Archive for Friday, February 11, 2011

Lawrence police chief candidates interact with residents at open house

Brian Jackson, a captain with the Lincoln, Neb., Police Department, discusses his strengths as a candidate to be Lawrence's next police chief.

February 11, 2011


Lawrence police chief candidates are introduced at an open house to meet the candidates Thursday at the Carnegie Building. From left are finalists Mark Kessler, a deputy chief in Overland Park; Clark Morrow, an Olathe police captain; Tarik Khatib, Lawrence interim police chief; and Brian Jackson, a captain with the Lincoln, Neb., police department.

Lawrence police chief candidates are introduced at an open house to meet the candidates Thursday at the Carnegie Building. From left are finalists Mark Kessler, a deputy chief in Overland Park; Clark Morrow, an Olathe police captain; Tarik Khatib, Lawrence interim police chief; and Brian Jackson, a captain with the Lincoln, Neb., police department.

Neighborhood issues and the future of the Lawrence Police Department were topics on the forefront of Thursday’s public open house with the four candidates seeking to be the city’s next police chief.

And the candidates — Lawrence’s interim chief and police administrators from Overland Park, Olathe and Lincoln, Neb. — tried to play up their strengths to the dozens of people at the Carnegie Building, 200 W. Ninth St.

The four finalists are Brian Jackson, a Lincoln, Neb., police captain; Mark Kessler, an Overland Park deputy chief; Tarik Khatib, Lawrence’s interim chief; and Clark Morrow, an Olathe police captain.

“It says a lot about the city of Lawrence that we’ve got people like this who are interested,” said Michael Orozco, a regional president for US Bank who attended Thursday’s open house along with about 60 people.

City manager David Corliss has been searching for a new chief since Ron Olin, who led the department since 1987, retired in September and became director of security and internal controls for Kansas Athletics Inc.

Corliss said the candidates spent most of Thursday interviewing with a panel made up of members of the public plus city and police department employees. They also interviewed with Corliss and Diane Stoddard, an assistant city manager, and met with other elected and law enforcement officials.

City officials also graded each candidate in a mock media exercise during the day.

At Thursday’s open house, the candidates mostly participated in one-on-one conversations with members of the public and law enforcement officers who attended.

Some residents wanted to talk about specific issues.

“I’m concerned about ensuring that domestic violence services are provided with respectful and adequate responses to domestic violence victims,” said Sarah Terwelp, executive director of The Willow Domestic Violence Center.

Some just wanted to meet the candidates and seemed impressed with each one.

“They were all very professional, and they all have the experience,” Orozco said.

Others left with their minds made up.

Steven Butler, a retired Army colonel, said he didn’t see the need for Corliss to bring in someone from outside. He said he was pleased with how the Lawrence department has operated and supported Khatib getting the permanent position.

“He’s a local man, with local experience, local connections and knowledge of the streets,” Butler said.

Khatib has spent his entire career in Lawrence, starting as an officer more than 18 years ago, and said he knows the department from the “inside-out.”

“At the same time, I’ve kept an open mind. I’ve kept myself open to outside ideas,” Khatib said. “I’ve sought training, and I’ve sought experiences, which hopefully has allowed me to bring new ideas to the table.”

Jackson, who oversees a joint city-county drug task force in Nebraska, said he has found ways to be creative in conducting police work. He also sees similarities between Lincoln and Lawrence because both are home to major state universities.

“I have a strong work ethic that has gotten me to where I am today,” he said. “And I believe that strength is being part of a professional police department that is very innovative.”

Kessler said he would rely on his experience after working more than a decade as a deputy chief in Overland Park.

“I don’t know that anybody can come in and say ‘I’m going to know it all’ or ‘I know exactly what Lawrence needs,’” he said. “I hope I bring good leadership to the table, and I would spend a lot of time identifying needs of the police department and how it relates to the community, the citizens, and work with members of the department to bring that about.”

Morrow said members of the public mostly wanted to know his views on how the department should work with neighborhoods and the community.

“For me, I’m a people person, and in this job I think that goes a long way,” he said. “I think common sense goes a long way as well.”

Corliss, who has authority to make the selection, said he expected to make a decision before the end of the month.


Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

Have no fear. The local man will be chosen. The choice has been made. Lawrence has little history of bringing in new thinkers.

caringforthecommunity 7 years, 3 months ago

each of the videos listed are of the same candidate???? Can you fix it? It would be nice to review each one.....

inatux 7 years, 3 months ago

Merrill, you're so right. I don't know why they waste other candidates time.

We really need some outside blood in this town. It's a same what a farce this is.

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

I hope there was more content and substantive discussion at the meeting.

If I'd been there (I didn't even know it was happening - why didn't I see information in the paper about it?), I'd have asked what they planned to do to bring crime rates down, and make Lawrence safer.

fairplay 7 years, 3 months ago

You people are hilarious. If Khatib were out of the running you would all be lighting up the boards to talk about how the City is ignoring local resources. Then you would go on to whine about how Lawrence was so much better before all the outsiders began migrating here. Remember, if they hire one of these other candidates, chances are they will want a new McMansion in Beigeville and will probably not understand the "beauty" of the more dilapidated (code name: artistic) neighborhoods in town.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

If new blood were brought in for the Chief position Khatib would not be forgotten. No way jose'.

LPD already has a McMansion in Beigeville. It's called 15th and Wakarusa. Been there for a few years now.

boxers_or_briefs 7 years, 3 months ago

I will refrain from commenting on this topic until I hear Smitty's spin on this.

LeBo 7 years, 3 months ago

Not a colored in sight! Where is the Rooney rule?

MrClean 7 years, 3 months ago

LJW could have posted better interviews than those. LPD could use a shake up. All the candidates seem like decent cops. I know Khatib is! Whoever is chosen, lead from the top and remember the patrol officers are the backbone of your agency (not the Captains); the dept could use change--it's been too long. Good luck.

applicant 7 years, 3 months ago

Hey Lebo you coward; non whites are not colored you fool. But that is a good point since black police chiefs are usually much better at fighting crime than their phony, coached and out of touch white males counterparts who usually get these jobs.

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