Archive for Friday, February 18, 2011

Tarik Khatib introduced as new Lawrence police chief

19-year LPD veteran to lead force

Tarik Khatib, Lawrence's interim police chief, discusses his strengths after interviewing as a finalist to become Lawrence's next permanent chief.

February 18, 2011, 9:14 a.m. Updated February 18, 2011, 7:07 p.m.


Lawrence Police Captain Tarik Khatib was named interim police chief by City Manager David Corliss on Tuesday, August 10, 2010. Khatib took over when current chief Ron Olin retired on September 1. The city hopes to hire a new police chief by the end of the year.

Lawrence Police Captain Tarik Khatib was named interim police chief by City Manager David Corliss on Tuesday, August 10, 2010. Khatib took over when current chief Ron Olin retired on September 1. The city hopes to hire a new police chief by the end of the year.

At the conclusion of a nationwide search, City Manager David Corliss on Friday announced his choice for police chief: Tarik Khatib, a 19-year veteran of the Lawrence Police Department.

During an afternoon news conference at City Hall in which Corliss made the announcement, Khatib stepped up — without notes — to address the officers and city staff members who’d gathered.

“A lot of what we do in the community as police officers is based on doing things from the heart,” he said. “I’m very humbled and honored to be selected.”

Corliss said Khatib stood out during the search process and interviews.

“I wanted the best person in the position,” he said. “I wasn’t so much concerned about where they were from. It was about where they were going.

Khatib, who has served as interim chief since September, pledged to work to improve the department while at the same time paying respect to the man he replaced: longtime Chief Ron Olin, who retired last year to become director of security and internal controls for Kansas Athletics Inc.

“We’ll continue to build upon the great department Chief Olin left for us,” Khatib told the audience, which included Olin. “And we’ll continue to add and look to the future and increase our public interactions as we’ve been doing lately to try to communicate more with the community about the challenges we face.”

The choice

Corliss, who has the authority to make the selection, picked Khatib after conducting a national search that attracted 41 applicants from eight states.

Khatib and three other finalists — police administrators from Olathe, Overland Park and Lincoln, Neb. — interviewed and met the public last week in Lawrence.

The three other finalists were Brian Jackson, a Lincoln, Neb., police captain; Mark Kessler, a deputy chief in Overland Park; and Clark Morrow, an Olathe police captain. One other finalist, Tom Stolz, a deputy chief in Wichita, dropped out of the running after saying he worried that his wife would not be able to get a teaching job in the Lawrence area because of the state’s budget crisis.

Corliss said Khatib stood out as the top candidate.

“I think Tarik is going to take the police department, a very good police department, to the next step of one of a high quality,” he said.

The city manager credited Khatib for his work as interim chief and during the interview process.

“He’s consistently focused. He’s a hard worker,” Corliss said. “He’s got tremendous law-enforcement values of attention to integrity and of the rule of law.”

Khatib will make $110,000 a year in his new job and oversee a department with an operating budget of $14.2 million that has a work force of about 140 officers and 40 civilian staff members.


As Corliss and Khatib talked about working to improve the department going forward, Mayor Mike Amyx discussed Khatib’s experience in Lawrence.

“This is a big day in Lawrence, Kansas,” he said. “Tradition is something that’s very important to me, and I know this community and you are carrying quite a tradition.”

Laura Routh, who has advocated for the city to have more oversight of the police department with citizen involvement, said she had some misgivings about the new chief coming from within the department.

“But with that said, I have met and visited with (Khatib), and I guess at this point I remain cautiously optimistic that he represents a positive step forward and a positive change for the police department,” she said.

Detective Mike McAtee, chairman of the collective bargaining unit Lawrence Police Officers Association, said officers and detectives were happy with the process and the outcome.

“We have a very good department. But like anything you can always do better, and I think he wants to take a very good department and make it better,” McAtee said.

Khatib, 43, who was born in Beirut, Lebanon, moved with his parents when he was 11 to Lake Forest, Ill., in suburban Chicago. He followed in his mother’s footsteps and attended Kansas University, where he graduated in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, before joining the department. He lives in Lawrence with his wife, Chrisy, and two sons, Colton and Drake.

Since being named interim chief, Khatib, who has worked in nearly every facet of the department, has stressed community interaction as a common theme at department functions.

“Ultimately it’s your police department,” he said at the news conference. “We’re just the stewards and caretakers for a time.”

After Friday’s announcement, he was preparing for an evening graduation ceremony for six new officers.

“That’s probably more important to me right now, making sure I interact with our newest officers,” Khatib said, “and bring a message to them about what our expectations are in the community for what they’re going to be doing here shortly.”


K_Verses_The_World 7 years, 1 month ago

Me and my baby walking down the street, Telling everybody about the chief of police.

Kontum1972 7 years, 1 month ago

i thought hey already announced this last week....Tarik Khatib..are they planning a parade to "The Bird"?

Belinda Rehmer 7 years, 1 month ago

Why, if there is going to be an official announcement at 4:30 is this a story now? Since you have already announced it to the world, do they even need to have their press conference now? This just seems to be counter productive. The city was kind enough to get all the players together to make YOUR job easier, and instead you use it as a teaser... It should be a celebration, a nice story, but you LJWorld have just made all their hard work (pulling together all the players) for nothing and have taken the wind out of Chief Khatib's announcement. I don't get it. Please explain.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 1 month ago

When the guy from Wichita dropped out, that was the tell they where hiring from within.

ResQd 7 years, 1 month ago

Interim, qualified, lawrencian - they should hire him.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 1 month ago

That was also my first thought. But then, when isn't smitty pissed?

meggers 7 years, 1 month ago

You beat me to it. At least we can agree on something. This might be a first.

svenway_park 7 years, 1 month ago

Even a broken clock is right at least twice a day.

meggers 7 years, 1 month ago

LOL- when has smitty NOT been pissed at something the LPD has done?

Brent Fry 7 years, 1 month ago

Tis a shame. They needed to bring in an outsider for this job. Not that there is anything wrong with Mr. Khatib, but Mmst officers inside the department would tell you they need some new direction in there. Unfortunately, things will probably just remain status quo now.

over_par 7 years, 1 month ago

CMM you are absolutely incorrect. Most did feel it was time for Olin to go, but people in the know would tell you Khatib is taking things in the right direction, making changes and he was a nearly unanimous choice by officers.

Brent Fry 7 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, I know people "in the know" and they are police officers. And they aren't exactly excited about keeping things same 'ol same 'ol

I have no complaint about the way officers handle their jobs. The officers are the ones that wanted change at the administration level.

lawrencerulz 7 years, 1 month ago

I have to agree with CMM here. I know there were many within LPD, mostly at the officer level, that were hopeful that one of the outside candidates would get the job. Most had said the department was in need of serious changes in the administration. Oh well, good luck to the members of the LPD moving forward.

Kontum1972 7 years, 1 month ago

he has "Federal Agent" experience..... ........he can call in air GPS....

the town could use some carpet bombing....bring on the 52's..aka "Boxcars"


Kontum1972 7 years, 1 month ago

i love the smell of Napalm in the"VICTORY"

Clark Coan 7 years, 1 month ago

Let's see, Olin was promoted from ass'st chief to chief and Wildgen was promoted from ass't city mgr. to city manager and then Corllss was promoted to city manager. The latter is why Corliss promoted Khatib. We need innovation at the city and dept. level and that's not going to happen now.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 1 month ago

We all knew he was the choice. The search was.just a formality. It really doesn't matter because if corruption exists it will continue no matter who sits in the big chair. Anyway the new chief is pretty hot do its all good

Paula Kissinger 7 years, 1 month ago

Matt Sarna makes a great photographer, don't you think ? Much better than a SRO...imo...

Victor Dawson 7 years, 1 month ago

For all the haters, don't count Tarik short. He has already, as the interim chief, made some good changes. Remember that any change will take time. Also, I would rather be dealing with LPD than some of the other departments in the State. I am looking forward the the Chief Khatib era!

BlackVelvet 7 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence Guy just needs to move since he hates Lawrence so much

Scruggsy 7 years, 1 month ago

Plus, the dude was one hell of a cornerback for KU. That was awesome when he returned that INT for a TD in the Orange Bowl, and started high stepping from about the 30... Mangino probably taught him a few things about eating donuts as well...

BruceWayne 7 years, 1 month ago

he will do just fine...the problem here is Core-less.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

I really have no idea. But how will the citizens of Lawrence know one way or the other over the next few years?. Will we have any notion of the performance of the new Chief? Or just a rubber stamp on extending his contract on the wage and benefit reductions because that's easier?

gl0ckUser 7 years, 1 month ago

Maybe he can make things right ? Ringt now I hope he can. With the yellow house stuff because it's still going on.

John Hamm 7 years, 1 month ago

So it's "business as usual" for the LPD...... A perfect chance to improve the department blown.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 1 month ago

Hope he is better than the last one and cleans some of the smut and corruption out of the department.

blueberries 7 years, 1 month ago

The cutline with this story's photo on the homepage has a ton of errors...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

The new chief looks a little like Peter Sellers, aka Inspector Clouseau, doesn't he?

labmonkey 7 years, 1 month ago

I had to reread his first glance I thought the former KU CB was named police chief, which would really be an odd choice considering how many times he's been arrested.

beaujackson 7 years, 1 month ago

Maybe it's time for a few ministers to confess to the city comm.

somebodynew 7 years, 1 month ago

Well, it is good to know that things are right with the world. Smitty is on the job, waiting for the "next LPD controvery" to arise so that she can take LPD to task for something new, and now substitue Khatib's name for Olin's. Or maybe hit the Daily Double and be able to bring both their names into whatever topic it is.

Oh, and Smitty - it shouldn't suprize you that the LPD lies on DV. After all, they lie about everything according to you.

somebodynew 7 years, 1 month ago

Oh, I forgot - somehow, someway the "next LPD controvery" will somehow tie into Sevier, YH, or (made-up name) Carrie's Law.

somebodynew 7 years, 1 month ago

Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

stevemarkcraig 7 years, 1 month ago

before they shoot sevier what should have happend they should have cleared the house and started negotiations and let him kill himself because that was where it was headed because they have had encounters with him before

BigPrune 7 years, 1 month ago

I don't know the man but it sounds like he is a good one. Wasn't the request to have people apply really just a formality, sort of like having Corliss win over everyone else who applied for his job? The Federal govt does the same thing. They list the qualifications they require, all the while the qualifications are exactly like one of their own employees. I'm sure the state does the same. Is it a law or something they seek outside applicants? Isn't it just a waist of time and taxpayer's money?

jafs 7 years, 1 month ago

I certainly hope the new chief does something to help lower the crime rate in Lawrence, which he himself has pointed out is higher than comparable college towns around the country.

I'd like to see more enforcement of traffic laws, ie. turning without a turn signal, bicyclists completely ignoring the rules of the road, etc.

A couple of years ago on New Years Eve, we were awakened by someone knocking on our door at about 2am - we didn't know him and told him to go away. A little later, a bunch of people in a car drove up. We called the police, who came out and said it was just a bunch of drunk college students. As far as I know, they just let them go. Why not charge them with DUI?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.