Archive for Monday, September 20, 2010

Police keep lid on internal records

Complaints on officers not available for review

In this 2010 file photo, a Lawrence Police Department vehicle is parked outside McCollum Hall.

In this 2010 file photo, a Lawrence Police Department vehicle is parked outside McCollum Hall.

September 20, 2010


Since 2005, the Lawrence Police Department has investigated 163 complaints against Lawrence police officers.

City won't release reports of police misconduct

City officials say the reports deal with personnel issues and are thus not open records. Enlarge video

Complaints against Lawrence police

Number of complaints/Number sustained

2005 40 11

2006 51 15

2007 22 4

2008 20 5

2009 24 8

2010 (Jan.-July) 65

More than a quarter of those complaints led to disciplinary action, and seven officers have been fired or resigned as a result of those complaints.

But that’s about all we know of the cases. The city of Lawrence says information about who the officers were, the specific allegations they faced, and how the cases were handled should not be public.

Case summaries

Click here for details from some recent complaints.

Citing the “personnel” exemption in the Kansas Open Records Act, the city manager’s office has denied a Journal-World open records request seeking the investigative case files for all police internal affairs investigations.

Following the denial, the Journal-World asked Lawrence police to release only the investigative files for cases that led to the termination of an officer’s job, but that request also was denied. The police did, however, provide very brief case summaries for complaints in 2009 and 2010.

Tarik Khatib, interim Lawrence police chief, said internal affairs records, which can lead to disciplinary action, are personnel records, and the department has a policy of not releasing those without an employee’s consent.

But Topeka first amendment lawyer Mike Merriam doesn’t buy the city’s argument.

“What an officer does in public is not a personnel matter,” he said.

Merriam added that the exemption is designed to protect personal employee information such as home address, Social Security number or disciplinary record. That shouldn’t include an officer’s “interaction with citizens in public.”

‘The process works’

The personnel exemption of the Kansas Open Records Act is discretionary. That is, a governmental agency isn’t prohibited from disclosing such records, but it has the option to do so.

So if the police are properly investigating claims of misconduct, why not open them up to the public?

Because doing so would present some practical problems that could hinder the process, Khatib said.

“The process works and if this was public it would impact the philosophy of coming out and self-reporting and talking to us,” he said.

Khatib said most of the complaints are “relatively minor,” and if full details came out they could “get turned into embarrassing situations for officers or embarrassing situations for citizens.”

Khatib also cited oversight measures currently in place. Twice a year, the police department reviews the cases with the city manager’s office. And city commissioners are furnished with case summaries of all investigations. However, only the city manager and the police department have full access to the investigative reports, Khatib said.

Khatib questions the need for more transparency in the process, saying there haven’t been any complaints about how the system currently works.

“Give me specific things where there’s been corruption that hasn’t been exposed?” Khatib said.

Unresolved legal issue

Whether such records are open to the public has been debated across the country, but courts often side with the public, said Mark Horvit, executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors. Horvit cited various cases where media outlets in other states have obtained similar records, but oftentimes only after lengthy and expensive legal battles. Those court cases, however, only apply to individual states, and the issue has yet to be resolved in Kansas courts.

Merriam is preparing a lawsuit in Shawnee County to obtain records from the Topeka Police Department. An open records request by a media outlet for “defensive action” reports — created when an officer uses a weapon — was denied by the Topeka Police Department, also on grounds that the reports were personnel records.

The case could take up to 18 months to resolve, said Merriam, and legal costs could top $20,000 depending on possible appeals.

An option discussed between the Journal-World and city of Lawrence attorneys is asking the Attorney General’s Office — which monitors open records laws — to provide an opinion on the case. Scott Miller, attorney for the city, said the city will consider making such a request since there isn’t a clear-cut legal precedent in Kansas.

Either way, Merriam said this is “an old issue” that needs an answer.

“It’s time to get this settled,” he said, adding that he believes the courts will eventually open police internal affairs records to the public.

It’s an important battle to fight, he said.

“This is ... government-endorsed action by licensed officers who carry guns,” he said. “There can’t be anything more important than that.”


Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 6 months ago

You forgot "A citizen complained that two officers violated the Miranda proceedure and violated the 14th amendment to the Constitution and the complaint was unfounded. The proof was written in the reporting officer's report. But the complaint was "unfounded" Such was the regime of Ron Olin, newly retired chief.

LadyJ 7 years, 6 months ago

Popcorn time. Of course it will really take off when court is done for the day. For the record, I do believe that some officers do misbehave on duty. Knew an officer personally that was on the force in the early 80's that did so repeatedly and abused his authority and used it on those around him in his personel life.. It took a few years but I think the the LPD finally realized it needed to get rid of him. But I also realize that many complaints are false. There should be a middle ground of some sort to assure both citizen rights and police officer rights are protected.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 6 months ago

Why did the LJWorld not include this inb the article? The Police Department did provide some information just not names.

Nikki May 7 years, 6 months ago

While in general, I'm pro police force, I'm concerned about all the complaints of "rudeness". I mean, sure if you are in trouble for committing a crime, they don't really need to be nice, I get that. However, many officers are rude, plain and simple. Most of those were acting in a "professional manner" and unsustainable. Well, how do they prove for or against. "Hey, were your rude to those people?" "no" "ok, keep up the good work then." Yeah, hard to buy into. I hope they are keeping track of how many times people are considering certain people "rude" and go from there.

cozy 7 years, 6 months ago

I said this in the other thread.

I'm sure I could investigate my buddy and find that they were "professional during the contact."

rousseau108 7 years, 6 months ago

Or they watch the in-car video to show that the officer was acting normally and someone probably just wanted to complain because they got a ticket. It's not that hard to disprove the "he was rude to me" ploy.

asbury 7 years, 6 months ago

Hmmm. No real surprises here. The thin blue line.

JimmyJoeBob 7 years, 6 months ago

The thin blue line is what is between you and the bad guys. The public are sheep and the police are sheep dogs protecting you from the big bad wolves.

Lawrencewatchdog 7 years, 6 months ago

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

lawthing 7 years, 6 months ago

Lack of transparency in a public agency leads to corruption and easy coverup. especially a Police dept. Nothing to hide is Nothing to hide............................period.

bopro 7 years, 6 months ago

I agree with Lawthing, if you have nothing to hide then why are you afraid to let the (PEOPLE )know the truth and Judge for themselfs. What a Police officer does on duty is not private.

imastinker 7 years, 6 months ago

I've been involved in situations where I had to investigate complaints against officers involved in a situation before. The officer has a career at stake, and most of the complaints against officers are false. The mere mention of a complaint of discrimination or aggressive behavior is enough to sink an officers career if it's not handled properly.

Our solution was to place video cameras in the cars. When we got a complaint we had video of the whole interaction. Those problems tended to solve themselves.

My only point is that these types of internal affairs complaints are very damaging to a career and are frequently made out of spite. It's not as simple as it's made to sound by some of you.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

If the complaints are false, then they won't have a negative impact on the officer.

There's no good reason not to make these records public.

As far as showing the chief evidence of corruption that hasn't been exposed, how would we be able to know that, especially if these records aren't released?

imastinker 7 years, 6 months ago

That's just not true. Let's say an officer pulls over a woman and she complains that he is sexist and handled her differently because she's a woman. There's an investigation and it's proved false, but not before the newspaper writes an article about the officer. The newspaper never writes a retraction article or releases the facts about the stop. Later another woman gets pulled over by him and wants out of a ticket - does the same. She read the article and recognizes his name. Two or three of those and the paper writes a new article about it. They mention that he was found free of wrongdoing in the first investigation, but everyone that reads it makes their own conclusion because of the number of complaints. People put the heat on the mayor and it's an election year, and the guy gets let go for showing up late to work or something silly like that. He couldn't go work somewhere else - who would take a chance like that and hire him? The guy's career is over because of it.

Facts aren't important when it comes to situations like this. The newspaper wants a story and lots of people don't like LEO's anyway.

cozy 7 years, 6 months ago

You like to say that the newspaper automatically names them, but this paper never names anybody and it has been a common complaint. There are stories put on there that don't say anything at all and you can read numerous comments asking for more information whether it is location, who, etc. Then by doing that you get speculation in here and people saying what they heard and it could get more out of control than it has to because there is not enough information given in the first place. blah

imastinker 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm not talking at all about a specific case here. I'm not even talking about the LJWorld - they do a better job of looking out for people in this situation than many papers do. To the best of my knowledge they don't name people being investigated with sex crimes until they have been charged.

Look - we're living in a day where officers deal with people taking videos on their cell phones and editing these and posting on youtube to make the officer look terrible. Everything that an officer does has to be 100% correct or they are in big trouble. How many officers have been dragged through the mud on an innocent charge because of some big controversy posted on youtube?

flux 7 years, 6 months ago

Anytime your name is dragged through the mud its difficult to get cleaned up.

rousseau108 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't know of any businesses that release internal personnel information. If you get fired from your job would you want it made public? Even better, if someone made a baseless accusation against you should it still be 'public'?

imastinker 7 years, 6 months ago

I know nothing about these situations and never had to handle anything of the magnitude you mention. Quite frankly though, I'm surprised there are only 163 complaints in five years for a department that size.

I also don't know any specifics of the Yellow House case like you appear to. You are hardly impartial though. I had a much higher opinion of you when reading your comments from past trials, like Matt Jaegers trial. Reading your comments of the last week you seem as crazy as the Neighbor's. You obviously know them well and have strong feeling about the case.

Shaun Hittle 7 years, 6 months ago

Here are two links from the Polson case, since it was referenced:

Shaun Hittle LJW Reporter

BruceWayne 7 years, 6 months ago

so LJW has the time and manpower to write this story that tells us NOTHING, but cannot update the YH trial?

monkeywrench1969 7 years, 6 months ago

Too true. I was wondering what was coming next on that thing especially with all the conspiracy thrown into that case and stirred by the JW

slowplay 7 years, 6 months ago

There's nothing to prevent a "complainant", if any, on reporting what happened. Much ado about nothing. If there was/is a serious infraction involving police conduct, you know it will get the publicity it deserves. The LJW is making a mountain out of a mole hill because they got their fingers slapped trying to dip into the cookie jar.

equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 6 months ago

Do you maybe underestimate the vindictiveness of these people? These KS/MO southern justice vengeful types have been known to threaten to press/ actually press false criminal charges against someone even across state lines all based on counter-power complaints THAT ARE TRUE. If you're the one "complaining," in these people's estimates you must be the problem and the lawbreaker. As the less powerful party, you are asking for it.

wmathews 7 years, 6 months ago

I changed out the photo. Though the picture showed LPD officers, I don't think it was an appropriate choice for this story.

Whitney Mathews Online Editor

pace 7 years, 6 months ago

Khatib questions the need for more transparency in the process, saying there haven’t been any complaints about how the system currently works.

“Give me specific things where there’s been corruption that hasn’t been exposed?” Khatib said.

The above statements arent misspeak, they are simply lies. Unless Khalib is insane,

Maracas 7 years, 6 months ago

When serious infractions occur, leading to severe discipline including removal from the force, we hear about it. I'm willing to bet most complaints are from people who are upset that the police had the temerity to stop them or otherwise hinder them from doing something they wanted to do so their "rights" were infringed because they were inconvenienced.

But yes there are very likely some serious complaints with merit. I'm not sure what can be gained from making the details of every single complaint public. In fact, it might even prevent some people from making a valid complaint because they don't want to dragged through any dirt. In some instances, I think perhaps it might make some people afraid to come forward in support of one side or the other because of public scrutiny.

I don't know though. I don't really know if it's a real issue, or if the LJW is just trying to manufacture an issue.

QuinnSutore 7 years, 6 months ago

Are people really that upset that we treat criminals like criminals? Take them out back and beat them with a hose like the good old days, I don't need to read about their complaining in the papers.

pace 7 years, 6 months ago

|Some people are upset that victims are treated like criminals. Complaint is made to the police, the police look at it, then decide there is no merit to the complaint. At this point the LPD is not in compliance with federal guidlines for the issues the feds have regulations. Oh that was of course a once in a lifetime weird error, couldn't occur again. The community, the city and the LPD need and deserve a real citizens review board.

eduardo73 7 years, 6 months ago

QuinnSutore (anonymous) says… Are people really that upset that we treat criminals like criminals? Take them out back and beat them with a hose like the good old days, I don't need to read about their complaining in the papers.

If the police commit crimes, they should expect to be treated as you prescribe. Right now, that is not the case; Blue Wall still dominates the P.D. That's changing, slowly, but changing, and eventually the citizenry will hold LEO's accountable for their behavior even if we need to increase funding for the Protective Custody units at the prisons.

QuinnSutore 7 years, 6 months ago

Is it really a crime if what they're doing makes society better?

QuinnSutore 7 years, 6 months ago

As a kid my parents used to resolve my 'morality crises' with punishment, not by nitpicking everything the other one did and holding meetings and slapping one another on the wrist.

Sounds more like we're having a discipline crisis than a morality crisis. It also sounds like conservatives are more in tune with punishing criminals than pushing paperwork.

Police mistakes aren't trying to break into my house at night. Criminals are. Let's focus our attention on them for once.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

Not surprising if you were beaten as a child that you'd advocate for a similar approach for law enforcement.

One obvious problem with your position is that criminality (or lack thereof) is determined by the court system, not police officers.

So, unless they've been convicted of the crime, suspects are not criminals.

QuinnSutore 7 years, 6 months ago

Not surprising you'd jump to a conclusion and insinuate that I was beaten. I wasn't. My parents knew what a switch was, and they only had to demonstrate it once. Stung like dickens, but made the point and did no harm.

Okay, let the courts decide if they're criminals, and let the underpaid cops decide who's mouthed off to much. No reason our opinions can't co-exist, right?

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

Only if I'd agree that it's ok for cops to assault people who haven't been convicted of a crime, which I'd have a hard time doing.

Mouthing off - another term for that might be exercising their 1st amendment rights.

Glad you weren't beaten as a child.

eduardo73 7 years, 6 months ago

It is not the police job to "make society better." It is the police job to enforce laws, not break them. So, to answer your question, yes.

Joe Hyde 7 years, 6 months ago

If citizen complaints against officers is the only issue, then I agree with the current procedure of not publicizing those complaints, and not allowing press investigation into the particulars. Why? Because the matter involves merely a "complaint".

I would tend to think that if the issue is not resolved to the complainant's satisfaction by means of internal investigation by the Department, or if the complaint involves officer conduct of a clearly serious criminal nature and the Department does nothing about it, then the citizen has the right to personally file suit against the officer and thereby pursue the matter personally in the courts, in the same fashion that all other civil and criminal cases are prosecuted.

That avenue, though, forces the citizen to go public, too, by stepping into a witness stand and testifying in open court -- a "public forum", if you will, where the telling of petty lies on officers means perjury, a bit of mischief that usually ends up with a judge penalizing the liar, not the one who was victimized by the lie.

Likewise the Department, while investigating citizen complaints against an officer, may find insufficient evidence of wrongdoing but over time notices a trend or pattern in the complaints that eventually leads to findings sufficient to order the officer's dismissal or incarceration. And in those cases, if the officer challenges the Department's action by means of lawsuit and court trial, then the full body of documentation to include the citizen complaint history, can and very likely will be entered into evidence in the trail -- in which case everyone's desire for "open records" is satisfied.

fyrfighter 7 years, 6 months ago

must be a slow day around the ol paper house. complaints about police officers have been around as long as there have been idiots breaking the laws. I get real tired hearing folks complain about treatment from the police. Here is an idea. Obey the laws. don't have contact with the officers. A real high percentage of the public never have contact with police. the only ones that complain generally are the criminals the police arrest. Gee, wonder why they complain. The lawless attitude of the public is really scary. This is why society is going to heck in hand basket. police officers are like firefighters. no one wants to see or hear from them unless they need them. and you wonder why they have an attitude? Really?

Nikki May 7 years, 6 months ago

"the only ones that complain generally are the criminals the police arrest."

I disagree. People complain when they are being arrested, of course. However, witnesses complain, victims complain, people seeing crazy driving complain. Just looking at the summary of complaints you can see that. And, ultimately, not just criminals have contact with officers.

JimmyJoeBob 7 years, 6 months ago

The majority of the complaints come from suspects after an arrest it is a common tactic used by defense attorneys.

equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, on backward college campuses adminstrators have been known to criminalize the victims of terrible malfeasance, negligence, and incompetence to avoid financial liability for their actions. A cop that plays along with this is crooked, but when the people in charge are criminals, it's no reflection on such victims that lying officials try to smear their reputations with false, vindictive criminal charges.

Plus, in a whitebutt, hick town you get profiled and treated differently for your every little difference from the norm, so the cards are very stacked against you when it comes to dealing with police abuse. Very likely, unless you agree to play the demeaning roles aggressive people right off the local discriminatory streets want to assign you, you'll be treated like a member of the suspect classes .

Paula Kissinger 7 years, 6 months ago

Give it a rest know-it-all paranoids. Not everything is full of TV drama. It is called INTERNAL Affairs because it is handled every department in the world. Perhaps you would all like it if your employers spouted off all they knew about you professionally and personally to all the media they could get to listen to them. How would you like that ? These people are law enforcement officers and human beings and are entitled to the same privacy as everyone else. They are treated by their employers just as you are treated by yours. If you think things are just so corrupt then why don't you take it up with the authorities. There are those that police the police, you know, and they are not in the City of Lawrence.

volunteer 7 years, 6 months ago

I know many attorneys and Mike Merriam is among the sharpest. (Don't even try to play bridge with that fella) When Lawrence is required to open its records, I'm gonna look for the complaint an attractive local defense attorney filed alleging that one of Lawrence's finest was parked near her home late at night enjoying the view while she relaxed in her hot tub. She tells me she heard him and managed to sneak up and get his badge number.

Of course Topekans are wondering what, if any, punishment was meted out to the four off-duty officers who, after drinking for ten hours on St Pattys Day, decided a neighbor's music was too loud and ended up shooting the guy twice. (once in the gonads) The police chief would not release any records of punishment, saying it was a personnel matter.

Crazy_Larry 7 years, 6 months ago

Your dang skippy Topekans are wondering wtf happened to the four off-duty and riotous drunkards. And I'd like to make a correction to your post. TWO citizens (brothers) were shot down in their front yard that night by these off-duty thugs. Not two shots...two citizens. Granted these brothers were not the best citizens on the block. But the fact that these off-duty officers did what they did and got a way with it is what's most disturbing. The investigators waited a full twelve hours before obtaining BAC from the shooter who just happened to have an open container of beer in his vehicle, which he had left parked in the street in front of the victims house. They even had one of the officers admitting they were all a little "inebriated". Yet the special prosecutor, brought in from Johnson County, decided there was nothing to prosecute them for and dropped EVERYTHING! W.T.F. OVER? Complete coverup and the citizens of Topukea just laid down and took it without lube or reach around. The cops in Topeka are free to do whatever the heck they want, and they know it. The problems of law enforcement are plethora, systemic and nationwide. Time for real americans to wake up and take their city's back from the corrupt gangsters who wear funny hats and tin badges.

Crazy_Larry 7 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, I know I misspelled a bunch of words. Ttyping frantically while p'ed off will do that to ya.


Crazy_Larry 7 years, 6 months ago

Final Comment: The police need to address We the People as CITIZEN and not CIVILIAN.

Citizen: A person owing loyalty to and entitled by birth or naturalization to the protection of a state or nation. A resident of a city or town, especially one entitled to vote and enjoy other privileges there.

Civilian: A native, inhabitant, or denizen of a particular place.

equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 6 months ago

Good to know sharp and ethical lawyers exist( even in Kansas). By the looks of things, they're more the exception than the rule though. Anyone who has trouble meeting the professional standards of more advanced and liberal states must head for KS. They fit right in here too.

BorderRuffian 7 years, 6 months ago

"“Give me specific things where there’s been corruption that hasn’t been exposed?” Khatib said."

Bull puckey!!! This is EXACTLY why there needs to be public disclosure - we DO NOT know. If it hasn't been made available, IT IS A COVER UP! If it has not been exposed, then how are we to know about it to ask if it has been exposed?

Typical political double speak.

Paula Kissinger 7 years, 6 months ago

"If it hasn't been made available, it is a cover up! If it has not been exposed, then how are we to know about it to ask if it has been exposed?"

Because a lot of it is classified as an INTERNAL personnel matter which is none of your business. We also now have tons of "privacy" issues thanks to our tree-hugging friends so things that had been made public in the past are now not available for public viewing. If you are directly involved in any incident in which a police report is taken then you have access to a copy of that report. If not, again, it is none of your business.

Most of you need to stop with the "heresay evidence" with the comments such as "a friend of mine, or a relative of mine, or I heard or I know"... If you don't like the way the police department is run then go to the law enforcement academy, patrol the city of Lawrence for a number of years, get a college degree and apply for any supervisor's position that is open. Gradually you will work your way to the top and then you can show us what a great job you will do. That's how it's done.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

The issue at hand is whether this is in fact rightly an "internal personnel matter" or whether the public has a right to know about these complaints.

Are you really suggesting that the only recourse we should have as taxpayers and law-abiding citizens is to become police supervisors ourselves, and that other than that we have no rights whatsoever?

Paula Kissinger 7 years, 6 months ago

I am saying that, like other employers, the police department does not have to open officers' personnel files for public view. Nor is it anyone's business what these officers do off duty unless they are violating a law. How would you like it if you went to someone's party, perhaps had a few too many beers and made a fool of yourself...nothing illegal. Would you want that pasted all over the local newspaper or newspaper online ? I don't think so. This seems to be what these people are clamoring for. They seem to want details of what the officers do 24/7 and, as stated before, it isn't their business.

Being a police officer does not mean you are one 24/ means that you do your job and have the right to down time just like everyone else without constant scrutiny from the public. You are, sometimes, held to a higher standard, which is actually not right. There has been corruption in law enforcement, government, private enterprise and most other facets of life since the beginning of time. If you (we) private citizens think there is going to be open access to anything "juicy" or a "smoking gun" think again...if such a thing even exists

Crazy_Larry 7 years, 6 months ago

"Being a police officer does not mean you are one 24/7" LOL! That's friggin' funny because when the four off-duty thug cops in Topeka shot down the brothers they were off duty, but felt it necessary to go up the block and tell the party to quiet down. Police sympathizers in that case were professing "cops are ALWAYS on duty!" People are just sick of the obvious hypocrisy and want bad cops fired.

I think personal DIGITAL CAMERAS worn on the uniform of every officer, and running constantly (other than when in the bathroom of course), as long as their on duty, will be a step in the right direction. Something like this, for instance:

One things for certain, people are waking up, taking note and demanding change -- a step in the right direction IMHO. We the People have been asleep at the wheel for too long. 40 years of "war on drugs" has not helped the situation either. I think we can all agree that prohibition does not work. Legalize drugs, end the stupid "war" and return society to a somewhat sane state. TAX NOT TORT!

Paula Kissinger 7 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for keeping track of my past posts, Smitty. Learn how to spell and realize that what I said about the officers in the January post has absolutely nothing to do with what is being discussed here. The topic is whether or not the public should have access to all police records. Try to keep up...

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't think it was access to "all" police records they requested.

Paula Kissinger 7 years, 6 months ago

Bails ? On what ? I have done nothing but address comments made by you and others. Care to explain ?

pace 7 years, 6 months ago

What a strange post. One should post incidents that one is familiar with first hand. One should required transparency and professionalism from the police. I do not mean transparency about investigations, I mean transparency about valid complaints and how the complaints are handled.
The public records law should not be dodged by calling all complaints a matter of personnel.

Every citizen has the obligation to demand professional behavior from the people hired to act professionally.
To say one should not ask for that unless one goes to training and reaches the level of captain has absolutely got to be one of the weirdest criteria proposed, but sometimes I miss humor. So if the suggestion was meant to be humorous or sarcastic I apologize.

james bush 7 years, 6 months ago

I hope there's some middle ground to be reached by LE and LJW. Dealing with a bunch of KU students and privileged-class professors can't be easy.

pace 7 years, 6 months ago

One is not supporting law and order if one winks at misconduct by a police officer. A bad cop is more dangerous by ten than the average felon. Who do you call? There has been too many incidents that were colored by the perception of the victim not being regular, you know, regular, not regular, different. Prosecute it like a regular case or face a citizen's review board should be the state. It would help the community and the LPD.

Crazy_Larry 7 years, 6 months ago

Good comment. I'd like to add that a 'good' officer who lets a 'bad' officer slide is now a 'bad' officer too -- in my book. The law, is the law, is the law...professional courtesy? Eff that! Hand the fool a ticket and get on with your day, Officer Friendly. Police officers SHOULD be held to a higher standard when considering the affect their official actions will have on citizen's lives. Split second, life or death decisions should not be taken lightly. I like the idea of a citizen's review board and personal digital cameras to be worn by every officer while on duty.

Something like this perhaps:

Something tamper proof, of course!

boothillbilly 7 years, 6 months ago

if the officer in question has been investigated and the complaint is found unjustified, then the office is innocent and need not have an unjustified accusation available via google for all the world to see, should he/she ever want to get another job.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago


Except if you look at the examples in the other story, complaints which have been neither proven nor disproven are considered unfounded, which may not be accurate.

If, for example, there are no witnesses, then we really don't know what happened, and it's entirely possible the misconduct did occur.

Also, if the complaints have been investigated and the officer cleared, why would that hurt them?

Paula Kissinger 7 years, 6 months ago

What do you propose be done to stop this alleged "cover up" you are suggesting at ? We are waiting the appointment of a new police chief...maybe he/she will be someone you like/trust more than the recently resigned chief.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 6 months ago

I am all for a citizens review board, but I feel the only people who need to know the results of an investiation are the people effected by the results and those in official capacity. The job of the police department is to protect and serve. I know at times that is pretty muddied but it is a internal matter if they are investigated. If by chance a officer is terminated for wrongful acts then it should be reported upon but not all the investigative records should be released. 1st amendment rights are one thing, however empolyment law is anohter. Kanasas Law states the employer may only give dates worked.

fu7il3 7 years, 6 months ago

So we should expect to see the World Company personnel records published in the paper any day now? I am sure they receive their share of complaints. Especially from when they had the cable company.

SDTPlant 7 years, 6 months ago

WHAT? There's crime in the fairest city on the Kaw? AND, your PD is no less prone to the same issues that plague other departments around the country? To hear you Lawrencians tell it, all of the crime in Utopia has been imported or caused by Topeka criminals. Wake up-you're not living in the Lawrence that we all used to know and love.

Paula Kissinger 7 years, 6 months ago

"Wake up-you're not living in the Lawrence that we all used to know and love."

That must have been before I got here in the late 70's because by then the criminal families had already been around a few generations and kept local law enforcement busy as did the transients and mentals and athletes would have to be at least 60 to remember a time when this activity was not already going on.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 6 months ago

Hey Wlbur, you would be singing a different tune if it were your family member that had had his rights violated by the bullies with the badges. It is a little different when you confront a chief of police who is dedicated to covering up the violations and criminal behavior of his officers.

Crazy_Larry 7 years, 6 months ago

Well, when I went to get the names of the officers involved (5) in my infraction the first thing the fat lady cop behind the glass said to me was "well I don't know that!" Like I'm expecting her to... It was classic playing stupid with the hope that I would leave and say "oh well, I guess I can't get that information." WRONG! I asked the fat chick to check the log book, which I'm pretty sure she knew existed and had the information I needed. I ended up spending 20 minutes of my lunch waiting on chubby to get information that should not have taken more than 5 minutes to access. YEAH! They play stupid and cover for each other. Oh, and did I mention LIE like a rug on the witness stand? Seriously, if you can't admit the system is messed up then you are a part of the problem. Wait a aren't a cop by chance?

Clark Coan 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't care so much about rudeness by cops but I do care about excessive force, planting evidence and accepting bribes.

Paula Kissinger 7 years, 6 months ago

Nice link...too bad the only post about LPD regards the Target theft. Where's the rest of your evidence ?

Crazy_Larry 7 years, 6 months ago

Well, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. My link was meant to provide general proof of nefarious police activities that are being tracked NATIONWIDE, which would indicate a systemic problem. Oh, but it doesn't happen here! Not in Kansas! Our police are DIFFERENT! That's your point, right? I beg to differ, officer friendly. I have LEO in my family and I've been informed about the other "family" so you can quit giving me the run around. Sleep well Officer Friendly. And know that the old ways are just that. Look to the future and behold, CHANGE!

Food_for_Thought 7 years, 6 months ago

To those crying for all citizen complaints against police to be made public:

Just like citizens, every police officer is innocent until proven guilty. If someone is listed as a suspect in a crime, for privacy reasons, the public does not have access to this information. Heck, even after convicted, in terms of access to police reports and such, the public does not have access to that information either (save for the victims).

no_thanks 7 years, 6 months ago

I've lived in Lawrence for 15 years, and while my personal encounters with the PD has been few and far between, the experience nonetheless was positive. I have found the Lawrence PD to be prompt, professional, and frankly, extremely courteous. I'm certainly not advocating that all Officer's behave that way, but again, in my experience, they have been fantastic. Now, if you want a PD that exerts its power visit Wichita.

Crazy_Larry 7 years, 6 months ago

Last comment: We the People are to blame for the state of affairs we face today. We've been asleep at the wheel for too long--perhaps by design. Anyway, one step you can take towards personal protection (besides a concealed carry license) would be to buy and carry a small digital camera that you can flip on at the drop of a hat. I carry the key fob digital camera and a G-27. Word to your moms!

House of Pain:

fu7il3 7 years, 6 months ago

I've never been mistreated by the police here. No one I know personally has ever been mistreated. If you are constantly having problems with the police, maybe it isn't the police, maybe it is you.

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