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Archive for Friday, February 24, 2012

One police officer accused of fixing traffic tickets no longer a city employee; second officer still on suspension

February 24, 2012, 9:26 a.m. Updated February 24, 2012, 3:12 p.m.

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Police Chief Tarik Khatib's statement ( .PDF )

One officer involved in a Lawrence police traffic ticket-fixing investigation is no longer employed with the department, Police Chief Tarik Khatib said in a statement Friday morning.

City attorney Toni Wheeler confirmed Friday that Sgt. Matt Sarna is no longer an employee of the Lawrence Police Department, and also confirmed that Sarna had been the subject of a personnel investigation.

“The personnel investigation for Matt Sarna was completed,” she said.

But Wheeler stopped short of confirming Sarna was one of two police officers who had been placed on suspension by the department during the probe into the traffic ticket-fixing allegations.

According to payroll records obtained by the Journal-World through an open records request, Sarna was paid by the city on Feb. 17, the last payroll processed by the city. The records, however, indicated Sarna received pay for less than the standard 80 hours accumulated during a normal pay period. City officials have refused to comment on whether the two officers had been suspended with or without pay. The Journal-World requested payroll records for all 15 sergeants in the police department, and the records indicated all 15 received their pay during the last payroll period.

Wheeler said personnel records indicate Sarna resigned from the city effective Friday.

Wheeler declined further comment on the matter. Recent attempts to reach Sarna were not successful.

With the department since 1991, Sarna was a school resource officer for several years until 2008. After his promotion to sergeant he was a patrol shift supervisor and in October 2010 became the department’s public affairs sergeant and media spokesman.

In his written statement Friday morning, Khatib released more details — including that at least six traffic citations were fixed — about the investigation launched following a May 2011 complaint that officers were involved in fixing speeding tickets in exchange for Kansas University basketball tickets. The city has said the individual whose speeding tickets were dismissed was a former Kansas Athletic Inc. employee now serving time in federal prison for his role in the broader KU ticket scandal.

A federal judge last year sentenced four former Kansas Athletics Inc. employees — Ben Kirtland, Rodney Jones, Charlette Blubaugh and Kassie Liebsch — and one department consultant, Tom Blubaugh, to federal prison after their guilty pleas in the cash-for-tickets scam from 2005 to 2010 that rocked the university and cost it more than $2 million in football and basketball tickets.

Khatib said the investigation found one officer had a long-term friendship with the athletics employee.

“As part of this relationship, the commissioned employee received free, discounted or otherwise special access to certain athletic events over the several years. At some point in the relationship, the former KU Athletic Department employee requested assistance with traffic citations,” Khatib said. “The investigation found that over the course of nine years the commissioned employee assisted in the fixing of at least six citations that can so far be determined: one in 2000, one in 2003, one in 2004, one in 2005, one in 2008, and one in 2009.

“‘Fixing’ is defined as the voiding of an issued citation before it is transferred to Municipal Court, the request for dismissal from Municipal Court, or intervening before the citation is issued.”

That officer is no longer employed as a result of violation of the city’s gratuity and solicitation policies, the chief said Friday.

Khatib said a second officer was asked two or three times by the first officer for assistance in fixing of a ticket and “may have been the beneficiary of KU tickets through the first employee.” The other tickets were fixed by asking officers who issued or were about to issue a ticket to void it or not issue it, but those officers did not “knowingly” receive anything in return.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, at the city’s request, investigated the case and decided against federal charges of bribery or other offenses.

Khatib said the second officer involved remains suspended pending conclusion of his personnel investigation and no other suspensions are anticipated.

The city did not release the names of the two officers in the statement Friday, but it has provided the names to District Attorney Charles Branson so prosecutors can determine if the internal investigation would affect any criminal cases in which the officers served as witnesses.

“The United States Attorney’s Office complimented the Lawrence Police Department for its thorough review of the matter and understood the city’s desire to have the complaint immediately reviewed by independent federal authorities,” Khatib said. “The city manager and I are committed to ensuring that members of the Lawrence Police Department perform their duties in accordance with the high ethical standards of this community.”

He said City Manager David Corliss also directed a full review of municipal citation dismissal procedures “to ensure greater transparency and accountability.”

Comments

poolside 2 years, 10 months ago

Will the name of this individual now be available?

ctrowbridge 2 years, 10 months ago

We are working to confirm the name, Poolside. -Caroline Trowbridge Community Editor

doc1 2 years, 10 months ago

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

JackMcKee 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm really disappointed in the way this has been handled by the police department. Release the facts.

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 10 months ago

And you have had a problem about waiting until all the facts are in and verified...why???

thinkagain 2 years, 10 months ago

I actually think it has been handled fairly well given that it started with an anonymous letter.

Jeremy 2 years, 10 months ago

Thats it? I thought there was going to be a big KABOOM!

svenway_park 2 years, 10 months ago

As someone who regularly spreads his hate around far and wide on this forum, it is interesting that Cheeseburger makes this comment.

I also know that many thieves and murderers have very good character traits and personal histories. So what? Accepting a bribe is accepting a bribe. Even from a friend.

doc1 2 years, 10 months ago

Don' t know him but colleagues of mine confirmed he was a really good Officer who did a lot of extra stuff to help people out.

svenway_park 2 years, 10 months ago

BTK was one hell of a boy scout and great church president too.

costello 2 years, 10 months ago

Yea, I don't know him either, but I just talked to my sister who used to be a dispatcher, and she said the same thing.

doc1 2 years, 10 months ago

None of the elements for Bribery exist. He was a good friend of one of the accused who gave him tickets. It was basically a favor for a favor. That's not bribery.

Maracas 2 years, 10 months ago

Yes, it is. Especially when it concerns one's public duty. It doesn't matter whether actual cash exchanged hands. He did a favor by fixing tickets, in exchange for something of value. That's bribery.

svenway_park 2 years, 10 months ago

None of the elements of bribery exist? ...Really?

gsxr600 2 years, 10 months ago

Bribery: The offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her public or legal duties.

"None of the elements of bribery exist."

It's bribery. Plain and simple.

Food_for_Thought 2 years, 10 months ago

Nope. There has to be an exchange, a "quid pro quo". According to LPD's media release (see link in article), the officer had be receiving free tickets even before any citations were fixed. It would appear that the officer received the game tickets from a friend, as a friend, and unless it was agreed upon that the game tickets were given to the officer with the expressed agreement that the officer would dismiss his friend's citations in exchange for the game tickets, then it IS NOT bribery. You can call it that all you want, but I'll take the word of the FBI and US Attorney's Office over some random poster on LJW

KrampusLawrence 2 years, 10 months ago

That means that I should start giving regular gifts to every cop that I see. That way it won't be seen as bribery when they don't give me a ticket for going 60 mph in a school zone?

Patricia Davis 2 years, 10 months ago

I agree with The Big B. If you want to enforce the law, you should not be above the law.

armywife 2 years, 10 months ago

I went to HS with Matt and regardless on what anyone says Matt has done a lot for the LPD and for Lawrence, he's a good person who made a really dumb mistake and now he's thrown away a promising career and future. What he did was wrong and I am NOT in any way condoning what he did and YES he should be punished......before everyone starts bashing him and the LPD also remember he has a wife and small children who will have to live with his mistakes as well. Matt while I am disappointed because you are someone that I always looked up to, I hope that you can learn from this mistake and that you can pull yourself up from this and move on. Good Luck to you!

Bob Forer 2 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, i am acquainted with Matt as well, and he always seemed like a decent guy. Too bad he had a lapse in judgment. His law enforcement career is shot, which is too bad, but that's the way things tend to go down when a person in authority screws up badly. I am sure most of us have at some point in our lives had similar somewhat serious lapses in judgment. Fortunately, for most of us, it doesn't cost us our careers. .

I wish him the best.

KrampusLawrence 2 years, 10 months ago

He should not be a cop. Police are supposed to enforce the law, not break them. If he has any integrity, he would publicly apologize. Either that or he will publicly state that the law he was helping someone break is, in fact, unjust.

lgreen17 2 years, 10 months ago

He committed a crime, not a lapse in judgement. Most people don't commit crimes in the course of their work. I don't care if they call it "gratuity" it's bribery plain and simple.

lily 2 years, 10 months ago

Well said. We do hold officers to a higher standard and this is very disappointing. I agree, regardless of his mistakes be respectful of his family, especially children. They don't deserve what some will likely dish out.

Scott Morgan 2 years, 10 months ago

Matt is a standup guy whom I guess did a wrong thing. If so, he needs to begin rebuilding his wonderful career. Just like.......

How many out there had a couple of drinks, get pulled over and face the same consequences. Not writing about the habitual drunk, just a person making one bad judgement.

There are plenty of employers who fire folks with a DUI. There are dozens of stories about how a DUI has ruined a person's career and life.

RoeDapple 2 years, 10 months ago

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/bribery

Bribery - The offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her public or legal duties.

Maracas 2 years, 10 months ago

Obviously you need to get with the city's program. Gratuity is the new bribery.

melwetzel 2 years, 10 months ago

For the purpose of . . . .

The person who gave the bribe is the one making statements to the authorities. This article says ONE employee of the KU AD, that is serving time already. They have his statement apparently.

That said, since when is it "Kansas Athletics Inc" as it says in the article? not sure i know what that means.

CardHawkFan 2 years, 10 months ago

Wow...This stinks! Poor decision by a really good man, husband, father, etc. There are some bad guys out there and he isn't one of them. I can only imagine who the other one might be...

fu7il3 2 years, 10 months ago

Amazing how things come back to bite people later.

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 10 months ago

Just testing...

www2.ljworld DOT com/photos/2005/jul/06/60735/

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 10 months ago

OK. Now that I've successfully run my test, I'm curious as to why you feel the need to make your links active?

svenway_park 2 years, 10 months ago

So, the Junction City city commissioner Wunder who got this whole ball rolling was just accepting a gratuity from David Freeman based on their close personal relationship.

Ahhhh. I now understand.

purplesage 2 years, 10 months ago

doc1 - Copied and pasted from a dictionary, the definition of bribery:

"The offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her public or legal duties."

Sounds like that to me. And it doesn't say anything about friendship.

doc1 2 years, 10 months ago

It's not your fault you don't understand part of the circumstance as it hasn't been released. It was a common thing between two "buddies" that traded favors. The DA would never be able to prove intent of purpose for influence.

KrampusLawrence 2 years, 10 months ago

So Sarna just happened to let him speed? Something that many other people have been ticketed for? Something that many people have lost their driver's licenses for?

This was a coincidence that it was a "friend" who happened to give him KU tickets. A friend who is now in jail for a scandal involving ticket fraud.

Coincidence. . .

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 10 months ago

The operative part of this definition is "...for the purpose of influencing..."

It doesn't have to say anything about friendship. (Frankly, if you have a "friend" who only does things for you to get something from you, then that person sure as heck isn't a friend.)

Vaildini 2 years, 10 months ago

Just curious, are people really surprised that a friend helped his friend get out of a ticket? Knowing that they were friends before he helped him makes me feel a little better about it. I'm not saying it isn't wrong or that there shouldn't be consequences but hammering the mans career over it doesn't make sense. If I work for Coke,I'd hook my boys up with cola if I could. T o think this is the only guy , in the only department across country who helped his friend out of a traffic ticket is ridiculous. No again, im not saying it's not wrong but it's not worthy of trashing a career of a guy who has worked hard. Don't move to a big city if this bothers you.

doc1 2 years, 10 months ago

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Vaildini 2 years, 10 months ago

so just curious. If you were in the same position with a friend and were able to get rid of a ticket for him, would you? Even without the tickets?

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 10 months ago

His "friend" is now doing time in prison for being party to a $2-million dollar ticket scheme. Some of those tickets could have ended up in this police officer's hands. Nice friend ya got there, Lou. You should choose your friends more wisely. The people who are attempting to defend or gloss over the issue like it's not a big deal have simply become numb to reality. Hollywood has numbed/dumbed society with B.S. television like CSI Miami, COPS and what have you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04YEbA...

lgreen17 2 years, 10 months ago

I am shocked frankly that it's Matt. If he did this, and it looks like he did since he was fired, then what did his peers get up to? He was a role model for many.

irvan moore 2 years, 10 months ago

remember to wave to a cop today, it will make him and you feel better and i'm pretty darn sure any cop you wave to will be a pretty good guy. remember, it's better to have a cop and not need one than to need a cop and not have one. thanks guys.

WOOHOO 2 years, 10 months ago

I have learned the name of the other officer involved. From a reliable source inside the LPD.

WOOHOO 2 years, 10 months ago

I am confirming the information before I post.

doc1 2 years, 10 months ago

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

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 10 months ago

OMG!!!

I hope to gosh you don't think that the scrolling photos of officers on the upper right corner are photos of the officers involved!!!

Click on OTHER pages!! You'll see the same officers' photos! It's just part of the page!!

OMG!!!

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, right. Want to "try again" yourself???

You wrote "try again...the officers that are referenced in the press release that says more than two were involved."

OK. But you wanna explain how THAT jibes with your writing "check out who the other officers are"...and then writing "These officers: http://police.lawrenceks.org/mediarel..." ???

And then explain why, in your next post, you wrote..."SRO sure has a high percentage of problem officers"???

All the belated roflmaos in the world aren't going to change the fact that you didn't laugh or act like you were joking about the identity of the other officers...until you were called on it.

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 10 months ago

You ought to be ashamed of yourself for maligning officers whose only "crime" was to have their photos scrolling on the entire LPD website.

Did it not even cross your mind that it would be HIGHLY unlikely for the LPD to put the photos of suspected officers on their website??? Particularly when no names. except for Sarna's, have been released??

As I said, you ought to be ashamed of yourself :-(

Food_for_Thought 2 years, 10 months ago

Smitty thinks any person wearing an LPD patch and a badge on their chest are corrupt.

See here:

"The police culture in the LPD is so strong that other officers comply with bribery requests with out questions.... "

"This was so indoctrinated into the LPD general practice that officers communicated when "certain" people were pulled over.

Wonder if there was a training class on who to fix tickets for. Sounds like it. roflmao"

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 10 months ago

Smitty is so busy covering his butt for misinterpreting an incidental portion of a webpage that he apparently has decided to not look at what he, himself, actually wrote. (Well, to look at the stuff he wrote that is pertinent to what we're saying :-)

So now he's arguing that we really need to read the press release...and that would, somehow, justify his comments about who the other officers are.

Well, we obviously have read it. But, unlike Smitty, we didn't assume that scrolling photos on a webpage = other officers involved.

Amy Heeter 2 years, 10 months ago

See I told you the chief would deal with this.

MarcoPogo 2 years, 10 months ago

Oy, I blew that one. My turn for the flogging.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 10 months ago

Unless, of course, you've got tickets to the game. HI YOOOOOOO! http://www.hiyoooo.com/

BruceWayne 2 years, 10 months ago

Somewhat unrelated question...Doug Compton sits right behind Bill Self at every single home game. Many times this year while playing on the road, I noticed Mr. Compton sitting right behind Coach Self. What is his connection that he gets such a great seat?

otto 2 years, 10 months ago

Large amounts of monetary donations will get you good seats too. Bribery?

lgreen17 2 years, 10 months ago

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

equalaccessprivacy 2 years, 10 months ago

"High ethical standards of this community," huh, Chief? You could have fooled me. I regret the day I ever stepped into this mess off a dishonest, southern-justice gulch! If any decency or honor exist in Douglas county it quickly gets cancelled out by ignorance and hypocrisy. I have had occasion my own complaints to the U.S. Justice Department about the misconduct of the local police at the criminal behest of the KU HR. This is an Orwellian town where gestures of supposed "kindness" come riddled with viciousness and harm. Clueless!

rockchalker52 2 years, 10 months ago

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

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 10 months ago

OK. So why don't you give us something substantive? Something to get us worked up about on your behalf? After all, we can't be supportive if we don't know what the heck we're supposed to be supportive of.

Scott Morgan 2 years, 10 months ago

hey man, eyes wide open now after 20 years and building/contracting my home. This area rivals Chicago for scratching ones back for favors.

The ticket/for ticket thing does not surprise me one tiny bit. What does surprise me is how the commissions always get what they wish for. The Shelter requesting money after all the fundraising is a perfect example.

We should simply cut out the middle man and give them access to the City and County bank accounts.

Take a drive around Lawrence sometime and notice paved verses non paved roads, fire hydrants, paved driveways, maintained public areas, short paved one way streets.

Then ask why and what pattern do these improvement follow. Hint, take a peek at the homes around these areas. Oh, rural fire hydrants save the nearby home owners literately thousands per year in insurance.

Vaildini 2 years, 10 months ago

hah It's traffic tickets from a friend. Jail? Really? It isn't odd all over the country for this to happen. Often times CI's get things like this taken care off. Criminals get off of crimes by giving a simple name. Yes it's wrong but damn. haha You would think one friend commited murder and the other one buried the body. This isn't the same as issuing a ticket to a stranger and then taking money and ripping it up. If you think it is you are lost. Naming peoples names before due process is self serving. The names will come out. Focus on something in your own life in the mean time. It looks like it is playing out.

jaybird79 2 years, 10 months ago

Cmon folks, every department in the city has these types of 'favors'. People with decades of time in for the city make sure contracts go to companies their spouses or children work for. Back door deals, cronyism and nepotism are the modus operandi. This is why things like this only come to light every so often and when it does, Corliss et al smooth the wrinkles as best as they can without letting on that this is how small town gov't works. These are small potatoes to some big dollar favors out there but that doesn't make it ok. All the best to the guys caught up in this, keep your heads up, it will pass.

Vaildini 2 years, 10 months ago

Did you say "this is how "small town Gov't works". haha Yeah this only happens in a small town gov't. No favors in big city and national gov't. Oh yeah and favors like this never happen in the private sector. Come on think before you post.

AwayfromLawrence 2 years, 10 months ago

Wow Matt is a good guy and everyone does need to remember that he does have a family and will have to live with his actions. He did do wrong to fix traffic tickets for KU Basketball tickets and will have to deal with the fallout whether there is anything legal that is going to happen. He made the choice though not a wise one. Went to school with Matt and have known him on a personal level he is a great guy!! He has done a lot throughout his career with the Lawrence Police Department and I am sad that he made this choice.

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 10 months ago

So at least one individual basically drove around town without any regard for traffic laws repeatedly because they knew they could make it all go away with a bribe. And as a result, the entire community's safety was compromised by this activity.

Food_for_Thought 2 years, 10 months ago

There is no such evidence proving or even alluding to that ANY officer that Sarna asked complied with his request to fix a ticket. Such libelous and slanted accusations only further reduces your credibility in your other "anti-police" posts on LJW.

Armored_One 2 years, 10 months ago

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

pace 2 years, 10 months ago

My personal thanks to the anonymous letter writer.

ToriFreak13 2 years, 10 months ago

There are a lot of supporters for this guy. If you are all correct in explaining this guy's character, and he is one of the "good cops", imagine what the "bad cops" are getting away with in this town. To Be Continued.....

James Minor 2 years, 10 months ago

He who is without sin throw the first two courtside tickets!!!

Reuben Turner 2 years, 10 months ago

well i be... The man did wrong and now he has to suffer the consequence... to know to do good and to do it not is a sin. My uncle told me a long time ago. "wrong is just wrong,but most don't think it's wrong until they get caught; well he knows now...

Mike Ford 2 years, 10 months ago

I went to Baker with Matt and was a pledge brother in a fraternity with him for a time. He's a stand up guy and a willing victim of thinking that being in a certain crowd in Lawrence puts one above the law. I witnessed the same behavior in said fraternity which is a separate issue in itself. He deserves a second chance and when the dimwits on KMBZ turn the jerry springer jury squad loose on him on Monday I will defend him but not his actions against the conservative am radio firing squad and their vast statements of intelligence. Learn from your mistake Matt and be the good guy I know.

psheaf2 2 years, 10 months ago

Please remember that police officers do serve and protect us. They are the ones that respond to our 911 call, and at times, put themselves in harms way to ensure our safely. Matt Sarna has served many years on the LPD, worked in our schools as a resource officer, served on the Board of boys and girls club, and has personally helped me and other neighbors in many situations without asking for a thing in return. He has a beautiful family and I certainly hope you will all be kind-hearted as they rebuild their lives. Their children are precious and as adorable as they come. I'm not here to judge his actions with a friend over traffic tickets. He's an awesome person and a hugely helpful neighbor. My best to Matt and his beautiful family. Now, let's let them more forward in peace~those children deserve normalcy!!

Patricia Davis 2 years, 10 months ago

Matt should have thought about his family before going dirty and that is what he is a dirty cop. He brought his family's name and shame into this reality. Now is the time to show the power of integrity. Prosecute those who fail to uphold the law (and I must say the irony of being the spokesperson for the law). That is where the real honor is.

KrampusLawrence 2 years, 10 months ago

But he broke the same laws that he was arresting people for breaking. Do you share the same feelings for other people that accept bribes? A lot of people thought that Ken Lay and Alan Stanford were great people. Unfortunately their actions said otherwise.

Police are supposed to ENFORCE the law. Why should they be given special treatment when they BREAK the law? What kind of message does this send to our kids?

JimmyJoeBob 2 years, 10 months ago

He was arresting people for bribery? Didnt know we had a big bribery ring running around Lawrence

kansasredlegs 2 years, 10 months ago

Corliss & Wheeler shouldn't break their arms patting themselves on the back. They pulled one over on the taxpayer. Blue Line Club still exists. To really show the consequences of such a misstep, the officer would have been fired and the city would have gotten back all its matching pension contributions since 1991. While shamed & humiliated at the moment all will be assuaged when that full pension is received and the taxpayers money gives that monthly stipend a big bump. SGT XX, better follow Matt & resign before city takes half your pension funds back if they fire you.

skinny 2 years, 10 months ago

As only a departmental policy was broken, Matt will get his pension, and will work as a Law Enforcement Officer again. So you guys go find something else to nitpick or gossip about!

Food_for_Thought 2 years, 10 months ago

Officers only get their pension if vested, which takes 15 years to become fully-vested. Otherwise, the officer only gets back the money that they contributed (and any interest accrued from their own contribution to their pension. Does anyone know how long Sarna served?

skinny 2 years, 10 months ago

Smitty, give it a break! After telling his folks goodbye the guy ran at the Officers with a knife! End of story!

Lawrenceks 2 years, 10 months ago

According to all the reporting that is not what Gregg’s parents said or the Offices! You have a wild imagination Smitty!

BlackVelvet 2 years, 10 months ago

So glad that you were there to see what actually occurred.

thebigspoon 2 years, 10 months ago

Years of servixce plus thier age have to equal 75 to get their pension I am sure. He was on the force for 20 years and is only 43 or 44 so that doesn't add up to 75...

Kimberly Hatch 2 years, 10 months ago

These 2 officers are not the only ones that fix tickets. Lets see how many family members of officers actually pay tickets? You telling me that family members of every officer never speeds, runs stop signs, etc.

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 10 months ago

Don't you really mean..."You telling me that family members of every officer never speeds, runs stop signs, etc....and, when they get caught doing it, have never had their ticket fixed"?????

Seems to me to be an important difference.

James Minor 2 years, 10 months ago

Regardless if it is a family member, the local priest, or the doughnut shop owner - the law was broken. Anyone who thinks the next time they are stopped for speeding can slip the cop $50 and he will forgive the ticket, is nuts. Jurors all over this country make decisions based on an cops testimony - assuming the cops are more honest than the average citizen. If the balance of justice is truly equal, then the punishment should be the same for anyone who breaks the law.

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 10 months ago

Actually, I served on a jury in a criminal trial here in Lawrence many years ago where we found the defendant NOT guilty because we did NOT assume the cops testifying were "more honest than the average citizen". Quite the contrary.

JimmyJoeBob 2 years, 10 months ago

I doubt there will be any breaks or warning tickets issued now. All the cops are gun shy with all these comments. If you get pulled over be prepared to get a ticket. There will be no discretion allowed.

greenworld 2 years, 10 months ago

I have known Matt Sarna for years and grew up with him, he still up to this day will be a nice guy with a smile that made a small mistake along the way. There is no doubt however in my mind whatever Matt pursues after this he will do quite well and learn from his mistake. He is one of the nicest guys that I have ever met and will learn from his mistake and move on. I blame some of it on Ron Olin for letting his department get to the point of no return and not having a handle of things years ago. We all make mistakes and get knocked down in life, its how we learn from them and get back up and move on and recover from them. He will always be known as a friend to me.

equalaccessprivacy 2 years, 10 months ago

Branson, his assistant DA's, and even the local judges are all part of the same corruption and conflict-of-interest scheme the cops are involved in. In fact, the cops are more or less just following orders. The real culprits and guilty parties need to be removed from their positions. I've watched in the recent past Branson, Jame McCabria, Katie Britton, and Judge Peggy agree to hugely illegal and unconstitutional terms for dismissing a retaliatory , false case KU brought. Only promising to turn them all into the state bar made them stop brutally persecuting and abusing law enforcement to backstab and smear me with lying allegations. Basically, they are dishonestly muzzling me under threat of might-is-right, false arrest and unethical use of the justice system for uncivilized, retaliatory purposes.

Nonsense 2 years, 10 months ago

Seriously, we know you were fired from KU. Give it up. Go away. You harrassed everone because you had issues....

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 10 months ago

It only takes one ah-oh to ruin a lifetime of atta-boys. www.hiyoooo.com

Wayne Propst 2 years, 10 months ago

allowed to resign....now he can become a double dipper.... the next cop shop won't be told about the nine year "incident"........

Getaroom 2 years, 10 months ago

Ridiculous comment, of course anyone hiring him will be aware of this incident, This is not an isolated world. He knew what he did was wrong, did it anyway and now he is paying the price. That price has many facets: socially, economically, psychologically.
Enough is enough. Good hearted people do wrong things every day and his crime was minor compared to most and it was insidious creeping up over the years to the way it ended. Power has many faces of corruption from small to huge. I wish Matt and his family well. Matt is a decent man and police officer, stop all this cop bashing, it serves no good purpose.

Mike Ford 2 years, 10 months ago

smitty....I'm Choctaw....I've met Greg's father at pow wows in Oklahoma. If no one did anything wrong....why did the city settle? entirely different story from the ticket scam but still annoying.....stars and bars on a personal vehicle of a pd officer doesn't make the dept look very good.....oh well......

JimmyJoeBob 2 years, 10 months ago

Because as we all know in most casese... like this one.... it is cheaper to settle with a small monetary amount..... as in this case.... as opposed to spend thousands of dollars on attorney fees to win.

skinny 2 years, 10 months ago

tuchkahouma, The City of Lawrence settled becuase it was cheaper than fighting the case in court. This is a common prratice. They are not nor did they admit the Officers did anything wrong.

sherbert 2 years, 10 months ago

I'd say it depends on if the KU tickets were given for specific traffic ticket tixes, which would be bribery, or if the KU tickets were given from friend to friend and the traffic tickets were fixed randomly. That would be more like dept policy violation. They had the internal investigation though, so I guess they know.

rukidingme 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't think the 2nd officer should be put through anymore trouble. Think about it this was his SGT. that was "asking" him to fix a ticket or not write the ticket. Put yourself in his shoes if your supervisor was asking you to do something that you know is wrong, you will probally do it to save your job. I been in that 2nd officer shoes before and I knew what was wrong and I reported it. Big Mistake, I was pushed out of the department for being a nark. I understand the presure he was under.

50YearResident 2 years, 10 months ago

How many more will be snared by this ticket scandal? Are there some bigger ones behind the scenes yet?

X_X 2 years, 10 months ago

Man, this sucks. Matt Sarna is a great man.

Mark Currie 2 years, 10 months ago

I too know Matt Sarna. He was one of my students at LHS. He was a good kid then, & a good guy now. What crime was he convicted of again? Let all of you who are perfect & have never ever screwed up please come forward and cast the first stone.... I kind of think that cesspool known as KU Athletics Inc., could drag anyone down. Just my thoughts. Ignore or flame away.

Bassetlover 2 years, 10 months ago

Agree! Matt Sarna cannot be judged and condemned for a misstep in what has otherwise been a stellar career at LPD. All the naysayers here are forgetting his "crime" wasn't even criminal. But no surprise that most of these comments are incredibly self-righteous. He is no more perfect than you or I but at the end of this ordeal, he will remain a great man, father, and member of this community. He will bounce back from this, reinvent himself, and go on to do great things in his next chapter. We should all wish him nothing but the best for his years of service to protecting each of us. Thank you, Matt! You are still loved, respected, and admired by legions of us here in Douglas County. Godspeed!

svenway_park 2 years, 10 months ago

Crime is criminal. And this was not a "single" incident. Other criminals are still loved, respected, and admired by legions. What is the difference? Do the crime, serve the time.

Patricia Davis 2 years, 10 months ago

This was not a one-time oopsie. This unethical behavior went on for a decade. Not having the courage to say no isn't the makings of a great man. Yes, it is unfortunate. But Matt chose over and over again to repeat this ticket fixing I think largely because the culture of the police department does not think they have done anything wrong. What I hope comes out of this is greater transparency and a community watching the people who are watching out for us. Who guards the guardian in action.

berreynolds 2 years, 10 months ago

Paying Municipal Court twice the cost of the ticket to not have it go on your record? Not bribery? He broke policy. Not the law-as determined by both the Feds and city attorneys. Put some blame on the jerk putting Sarna is that spot and taking advantage of a friend.

svenway_park 2 years, 10 months ago

"He broke policy. Not the law-as determined by both the Feds and city attorneys."

This assertion, which is repeated by others above, shows significant lack of knowledge of the legal system and basic criminal law.

Neither the feds nor city staff attorneys are responsible for interpreting or prosecuting basic state criminal laws, including bribery. This is the local DA's basic responsibility and duty. A lack of federal charges, or city attorney prosecution means very very little relative to whether a crime has occurred, or whether there will be charges.

Having said that, a local DA will have a lot of indirect pressure to not prosecute a member of local law enforcement. It is unfortunate, but true. He has to work with law enforcement every day. And this particular DA has never impressed me as one to make difficult or unpopular decisions. If he were smart, he would refer this case to the AG for review and appropriate action.

But don't try to say there has been no crime committed because the feds or the city staff attorney has not pressed criminal charges.

lunacydetector 2 years, 10 months ago

hey buddy, i can get free tickets to the KU games through my work. not to every game, but we have extras on occasion. do you want any? we get to give them out for public relations purposes.

sure, i'll get you some whenever we have some extra.

hey man, i just got a ticket for speeding. my insurance is going to eat my lunch. is there any way i can get out of it? can you pull some strings somehow and help out a pal?

is this the kind of scenario that went down?

begin60 2 years, 9 months ago

Support is not requested from those who aren't perceptive enough to understand why it might be needed. Clue: psychological pains hurt worse than physical ones by at least a factor of ten. Life celebrates those who mind their own p's and q's. Kansas busybodies deserve to die at the stake. Matt Sarna was frequently quoted in this very newspaper in tones that suggested his was the respected last word It's quite likely anyone who is friends with this dude is equally or more corrupted. Root it out!

Chelljo 2 years, 9 months ago

I am someone who is very close to Matt. The misleading and inaccurate interpretation of what occurred is unfortunate. He IS a great man, was a great police officer, a wonderful husband, fantastic father, and good friend. And the majority of this town knows this. There was no ticket scandal. Chief Khatib and many others need to open their eyes if they think that the officers in this town and every town in this country does not forgive or get people out of traffic violations. The fact is that the receiving of tickets did NOT have anything to do with the traffic violations. Lunacydetector was pretty accurate on his interpretation on how the scenario went down. The giver of the tickets did wrong, yes. I think if the giver was anyone else, this would have never been an issue. Gratuity?? No. Does Matt receiving tickets from his dad or his wife or his friend constitute gratuity?? Really people?? Matt and his family will move on from this situation. The support he has is amazing. I wish him, his wife, and his children God speed in healing. You're a great man Sarna!!

Erin Malone 2 years, 9 months ago

Why would Sgt. Matt Sarna resign if he is innocent? It's usually the people who are GUILTY that resign...

Patricia Davis 2 years, 9 months ago

"Does Matt receiving tickets from his dad or his wife or his friend constitute gratuity??" It does if he did something for them he knows not to do for others. Chelljo's sloppy ethics is exactly why thinks like this happen. "No big deal." Well, it is a big deal. For over a decade Matt did what his "friend" asked him to do. And BTW since everyone knew Jones was a scumbag why have him for a friend?

clarkk 2 years, 9 months ago

I have meet Sgt. Sarna on a medical issue. He was so helpful and kind. Handled the situation professionally and with kindness. Good luck to you Matt.

one2no 2 years, 9 months ago

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