Archive for Sunday, July 1, 2012

Police chief: Help needed to fight financial crime

Khatib discusses issues department faces going forward

July 1, 2012


Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib calls it losing the middle ground.

“To me the trend in financial crimes and forgery has become the new petty crime in Lawrence as opposed to theft,” he said. “There’s a lot of abuse of credit cards and financial instruments.”

Khatib said it could be driven by the prevalence of more people using debit and credit cards now as opposed to cash and by more purchases made over the Internet, all resulting in more opportunities for criminals.

As part of his current request to city officials for more positions, equipment upgrades and a new police facility, Khatib has drawn attention to the city’s crime rate when compared with a group of 27 other similar cities across the country, including Overland Park, Olathe, Norman, Okla., and Lincoln, Neb.

In the 2010 survey, Lawrence had the highest rate of property, financial and nuisance crime cases at 12.5 per 1,000 residents. The average among all the cities was 4.3 crimes per 1,000 residents. And Lawrence’s clearance rate in those areas was only 14.9 percent compared with the 21 percent average among all cities.

“I’m basically saying the police department doesn’t really have the capacity to take on investigation of those crimes without doing one of two things: either getting more resources to apply to it or cutting something else to try to get back to it,” he said.

Khatib said the situation is a product of the department’s workload. The same survey found the Lawrence department was handling 370 calls per officer compared with an average of 323 calls per officer. He believes the department is effective in solving high-profile and major cases such as homicides and shootings, and also managing the 50 to 70 events, such as parades, athletic and cultural events, in the city each year.

But that also comes at a price in solving certain types of crimes that don’t often get headlines. Still, the fraud and forgery crimes that might involve the Internet or a suspect from far away are much more complex than thefts reported years ago, he said. The department’s fraud and forgery investigator was absorbed 10 years ago because of patrol needs.

“The same amount of cases and the same amount of calls take more people to do,” Khatib said. “A patrol officer is doing the lion’s share of that on top of everything else. They constantly get interrupted.”

Future ramifications

City Commissioner Hugh Carter said that as the city seeks to market itself to attract more retirees, it would be crucial to combat forgery, fraud and theft crimes. But he said the department’s staffing levels for officers doesn’t put it in position to be proactive on those types of crimes.

“This is a crime that is on the rise dramatically. It is predominantly seniors that are targeted,” Carter said. “I think it’s critical that we get on top of that, and I know that his staffing requests would give him the resources to do so.”

Earlier this month Khatib provided a memo to city commissioners that says the effects of the staffing levels stretch beyond the department’s limited ability to respond to fraud and forgery calls. He said safety concerns include not responding to some medical emergencies and sending one unit to an alarm.

Others could present more of an inconvenience for the public: not responding to loose animal calls when no animal control officer is on duty or holding non-emergency calls during busy times. When bars close, police often can’t respond to noise complaints during peak times, he said.

Khatib also said that in the future, the department could look at things like not responding to traffic accidents on private property; even less investigation into fraud and forgery cases; reduce the number of school resource officers from six to four; folding the department’s traffic unit back into patrol; and changing in how the department handles special events such as half-marathons and parades, including the city possibly denying permits because of a lack of resources to handle the event.

Khatib said it would be a difficult decision because he has also focused on community policing and stressed the importance of interactions with the public.

“There is a danger here in that it will reduce the number of nonconfrontational interactions between officers and those they serve,” he said. “These types of interactions are important for the well-being and relationship of citizens and officers.”


City staff members earlier this month provided commissioners with a cost estimate of $30 million to cover a new police facility and $12 million to add 46 police positions over the next four years.

Carter said Friday he hoped city staff members this week could provide information about what a new facility that would cost about 20 percent less at $24 million to $26 million and spreading the staffing increase over seven years instead of four. He also said he hoped funding could come largely through a sales tax, but after the state’s sales tax rate is reduced in 2013 to offset any potential increase.

“I do believe this commission will step up and address it, but exactly how, I don’t know,” he said.

City Manager David Corliss as part of his budget recommendation for next year included three new police positions, and he said the city wants to reopen exploring if other agencies would be interested in sharing a new police facility, like the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Kansas University Public Safety Office.

Sheriff Ken McGovern has said there are other issues for his department to consider because if they moved into a new facility, his department would likely still be split among the jail in east Lawrence, the new facility and court security at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center downtown.

— Reporter Chad Lawhorn contributed information to this report.


Jayhawker07 3 years, 5 months ago

We are talking about wallstreet, big banks (most the bailed out ones). Are we not the tax payer paying for there faults? Or better yet our 401 and investments? No jail time, no drug testing, small fines. Why do we need to hire folks to slap peoples hands. More than not it is a federal offense. More BS. Let's raises the mill levy to cover all these folks. Blah Blah Blah!!!!!!! Need to order more checks, what is up with that. And that is now being charged. I so look forward to our childrens future. These guys and girls are screwing us beleive it or not (our elected officials). Good luck at the booth this year, scam, scam, SCAM. As much as I don't want to believe it is what it is. Sucks!

Patricia Davis 3 years, 5 months ago

I say enforce all of the cutbacks recommended. Force all three units (Lawrence, Douglas County and KU) to consider consolidation. And about those permits for events: charge the people who stage these events the full cost of police time.

Lawrenceks 3 years, 5 months ago

If you can do it without raising taxes go for it. You forget times are rough right now. No pay raise in 5 years. NO MORE TAXES!!

How about consolidating the Law Enforcement in Douglas County. Do we really need six Law Enforcement Departments in this County? The Sheriff Dept, Lawrence Police Dept, Baldwin Police Dept, Eudora Police Dept, KU Police Dept, and Highway patrol? How about ONE Dept?

brewmaster 3 years, 5 months ago

C'mon now grandma, I understand that nobody wants to pay more fees and taxes. However, your two-second-soundbite statement shows a certain lack of critical thinking. To answer your question: Of course and absolutely, I want my police chief, as well as all LE officers, to be an advocate or to use your term a "salesman" for public safety and law enforcement.

JackMcKee 3 years, 5 months ago

Grandma, exactly spot on. Khatib thinks his job is to advocate for the expenditure of the most taxpayer funds he can swindle. Who has the backs of the taxpayer? It should be the City Manager and City Commission. Where are they?

Patricia Davis 3 years, 5 months ago

I think it is time we reform the way our city elects its commissioners, electing by ward/districts rather than all coming from the business can't spend enough public money fraternity.

JackMcKee 3 years, 5 months ago

The word is out, this group can't spend it fast enough. Get it while this group of idiots is in office. It won't last forever.

KU_cynic 3 years, 5 months ago

There are a couple undercurrents to this story that have not appeared in press yet. Basically, people working in the police department have a chip on their shoulders regarding the level of support they receive relative to other city employees, especially but not exclusively the fire department. Lawrence's fire department needs have been benchmarked, documented, and largely and very generously met over the years. The police department personnel -- who feel that day-to-day that they work harder on the front lines of public safety than anyone -- perceive that they have been not treated as well. Surely in the process that led to hiring Khatib as the new chief this sentiment came through loud and clear from the ranks, and he is now pressing hard on that dimension.

A good question to pursue in the press would to see if the PD's inferiority complex is justified. Is the PD under-resourced relative to benchmarked communities? How about the FD, as a point of comparison?

Richard Heckler 3 years, 5 months ago

Financial Crime ? Call in the KBI and the FBI. Job done.

It seems to me rape,neighborhood problems and downtown is enough to keep the LPD busy.

How can locals stop financial crime? They cannot. The crime must be committed first.

Want to reduce crime? Don't call the LPD. Put people back to work at jobs that pay at least $33,000 a year which ain't much money in Lawrence,Kansas.

I would bet considering the many budget increases for the LPD over the last 25 years,water,trash and sewer rate increases,swimming admission increases,pot hole tax increases,over paid Chamber of Commerce increases,tax increases to keep the tax dollar money hole west side development rolling along etc etc there has been I would imagine at least 400 tax increases over the last 25 years.

Simply because water and sewer rates increase is no indication either service has become more expensive it simply means the development of west Lawrence needs more pork barrel tax dollars.

Has anyone ever asked themselves why in the world a half cent tax increase was necessary to existing roads in good working order? I asked why isn't maintenance of existing tax payer owned infrastructure included in the public works budget?

My answer is way too much development out west is not paying back. So rather than cut it off until the new development can take care of it self the city keeps spending at "boom town economy" pace thus all types of tax increases are laid out.

Then millions upon millions upon millions of preferential treatment tax dollars are given away as if Lawrence does not need those tax dollars. What do they say? We're not losing money Lawrence never had = my interpretation. Any way you look at it Lawrence needs all of the tax dollars we can get our hands on so that my taxes can be reduced.

JackMcKee 3 years, 5 months ago

next thing you know Khatib is going to be asking for a Predator drone because, you know, he has to secure the borders and everything.

JackMcKee 3 years, 5 months ago

surveillance cameras, tanks, automatic weapons, an expensive new headquarters, 48 additional troops.

It sounds more like Khatib is preparing for war.

deec 3 years, 5 months ago

This is a national trend. Police forces all over the country are being integrated subtly with Homeland Security in preparation for internal strife or insurrection.

There is some sentiment in the government that in the event of massive internal violence due to economic collapse or a similar scenario, the military may not comply with turning against the populace.

newmedia 3 years, 5 months ago

Obviously Topeka wasn't included in the survey...

avarom 3 years, 5 months ago

Tell the Chief to go to the State House Senate congressional meetings and advise them to post-pone the lavish upgrades and renovation they are performing and spending big dollars drawing up plans for this State House upgrade. He should speak up ......putting all that money can go to a better cause like protecting the people, instead of a building! They are spenting Tons of $$$$$$$ on an interior decorator, for they are not Cheap. Pathetic mis-carriage of Justice and Abuse of Power!! Show's people what's really Important, and its Sure is NOT THEM!!! Just Horrible!!

Missingit 3 years, 5 months ago

Who here thinks the FBI gives a hoot if someone uses your credit card at the Walmart?Who here thinks the federal government is gonna prosecute that crime. If for instance they did what would my new federal tax rate e to handle the upgrades to te FBI manpower pool as well as the DOJ. The new police chief did not bring anything on himself, he took a new job. Also why not get the police department the tools they need? How many new fire trucks are there?? I have not seen a ladder truck used except to save santa on top of Weavers, and I think that is a older truck! This is maintenance. We wait 10 years and when the department needs a new building it will be a 50 million dollar building for the same space. I hate taxes like the rest of us but a little property tax and a sales tax for under 2 years I can live with it.

freedomnow 3 years, 5 months ago

Just a few observations: Cyber crime is not going to stop retired people from retiring in Lawrence, HIGHER TAXES will!

Don't these people in government watch the news or read national news papers Most cities, towns and states have major pension problems. The last thing a town needs to do is add 45-48 Union jobs, with giant pensions that will be on the books for 20 -40 years after these officers retire. Look at Compton, CA, California, Illinois, North Las Vegas; the list of places in servere debt because public pension debt is endl;ess.

Just because we are not there yet, it just takes over spending on public employee pensions. The federal Governmant is NO position to help, being in debt for 15 TRILLION!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 5 months ago

So, your message is that public employees should live in poverty after they retire?

freedomnow 3 years, 4 months ago

Did I say that, no. Maybe not at 70, 80 percent of there working salary after 20 years of service. What a Bozo! Can you say Greece or economic melt down? Closer to home, Compton, CA?

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 5 months ago

How many tax-dollars could we save, and how many tax-dollars could we gain, by simply ending the War On Drugs? Citizens, the time has come to end the police/prison state we've built for ourselves. A big part of ending alcohol prohibition was a tactic called 'jury nullification':

"Jury nullification is a constitutional doctrine which allows juries to acquit criminal defendants who are technically guilty, but who do not deserve punishment. It occurs in a trial when a jury reaches a verdict contrary to the judge's instructions as to the law.

A jury verdict contrary to the letter of the law pertains only to the particular case before it. If a pattern of acquittals develops, however, in response to repeated attempts to prosecute a statutory offence, this can have the de facto effect of invalidating the statute. A pattern of jury nullification may indicate public opposition to an unwanted legislative enactment."

Jury nullification: Spread the word.

JackMcKee 3 years, 5 months ago

Can anyone tell me, is there one single economic conservative on the City Commission? Even one? Is there any expenditure this group declines to spend? Do taxes ever go town in Lawrence? Where is the payoff for all of this "investment" we've made? Is it just having nice things to look at while tourists fill them up? What's in all if this for the average Lawrencian?

JackMcKee 3 years, 5 months ago

are we supposed to fill up the empty buses for a tour of the apartments, parking garages, drunks and other excesses perpetuated on the city? Where have taxes been going, Lawrence "leaders"?

JackMcKee 3 years, 5 months ago

What is the incentive for a person to purchase property in Lawrence? Fights at the taco bar? Fights at the pseudo strip club? The trinket store? The head shop? To hang out with 55,000 apartment dwellers? Lawrence could be a Kansas version of Austin, Texas. Boulder, Co. It has so much potential that gets left in the dust because a small group of people call the shots. Think about this fellow Lawrencians, Manhattan is leaving Lawrence in the dust, despite hundreds of millions of dollars of expenditures. It's really kind of sad to witness.

begin60 3 years, 4 months ago

I sure the frick didn't appreciate the LPD completely intruding on my privacy, tracking me down, and putting my personal information in their database after they recently claimed I was the victim of a financial crime. Law enforcement and the conflict-of-interest crooked KU HR and lawyers are the true criminals of Lawrence and their dishonesty is repeatedly swept under the carpet.

Backward KS abused me unmercifully. Street harassment gone absolutely berserk!! Unwanted contact is bullying, and the shameless hicks of KS have been raised to aggress against strangers for discriminatory reasons. I didn't know people could even be that dumb and insensitive before hateful KS. I wanted nothing more than to leave without a trace. I didn't need some vindictive local police officer messing with my ids and getting up in my personal business. Dang, crooks of Lawrence please burn in Hades!!

Terry Sexton 3 years, 4 months ago

Jeez, I would never guess that you & the following poster are the same person. How clever of you.

equalaccessprivacy 3 years, 4 months ago

Potential Lawrence retirees: Do you like rampant ageism? Do you like complete strangers judging you and aggressively messing with you on the basis of offensive stereotypes? Do you like unsophisticated neighbors who are blind to your true beauty and talents , but who remain prideful givers who make a public drama of "helping"? Do you like officious, patronizing, insincere southern manners, and especially southern justice--where true criminals are free abuse the legal system( with no checks and balances by the DAs or cops) to blame victims and hide their own despicable crimes? Welcome to Lawrence, your retirement haven.

Terry Sexton 3 years, 4 months ago

Are you back? I thought you moved. Why are you so hateful? You seem demented. Dry up & blow away already.

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