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Archive for Sunday, June 24, 2012

Officers may face discipline at state level

June 24, 2012

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The state agency that licenses law enforcement officers is investigating whether to take disciplinary action against two former Lawrence police officers involved in a ticket-fixing scandal.

Earlier this year, the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training, or KSCPOST, received “notice of termination” forms from the Lawrence Police Department for former Sgts. Mike Monroe and Matt Sarna.

Such forms, required when an officer in the state leaves a department, prompted the commission to investigate the cases. The investigation could lead to license revocation, barring Monroe and Sarna from working in Kansas law enforcement.

The KSCPOST termination forms, obtained through a Journal-World open records request, state that Monroe was “terminated” on March 22, while Sarna left the department on Feb. 24 after an “involuntary negotiated resignation,” which means the officer “was offered the opportunity to resign to avoid potential disciplinary or adverse employment of legal action.”

The city refused to identify the two officers in the speeding ticket-fixing case, but District Attorney Charles Branson said in March that he reviewed court cases that Sarna and Monroe had been involved in after the city provided him their names in connection with the city’s personnel investigation.

Branson said prosecutors reviewed the FBI and department’s internal affairs report, which revealed that the KU tickets were provided to the officers and that the same officers fixed certain traffic tickets. But he said the timing and circumstances of the receipt of the athletic tickets could not be directly linked to specific requests for fixing traffic tickets, so his office elected not to file criminal charges of bribery or other offenses against Sarna or Monroe.

Monroe declined comment about the KSCPOST investigation but confirmed he was still going through the city’s grievance procedure related to his firing.

Gary Steed, KSCPOST director, said his agency was still in the “information gathering” phase of investigating both Monroe and Sarna. The termination forms do not go into further detail about Monroe or Sarna’s case.

Steed said his agency contacts the reporting police department for further information needed during its investigation.

The investigation can take several months, but if disciplinary action is taken, that information will be posted on the commission’s website, Steed said.

However, any actions taken by KSCPOST do not affect an officer’s retirement benefits through the Kansas Police and Fire Retirement System, commonly referred to as KP&F, said Kristen Basso, KP&F spokeswoman. Officers can opt for early disbursement at age 50, Basso said. Specific information for an officer’s individual retirement account from KP&F is not an open record, Basso said.

Cases on the rise

A review of posted cases shows disciplinary actions against officers in the state have risen in recent years. Between 2004 and 2008, KSCPOST issued a yearly average of five disciplinary actions. But since 2009, KSCPOST has taken at least a dozen actions per year, including 21 in 2011.

Under Kansas law, police licenses are revoked if an officer is convicted of felony or a misdemeanor conviction of domestic battery. Licenses can also be revoked for “moral character” violations, as well as for violations of police officer training standards.

Three Lawrence police officers have had their licenses revoked since 1998: Robert Sayler, who was convicted of wire fraud; Richard Jump, who was convicted of rape in Douglas County in 1999; and James W. Miller, convicted of battery in 1998.

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Actions taken against police in Kansas

A full listing of actions taken by the Kansas Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, which licenses law enforcement in the state.

Comments

avarom 2 years, 2 months ago

TWO FREE TICKETS TO JAIL....Don't pass Go!

1

kernal 2 years, 2 months ago

Are you referring to the current chief or previous chief?

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deec 2 years, 2 months ago

I'm sure that drug dealers and other criminals will be relieved to know that bribing police officers is okay with the criminal justice system in Douglas County.

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ivalueamerica 2 years, 2 months ago

a bizarre and misguided conclusion. There is a huge difference between condoning or showing indifference to a crime and an officer of the court feeling there is not sufficient evidence for a conviction.

By not filing charges, there is the avoidance of a costly trial and that is part of the job of the DA to decide. Unless you have any sustainable evidence to back up such a crazy accusation, I suggest you think twice before making knee jerk comments.

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Anthony Mall 2 years, 2 months ago

This is stupid... Get these officers back on the force!!! Who cares??? Show me one cop anywhere that hasn't fixed a ticket, received a discount, free meal, beer, tickets, or anything else... You can't!!!

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parrothead 2 years, 2 months ago

Really? How's this for a "reality check" then - according to the web there are over 850,000 cops. Now unless you have PERSONAL knowledge that they have all done even one of the things you list it would behoove you to quit trying to put everyone in the same category as these two former LPD officers.

Those two officers deserve to lose their state certification for what they did, no question. But to make such an asinine claim that their actions are representative of the 100's of thousands of cops who are doing their jobs professionally, honestly and at great personal risk every day is pathetic. So you're right in one regard, I can't show you ONE cop who hasn't done those things because in reality there are several 100 thousand who haven't. Do the math and quit with the baseless accusations already.

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introversion 2 years, 2 months ago

George and Shaun,

Why don't we see good old Mike Peck on our list of officers who went astray? I believe he was let go in '03. Badge number 0007 if I recall properly... he was a clown anyway.

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ashamedofyou 2 years, 2 months ago

umm....LKPD do not have badge numbers....

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introversion 2 years, 2 months ago

That's funny... I wonder why he saw fit to write one down under his name when he cited me.

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Lawrenceks 2 years, 2 months ago

With the number of years of service and these two Officers experience I say suspend them for thirty days without pay and put them back on the force!

With what it cost to train new Officers and retain them this was not a smart move on the City Managers part!!

Everyone I talk to say these two Officers were well liked and respected in the community!

Good job Mr. City Manager! How many contracts have you awarded or favors have you received while in Office?

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Bassetlover 2 years, 2 months ago

Well said! Time to move on and let these guys get on with their lives. This is much ado about nothing, considering they were sacrificial lambs.

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pace 2 years, 2 months ago

They were crooked cops and they were caught. Not lambs. That kind of apologist thinking is crooked. Everyone is not crooked or dishonest.

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shortone 2 years, 2 months ago

LJW must have incorrectly stated last week that Sgt. Sarna was a police spokesman when reporting on daily crime activities. This was printed maybe Wednesday or Thursday of last week?

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shaunepec 2 years, 2 months ago

Yes, there was an error, Sarna, obviously, no longer a spokesman...

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pace 2 years, 2 months ago

I don't want it to be normal for the police to receive bribes to fix tickets. In no way do I think it is normal. I think it is crooked If it is common practice, then the culture is corrupt. Then clean up the department. I don't think it is normal for the police to take bribes to fix tickets, or to be drunk on duty, or to commit other crimes. I do think it is telling that an opponent of a citizens review process thinks it is normal. We need a citizen's review board.
That does not mean i think the officers should go to prison, it depends on what hasn't been reported.
I think the entire department should have a outside review of their practices. Too many have been caught and not jailed for real offenses, It was deemed too embarrassing for the department and for the good of the department , issues not pressed. If your son was caught beating a woman or stealing from a home, would his offer be, just quit your job and we won't pursue the case?

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shaunepec 2 years, 2 months ago

Smitty, I'm betting the recent DUI case is still under investigation. Sounds like it takes several months for the cases to be resolved and thus end up on the site. The James Miller one, however, I'm not sure about but will check.

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shaunepec 2 years, 2 months ago

Okay, here's what happened on Miller: He is listed on the site, but we looked at a 10-year timeframe, from 2003-2012. His was from 1998.

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lgreen17 2 years, 2 months ago

What about Mike Peck?

From the LJ-World, February 11, 2003: Peck, 38, was put on administrative leave with pay early last month amid reports of possible misconduct. He was suspended without pay Jan. 30, six days after Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone ruled Peck supplied false and misleading information in an affidavit used to obtain a search warrant in 2001.

Guess these charges weren't severe enough to have his license revoked (?)

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shaunepec 2 years, 2 months ago

We've contacted the KSCPOST about this case. Seems like that would be in line with other cases where licenses were revoked. I'll update when I get an answer.

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shaunepec 2 years, 2 months ago

We checked with KSCPOST, and they said that they have been an independent organization since 2006. Before that, there wasn't much investigative work done on cases.

We were told that Peck did not receive any disciplinary action from KSCPOST. I know this doesn't sound like a great answer, and we'll be working to figure this out better.

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Steve Jacob 2 years, 2 months ago

Noticed Sarna got a job in real estate in an TV advertisement.

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JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 2 months ago

It's a good thing Brownback's top priority is to reduce the footprint of state government...now cases like this will be ignored and the public interest therefore served...NOT!

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Crazy_Larry 2 years, 2 months ago

Wow! That's a long list of rejects...I'm flabbergasted. I'm also glad they're no longer 'practicing' law enforcement. Good riddance! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-apRCG...

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shaunepec 2 years, 2 months ago

That was Sayler, mentioned in article.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 2 months ago

I doubt these officers deserved to go. Who offered them up? The jayhawk ticket criminals... for what?

How many tickets get fixed for "important local people" ? Call in the FBI and let's clean house!

1

Flap Doodle 2 years, 2 months ago

I'm astounded that there are still apologists for these miscreants.

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Crazy_Larry 2 years, 2 months ago

Hey! We're on the same page for once!

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parrothead 2 years, 2 months ago

There you go again smitty, making assumptions. Nothing in the article proves Khatib did or did not have knowledge of the illegal acts. It does not begin to explain in detail the workings of the traffic unit so without that information your claim, like so many others you have made, is spurious at best.

Unless you have access to, and can provide a copy of, the operating protocols of that unit to prove Khatib was somehow complicit, your accusation is baseless. It seems that you always see a conspiracy where none exists. How sad.

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