KBI investigating alleged criminal activity within Baldwin City Police Department
photo by: Elvyn Jones
Story updated at 4:32 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018:
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is looking into alleged criminal activity by Baldwin City Police Department personnel, a KBI spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.
The KBI’s investigation began shortly before Police Chief Greg Neis resigned suddenly on Tuesday, months before his previously planned retirement date.
The KBI opened its investigation Sept. 6, KBI spokeswoman Melissa Underwood said Thursday. She described it as an investigation into allegations against police department “personnel,” but would not confirm who or how many employees, or more about the nature of the allegations.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Underwood said. “Currently, no arrests have been made, and no charges have been filed.”
If the investigation does result in charges or arrests, the KBI would release more information at that time, including the name or names of the accused and the nature of the allegations, Underwood said.
The Journal-World confirmed Neis’ resignation Wednesday night.
photo by: Elvyn Jones
Baldwin City Mayor Casey Simoneau declined to comment Thursday on the KBI investigation or answer whether he knew about it earlier.
“It deals with personnel,” he said. “I don’t want to comment.”
Simoneau and other council members said they learned earlier this week that the chief was retiring from Baldwin City administrator Glenn Rodden.
Rodden said the chief verbally told him on Tuesday that he was retiring effective Sept. 30. However, Neis is using his remaining vacation days and is no longer in the office, Rodden said.
Rodden said he learned of the KBI investigation about two weeks ago but was not made aware of specifics.
“They tell us that they’re investigating, and that’s it,” Rodden said.
Rodden said he filed no complaint with the KBI, but rather that they were “brought in on an incident that happened that involved our police force.”
A few months ago, Neis had announced that he planned to retire in March, Rodden said. For that reason, the job already was posted before Neis’ announcement that he was leaving this week.
“Right now, we’re doing a search, which we would have been doing anyway, for the permanent position,” Rodden said.
As for naming an interim chief, Rodden said he hoped that would be done quickly.
He said the city was working to develop candidates and that the city council would either vote to appoint an interim chief at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 2 or call a special meeting to do so sooner.
The Baldwin City Police Department has eight full-time law enforcement officer positions, plus some part-time positions, Rodden said.
Neis joined the department as a sergeant in December 2008, according to past reports in the now-closed newspaper the Baldwin City Signal. He was named interim police chief in September 2009 with the resignation of then-chief Mike McKenna, and was subsequently named to the position permanently.
Before starting with the Baldwin City department, Neis worked for the Eudora Police Department for 13 years.
“I want to thank the chief for his years of service to our community and wish him the best in his retirement years,” Simoneau said.
The Journal-World’s attempts to reach Neis Wednesday night and Thursday were unsuccessful.