New Lawrence police sergeant encouraging officers to engage with public in more proactive, positive way

When Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib officially promoted Adam Heffley Wednesday morning, the new sergeant welcomed the added responsibility.

“I like to take ownership of the department,” said Heffley, 33, who has been serving as an acting patrol supervisor since August. “If I see something that I can help with, make better or improve, I want to take that on.”

As he will help lead the daytime patrol shift, Heffley said the department is encouraging officers to engage with the public more directly in an attempt to be more proactive.

“A lot of people only have contact with the police when they’ve had something horrible happen in their lives,” he said. “I think it’s really good for the people as well as the officers, especially the officers, to go out and make positive contacts in the city.”

That outreach can help with crime prevention, he said, but it can be a balance because there’s not always time for that. Officers are often busy during their shifts responding to calls.

“We find a way to do them when we can,” said Heffley, a Kansas University graduate who started as an officer in 2000. “I think everybody wants to work toward getting enough officers and resources so that we can go out and have a lot more positive contacts.”

Heffley replaces longtime Sgt. Susan Hadl, who retired last week after 32 years with the department. He said in the past Hadl took time to encourage him during tough times.

“I told her (last week) I really appreciated that, and I will try to incorporate that in how I will supervise,” Heffley said. “She just mentioned she appreciated the comment and just to pass it on to the next generation.”