Archive for Friday, July 5, 2013

10 Lawrence police officers disciplined for complaints last year

July 5, 2013


Anyone can file a complaint against a police officer. Sometimes, the complaint is simply that, rightly or wrongly, a citizen felt an officer was rude. Sometimes, the allegation is more serious.

The Lawrence Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability investigated 28 of those complaints last year, including several made by officers and employees within the department. Ten of those were proven out by internal investigations, leading to consequences that can range from a verbal reprimand to firing, depending on the seriousness of the offense.

The police department does not make all of the details of those investigations public, but since 2010 and 2011 it has issued a report each year giving an account of how many complaints were received, how many were found to have a factual basis, and some limited information about the complaints themselves.

The first complaint of 2012 concerned a off-duty police officer who was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI on Jan. 5 last year. Marie Angel Haynes, 33, reached a diversion agreement with Douglas County prosecutors and resigned from the police department. Haynes is still licensed as a law enforcement officer, but has not worked in that field since resigning, according to the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training, which certifies police officers in Kansas.

Below are summaries of nine more complaints that internal investigations confirmed later in 2012.

• A citizen reported that an employee failed to take a report of a crime of domestic violence.

• A department employee reported that another employee failed to report damage to a work vehicle.

• A department employee reported that another employee had missed several court appearances.

• A department employee reported inappropriate behavior by another employee.

• A department employee reported that an off-duty employee had acted unprofessionally.

• A department employee reported that another employee was rude.

• A department employee reported that another employee failed to document all of the pertinent details in a burglary report.

• A citizen reported that an employee was unprofessional and rude during an encounter.

• A department employee reported that another employee was engaged in outside employment without approval.

The department will not reveal what action was taken in most of these cases, or the identities of the people involved, according to department spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley, because of personnel policies. But he did point out that some of the complaints were made by officers and employees within the department.

McKinley said that, from a self-policing point of view, those complaints were actually good news for the department.

“I actually kind of like to see those things from time to time,” McKinley said. “You’re always going to have someone make a misstep.” What any agency should hope for, he said, is that a partner or colleague will point out the mistake and it will be handled by the proper authorities.

The Office of Professional Accountability can be reached by phone at 785-832-7551. Residents can register complaints — or compliments — with the police department online here.


smitty 4 years, 11 months ago

Only two citizens reported during the whole year?

A citizen felt an officer was rude.... other officers had the same complaint of their peers..interesting that there are so many internal complaints by peers...with the emphasis placed on internal reporting only two citizen concerns filed for the year. Just does not come across as an honest annual report when the last few years citizens complaints were so high.

Since there has been such a reduction in the number of citizen complaints it would be informative/educational to know how this radical change in citizen compaints occurred. Also may be positive public relations PR for the LPD.

A citizen reported that an employee failed to take a report of a crime of domestic violence.

It is against federal law for an officer to refuse to take a call? Does this complaint rise to that level of federal laws? Is the DV violator in LE or of known community standings? Confidentiality can be maintained and still be able to inform the public.

smitty 4 years, 11 months ago

Reread it... this is only the disciplined officers..that leads to the question of how many complaints were filed total?

Ian_Cummings 4 years, 11 months ago

There were 28 complaints filed, as the article says. Thanks. Ian Cummings, LJW.

sherbert 4 years, 11 months ago

What's with the stupid questions we have to answer now to 'continue reading the article'? Who cares how if I shave my hairr?

irvan moore 4 years, 11 months ago

lpd officers do a lot of good things for our community too, thanks

Ginny Hedges 4 years, 11 months ago

Sherbert - Google is paying LJW to ask stupid questions.

overthemoon 4 years, 11 months ago

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

LawrenceVeteran 4 years, 11 months ago

Agreed. And now saying that we HAVE to answer your info-gathering questions to get the full article? I'll just find my news elsewhere. It's not as if LJW has a monopoly on the news feed in Lawrence.

Alfred_W 4 years, 11 months ago

The mobile-friendly site works just fine in desktop browsers. Go to m(dot)ljworld(dot)com

You won't get the pretty formatting, but you will get all the words without the surveys

Virgil_Caine 4 years, 11 months ago

Glad to see there are officers that aren't afraid to report questionable actions by their fellow officers. I'm sure that's a tough decision to make, but they're doing the right thing. Thanks to all those who work to make our community a safe and peaceful place.

Paula Kissinger 4 years, 11 months ago

If "citizens" complain, you are doing your job. If peers complain, there is something to investigate or they are whiners. That's about it.

Virgil_Caine 4 years, 11 months ago

There's a difference between a tattle-tell, and an officer of the law making sure his peers follow the proper procedures. For one thing, if the officer is using poor judgment, it could be the difference between a criminal being prosecuted and walking free. Luckily none of these complaints seem to be rooted in corruption, but some definitely involve bad decisions and in a couple cases, just plain laziness. If you want a competent and professional police force, you should applaud the officers who had the courage to come forward. Otherwise, "forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown."

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 11 months ago

Those who report a problem within the department are to be commended. Not everyone is suited to be a police officer and sometimes it is after they have been on the job for a while that this comes out.

Matt Schwartz 4 years, 11 months ago

Where are the officer's when your body gives out. DNR.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 11 months ago

apparently a lot of citizen complaints were thrown out?

in lawrence, I think many of those complaints were probably properly thrown out as they were motivated by "sticking it to the man."

Lisa Medsker 4 years, 11 months ago

I am surprised there were only ten. I have never, EVER seen a city with police officers as a self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner quite like this one, and never, ANYWHERE in the world, including dealings with Interpol and Polizei, have I been viewed as the "criminal" for being the one to call, needing help.

scaramouchepart2 4 years, 11 months ago

1) as to answering questions to be able to blog. iPad - I did not have to answer any questions, but if answering a sales type survey I.e. how much juice do you drink in a week, pays so you can continue to get your Internet paper for free quit complaining. 2) internal complaints I can understand allowing the police to continue policing itself. Businesses do and so do government agencies. However, complaints by the public, such as not reporting domestic crime there needs to be some external policy to give the public info. If not a name, at least the info on the action taken. This kind of issue has caused many police department problems, because so many police departments have been accused of not supporting domestic abuse as a real crime. I know Lawrence's police department works very hard to improve their transparency and reputation with the public. Lawrence should take amore transparent approach on complaints from the public. If only to the person that filed the complaint. If they are it should have been stated. There are members of the public who take a stronger view and less willing to trust any police department. The suggested action could help alleviate many concern issues and support more open public engagement.

Trumbull 4 years, 11 months ago

What are these stupid questions at the beginning? I guess if this is the way to fund newspapers so be it.

Darn it though. Pretty soon you are going to have answer a stupid question to activate your pacemaker when having a heart attack. I am growing tired of this new digital world. Getting old and grumpy very quick.

happyrearviewmirror 4 years, 11 months ago

"Anyone can file a complaint against a police officer." Someone should tell Kansas University that. As recently as last year they didn't even publish a complaint policy. If they have to be in the back pockets of the KU General Counsel and HR Department, they should at least be upstanding enough to admit it. They are basically taking Southern-Justice orders from some very corrupt local players. Some people stoop really low to pay the bills and put food on the table. Scammers!

happyrearviewmirror 4 years, 11 months ago

What other lies can I tell stinking Google? In a surveillance society one of the few ways we have to protect our privacy is to purposely misrepresent ourselves online.

Jeff Belaire 4 years, 11 months ago

I was assaulted by an off duty drunk lawrence police officer, filed a report, then was told i made the incident up. Then the alleged cop sent two of his fellow detectives to my apt to talk to me. Now i have to move. Wtf?

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