on the police force. Enlarge video

The Overbrook City Council decided to strip the town of its entire police force Wednesday night.

Longtime Police Chief Ed Harmison, Assistant Chief Everette Dannar and five part-time officers were not reappointed, Mayor Jack Young said. The town's officers are eligible for reappointment annually.

Young wouldn't comment on the council's decision.

Osage County Undersheriff Jeff Johnson said Young called county dispatchers Thursday morning to inform them that Overbrook would be without a police force.

Johnson said the sheriff's office is obligated to provide service to the city, but there may be a longer response time if any of the town's 947 residents need help. That's because deputies are based 19 miles away in Lyndon and could be responding to calls elsewhere in the county.

"We'll do what we have to do to protect the citizens," Johnson said.

Young said there are no immediate plans to replace the force, adding that the town will depend on the sheriff department's services on a trial basis.

"That's kind of a scary thought, not to have police officers close," said lifelong Overbrook resident Rachael Strohm. "In the case of an emergency, you would want people to be able to respond quickly."

Overbrook, which has as the community motto "Don't Overlook Overbrook," is about 25 miles southwest of Lawrence on U.S. Highway 56.

Two Overbrook police cars sat in front of City Hall on Thursday.

Dannar's badge and a gun lay in the passenger's seat of one of the cars.

The police chief wasn't available for comment Thursday. None of the city's five council members returned calls for comment.


Michael Capra 10 years, 4 months ago

that leaves it to ccw permit holders and the town will be better off

compmd 10 years, 4 months ago

Hm, I guess its time to go loot and pillage...

FatTony 10 years, 4 months ago

So lets see here. In plain sight in front of City Hall there is a gun sitting in the passenger seat of a police car with badge. I now know there are no police in this town so maybe I should just bust that window grab the gun and badge and I'm good to go. Sounds like they really thought this through.

TheGoldenBoy 10 years, 4 months ago

I remember Ed Harmison! He is a good, respectable, hard working man. He is somebody that has been a paramedic and a national guardsman in additional to being a police officer. Overbrook should be lucky to have him as their chief of police. I wonder what really happened?

not_dolph 10 years, 4 months ago

What a bassackwards City Council. I predict they will reverse this decision fairly soon. In recent history, there have been numerous accidents on Hwy 56, and one or two bank robberies at Kansas State Bank. Not to mention that this community will likely be a desirable alternative for housing when the intermodal facility is completed in Gardner - quick 20 minute drive or so. Buffoons!

Confrontation 10 years, 4 months ago

Coming from a small town in Kansas, I remember what it was like to have police more than 20 minutes down the road. Luckily (or not), we had many men in town who were not afraid to pull out their rifles and hit the streets. This may be why the crime rate was so low.

Centrist 10 years, 4 months ago

Can't they have a Sheriff's Dept 'outpost' with at least one cop, like other small towns?

Bud Stagg 10 years, 4 months ago

It's ok that the gun was in the front seat. Andy only lets Barney keep 1 bullet in his shirt pocket.

Nightshifter 10 years, 4 months ago

Here is the contact information of the Overbrook Governing Body. This is posted on their website, so everything is public information.


Council Member: Bob Sisson (785) 665-3122

Council Member: Larry Coursen

Council Member: Wm Tadd Goodyear (785) 665-7628

Council Member: Don Schultz (785) 665-7741

Council Member: Dorthy Chikly (785) 665-7367

I would recommend that those who oppose their actions and blatant disregard to the public's safety and interest, to contact them and express your thoughts and feelings.

The only way to overcome corrupt government is to stand against it, and not put your head in the sand....

gccs14r 10 years, 4 months ago

Why would a town of 947 need 7 cops? Even with some of them working just part-time, that's a heck of a lot of payroll to cover. To put it in perspective, I remember a news item back around 1980 that Sand Springs, OK had two police officers for 18,000 people. The complaint there was that they didn't have enough officers and they were probably right, but a FTE of 4 officers for 1000 is overkill.

doc1 10 years, 4 months ago

If it makes any difference there are only about an average of about 13 Lawrence Officers on duty at any given time to cover the population here. On the national average they only have 60% of the officers they need. Thats funny that considering they get approximatley 13% more call volume than other cities this size.

Nightshifter 10 years, 4 months ago

Danner and Harmison were excellent officers. The only peole who had any major problems with them were the dopers and burglars!

Thanks to the idiots on the council, the community will be at the mercy of the meth cooks, thieves and crooks. Osage County Sheriff does NOT have the resources to provide safe and adequate protection, considering their officers like to spend their time on I-35 instead of patrolling the county. With only two Deputies working the county afterhours, the response time could be a very long time if they are on another call.

I hope that the Mayor and Council Members come to their senses and get a clue.

I would recommend that the community call them to the carpet and explain their actions.

Its no secret that Larry Coursen (Former Osage County Dist. Court Judge) was not a friend of Law Enforcement. Coursen is a member of the Overbrook Council and has a long history of conflict with the Overbook Police Dept. (I wonder why....)

Nightshifter 10 years, 4 months ago

CCW Holders can protect themselves as long as they are in mortal danger, or in danger of great bodily harm. I am a supporter of the CCW, but its a weak argument.

Regardless of the unwise staffing of Lawrence or other larger cities, consider this....

If it is your grandma's house getting burglarized at 3 am, do you want it to take 30+ minutes for Law Enforcement response? What about the homicide in Carbondale on June 15, 2005, in which there were 5 young children alone with the father who killed their mother, and blew his face off, but was still walking around....?

Face it, Bad stuff happens in Osage County. In 2005-2006 there were several violent crimes including homicides, rapes, and other violent crimes.

With this all in mind, how long do YOU want it to take to get help?

Osage County is understaffed, and is more focused on getting the big highway bust, rather than patrolling the communities.

Overbrook has betrayed its own people by denying them the ability to live in a safe community for all of the good people there.

With all mentioned above, not to mention the Meth Pandemic in Osage County, people need to wake up and hold the City Council accountable for their insane actions.

Nightshifter 10 years, 4 months ago

Quoting....Dambudzo (Anonymous) says:

From the posts in this thread it is obvious that liberals feel that they need police to protect them. End Quote

CCW Holders and non liberals will not cut down the drug traffic and prevent crimes, except maybe person crimes against the CCW holder themselves.

CCW is not a replacement for Law Enforcement.

I carry a gun on a regular basis, but that does not give me any authority to solve crimes, investigate narcotics activity, or anything else.....

The proof is in the pudding....Look at Quenemo....The city is a wreck ever since they eliminated their Police Dept. in 2002

Just look at the staats....

trinity 10 years, 4 months ago

quenemo used to have a police department?? i honestly did not know that!

as crazy as o'brook gets at fair/derby time-wow is that ever gonna be a problem, if they don't have any cops in town. the o'brook derby's entertainment value as far as stupid fights between drunks is unsurpassed. not to mention the number of obviously underagers wandering around drinking booze/beer/whatever openly. i've always liked the little town of overbrook&can't believe what a wreck it's become, and now this? wow.

Michael Capra 10 years, 4 months ago

osage county sherrif is a joke and the want a be deputys,pay them 10.00 an hr and give them a gun to make up the defferance.the town of overbrook if done in the hands of lori dunn and her bullys

Nightshifter 10 years, 4 months ago

Most of the Citizens in Osage County do not like the gestapo tactics of the Sheriff's Dept. Now that the City of Overbrook is going to rely on the Deputies to conduct Law Enforcement, the citizens will finally realize what a good Police Dept. they had.

If you thought it was bad, just wait and see how its going to be. There are several well know Meth Heads and other types of Criminals in Overbrook, and they are going to have a hay day!

Nightshifter 10 years, 4 months ago

Well, there will be another Council Meeting Monday Night. It is an emergency meeting called by the City Attorney. I am planning on attending, so I will try to give everyone heads ups on how it goes.

It all boils down to this...If the community stands together against this course of action from the City Mayor and Council Members, things can possibly change. If we all just lay down and let them run the city based on their personal agendas, and not representing the voters that voted for them, then they simply need to go!

bluedog 10 years, 4 months ago

LOL! This is hilarious! I grew up in Overbrook. There is definitely no need for seven police officers...especially Ed Harmison. What a dillhole! I remember when he was a part-time officer and worked full-time at the CO-OP. When he was supposed to be "policing" the town, he would be inside the CO-OP watching TV!

bluedog 10 years, 4 months ago

BTW...check out the "public comments" from the February 14th Overbrook City Council Meeting. Interesting...

shonner 10 years, 4 months ago

Well, bluedog, apparently you are in the minority. I was at the meeting in Overbrook and saw a crowd of nearly 200 applaud Ed Harmison and cheer him on after it was announced that he is still the chief. Many citizens addressed the council and told how Ed Harmison had helped them. One woman even creditied him with saving her child's life. In regards to the minutes of the meeting of Feb. 14 - Isn't it interesting that the principal of the school wrote a letter to the council in support of Harmison and the police dept.? I don't believe that would have happened if the chief's actions were questionable or inappropriate in regards to the child. Principals are required to know the law as it relates to child welfare, and the principal stands in agreement with the chief - as do the teachers who are steadfastly behind him. Wouldn't it be nice if the councilors knew and followed the law - instead of just choosing to break it - as clearly they have done? Your comments about the Co-op are irrelevant here and show that you're really reaching. Nice try.

bluedog 10 years, 4 months ago

Nah...not trying to reach, just stating IMO that Harmison is a dillhole.

As for the city council meeting minutes, I just thought it was interesting and wondered if it was something that related to his "firing." I can't say I support the city council either. They have also been backwards in many of their actions, of which many not even related to Harmison. Small town politics and ignorance.

But realistically, does a town with a population of less than 1,000 need seven police officers? They only have one person who manages all of the city maintenance.

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