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What good deed has a police officer done for you?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on April 14, 2005

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Photo of Malika Lyon

“He got a person to move their car out of my back yard when my neighbors were having a party. I told him that I didn’t want them to tow anyone, so he just went over and asked them.”

Photo of Tim Hjersted

“He helped me push my car out of the snow when it got stuck after he pulled me over.”

Photo of Remy Lebeau

“An officer gave me his flashlight when I was in New York to celebrate the millennium. I actually still have it.”

Photo of Matt Lord

“My car broke down when it was freezing outside. He let me sit in the back of his cop car until the tow truck arrived.”


Richard Heckler 13 years ago

Because of some meth lab neighbors we became acquaintenances more or less with a few of the police officers. Some of these officers smile and wave when we come upon each other. Not a bad deal.

neopolss 13 years ago

Thought provoking indeed.

Today's question is a rather odd one I think.

Punkin 13 years ago

An officer recently explained to me that the LPD does not have officers specifically dedicated to investigating property crime.

Guess that explains why they have so much time to write speeding tickets and beat up the homeless.

craigers 13 years ago

A highway patrol trooper raised me. I think that is a pretty good deed. Other times the Lawrence PD is pretty nice but sometimes I think the officers think they are pretty cool and too tough to talk to mere civilians.

ms_canada 13 years ago

Once, when I was a student nurse, I and 2 friends went to that wonderful mountain resort of Banff, Alberta for a holiday. I lost my wallet and had to borrow bus fare home to Vancouver, B.C. I thought there was a certain amount of money in the wallet. A couple of weeks after returning to my studies a parcel arrived from the RCMP in Banff. Some kind soul had found my wallet and the Mounties very kindly found out my address and sent it too me. And the amazing thing was that there was more money in it than I had thought.

cutny 13 years ago

Are you kidding? What is this, "Build A Cop's Self-Esteem Day?" Why not ask a more truthful and insightful question like...uh..gee...I don't know? "How have you ever been harassed by the LPD?" I'm sure the responses would provide a clearer picture of the departent.

Ceallach 13 years ago

Build A Cop's Self-Esteem Day -- sounds good to me! I have lived in Lawrence more years than some contributors have lived period. I have never been harassed by the LPD, I have been helped many, many times. I feel more secure each time I see a patrol car cruising our city and try to wave hello to each officer I see.

My grandfather was a law enforcement officer and one of the finest men I have ever known. He was the pillar that kept my family thinking straight in a very twisted metropolitan area. He died on duty trying to assist a prisoner who needed medical attention. He was not perfect, but seemed so to me.

emma 13 years ago

Although my own contacts with the police are minimal, it seems to me that the police chief is overly concerned about demonstrators. Demonstrators are usually peaceful but in July 2003 (story by E. Weslander), 18 people were arrested outside the Holidome. and some charged that the arrests were too violent. Most of the charges against the demonstrators were later dismissed. In November 2004, story by Jay Senter, nine protestors were arrested on Ninth Street. Again the protestors charged that the police used excessive force. Charges against the demonstrators were later dismissed. Such arrests threaten my right to dissent whether or not I am arrested

Punkin 13 years ago

Not all cops are the same. Your grandfather sounds like a gem, and I wish all officers of the law were so altruistic. But the reality is not so simple.

Abuse of power by the police has been a historic problem in the City of Lawrence. There have been multiple instances of injury and death caused by the police where there was little or no justification for violence.

And to this day, the department is largely unaccountable.

Officers are afraid to blow the whistle about problems within the department because most of them are terrified of retribution. Chief Ron Olin has a reputation for ruling with an iron fist, and is known for getting revenge on anyone that crosses him.

The best thing a Lawrence police officer could do is come forward and speak the truth about the need for change in leadership within the department.

wichita_reader 13 years ago

I have mixed feelings on this topic. I disagree with many of our state and country's nonsensical and unjust laws. However, I think a majority of cops are good cops, and doing good deeds is inherent in their profession, in which they may have to put their life on the line every day.

I and my family have been on the good and bad sides of law enforcement. I've been helped twice by State Troopers on I-70. In high school, I had a blowout outside of Lawrence and went down the embankment on the side of the interstate. A Trooper happened to see my truck go down, and he came to help. The ground was so soft the jack kept sinking when I tried to change the tire, but the Trooper had some old license plates in his trunk he put under the jack, allowing me to change my tire and be on my way. Another time my car broke down on I-70 outside of Lawrence and a tropper stopped and called a tow truck for me. There may be some kick backs involved in that, but I was happy just to get off the side of the road.

On the other hand, when I was in high school, my Mom was coming home from work one snowy afternoon. An off-duty Trooper, on his way to work, was unable to stop at stop sign because of the snow and ice and broadsided the passenger side of my Mom's vehicle. There were no witnesses. When the small town (very near Lawrence) officer showed up, the Trooper (whose name I won't mention) lied and told the officer my Mom slid into him. It was Mom's word against the Trooper's. No ticket was given for failure to stop at the stop sign, or driving too fast for conditions. The accident was ruled no fault. My parents considered filing suit, but it was "she said, he said" against a Trooper. They decided it wouldn't be a good idea to get on the bad side of the KHP, and my parents ate $4,000 damage to their van. All because a Trooper abused his authority.

That memory always brings to mind the old saying "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch."

letha 13 years ago

IN MEMORY OF ANOTHER POLICE OFFICER... What a GREAT question. Finally, finally, we see some positive support for the people who daily face denegration, drunkeness, drug-produced violence, and continue to work to keep people in Lawrence safe with such a small amount of resources. I will tell you that I remember many times when officers came to help, when children were being hurt, when the accidents occurred, the sure calming voice, the offer of shelter in a moment of distress. Does anyone remember the young lady who's life was saved by officers who would not give up trying to find her when she was in a diabetic coma? I know her parents are grateful for the folks we have in uniform. Thousands of police reports later, and these folks are still working to make our homes safe. Kickbacks? Are you kidding? Good grief. Never happen here. I am so glad that we have people who will go through the months of training and education needed to become a Lawrence police officer, who are willing to take the barbs of criticism from a vocal minority and continue to face down armed drug dealers, provide investigations to bring murderers to justice (by the unsolved homicides in Lawrence, KS..that's quite a record), continue to deal with people who are mentally unstable or otherwise impaired, and still maintain a professional attitude. Officers are people, not perfect, but certainly they deserve our support and gratitude because each one of these folks really believe in serving the public. In the face of certain groups, who by the way have reputation for putting bodily fluids in balloons and throwing them at officers, our police department does a great job handling situations that most people never have to face. Thank you officers and detectives for all that you do, and thank you to your families, our prayers are with you.

raven 13 years ago

w_r: What small town was she in? You say it was very near Lawrence. No need to give names of the officers, I was just wondering what town.

wichita_reader 13 years ago

Kickbacks could never happen in Lawrence, huh? I simply wrote that kickbacks could be a possibility, which they are. I wish I could be so blissfully naive.

Carmenilla 13 years ago

I went out of town a few weekends ago with some girlfriends. On our way back we got a flat and I was more then happy to change it. I'm quite handy with a tire and a jack! Anyway, a young cop saw us on the side of the road and came over to help. He wouldn't let me fix the tire and I know he was overjoyed to help 4 lovely damsels in "distress". Funny thing was he took forever! I could have done it in less then 15 minutes but he definately wanted to be a gentlemen. I didn't want to bruise his ego but it was kinda funny. Not all women are helpless when it comes to car troubles. On a different note, I too have seen some abuses of power concrening the LPD. I think there are some great cops in this city but I also think there are some who get into law enforcement because they want to have power over others. Those guys are not in it to help people. You can always tell those cops from the others. And once I saw a policeman harrassing an obviously mentally ill person who was causing no trouble. She was paranoid and scared and instead of putting her at ease he treated her a second class person, dumped her stuff on the hood of his car and rummaged around for her ID. She was scared and confused and I felt that rather than use some sensitivity he was deliberately trying to push her around. Let me remind you she was doing nothing wrong except for being untidy and talking to herself. I watched all of this transpire downtown and then I called it in to Human Resources. The HR officer there took my report and thanked me for being a concerned citizen. That officer I saw downtown was a bad egg and he was making the whole dept. look unprofessional with his actions. I don't think they are all like that though...

lovely1 13 years ago

Our school speed limit sign is never on by Prairie Park, therefore everyone speeds down the road til they get to the school.. Yesterday there was a cop with his radar gun and I saw him write one ticket. After he did the one ticket, he went and parked in the same spot, needless to say he stayed 3 minutes and gave up. If he would've stayed longer, he could've made tons of money for the city of lawrence. Instead, he pulls right out in front of a car speeding down the hill and takes off. What is it with these LPD?

Another incident I had, they wouldn't let me on campus because the bball game was ready to let out in like, 30 minutes. Even though, I do have a staff parking pass. They told me I shouldn't be coming in when there's a game!!! Ok, I'll tell my boss SORRY, I can't come in, there's a bball game. So, every cop tells me I don't know-ask that cop over there..then he says, I dont know-ask him over there.....In the end, they all are jerks and wont let me in. Orange cones spells power for KU cops. Go eat some more donuts in the leid ctr parking lot. KU cops are worthless in any of my run ins.

I can't go anywhere in this town without seeing atleast 5 cops, so hopefully they are out doing some good for lawrence.

I did get a ticket and the cop gave me it w/ 5mph less than what I was going. THAT WAS GOOD. :)

jonas 13 years ago

After the cops in Leawood up in JoCo, where I grew up, Lawrence cops are wonderful. As far as good deeds, I don't know. When I was 18 and a senior in high-school me and my friend and my hopefully-going-to-be-girlfriend were chilling in a park after hours when a cop came by and pulled us over, so to speak. Then, as he understood we weren't actually hurting anybody being there, he let us stay there, and told us that, since it was his beat, no one else would be bothering us either. I thought that was pretty cool of him, and entirely unexpected for a JoCo cop.

I don't think I've ever even talked to a Lawrence cop unless he/she was writing me a speeding ticket.

wichita_reader 13 years ago

On a personal note with LPD. My grandma and her live-in boyfriend were murdered a couple of years ago in Lawrence, and the LPD and DA did a wonderful job with the investigation and prosecution. I don't know if you would necessarily call that a good deed, or just doing their jobs, but it definitely helped our families begin to put closure on the tragedy.

Ceallach 13 years ago

Jonas - in earlier post I did not mention the area where my gpa worked - Kansas City KS. Try needing an officer there!

Liberty 13 years ago

Perhaps LPD could do a good deed for the public and tell us who is running all the cameras on top of all of the stop lights to spy on the public. Are the cameras capable of face scanning biometrics? Who is getting the information from the cameras? What is it being used for? Who pays the city to install them and how much do they get?

leavemealone 13 years ago

Liberty-Those 'cameras' are not some government plot to catch you being stupid. They are simply for traffic control to run the stoplights instead of the underground wires that sensed if a car was at the intersection. The 'cameras' use infrared to assist in for the same reason and apparently cheaper to run. But I figure you won't believe me.

neopolss 13 years ago

Good question Liberty. Cameras everywhere. So long to privacy or the old way of actually catching someone in the act.

I had a runin here in Lawrence years ago. I noticed that my dash lights weren't on and decided to check for a blown fuse. I stopped at 31st and Lousiana to look at the car. Too dark, I decided to drive to the car wash on Iowa. Anyway, I turn and drive down when I see a cop flashing his lights at me. I realize then that my brake lights must not working (the headlights were). The cop pulls me over and I explain the situation. He tells me flat out, "I'm going to give you a warning on your lights, but I'm writing you a ticket for running the stop sign (the one at 31st)." Utter disbelief on my part.

The problem with law enforcement is that you can't put your trust in it. You never know who you will get - an upstanding officer or a bad egg. It's just too bad that I have to always be suspicious.

Sunlover 13 years ago

Jonas: I totally agree. I also grew up in Johnson County. And let me tell ya, the cops there are about as arrogant and hateful as they can be. After moving to Lawrence 5 years ago, I've come in contact with several police officers, and they are very cool. Maybe b/c it's a college town, and they are more laid back after dealing with so many college-aged kids. Who knows. I do know that JoCo cops will arrest a person any chance they can get. Ridiculous.

italianprincess 13 years ago

My son was pulled over for having blue lights instead of clear ones on his back license plate. He gave him a fix-it ticket for that but also wrote him up for having blue underground lights under his car. My son tried to explain to him that those are not illegal, but the officer wouldn't listen to him.

Low and behold my son came home that night after he was pulled over and pulled up the web site and found that blue underground lights are not illegal at all and went he went to show that he had fixed the lights around the plate handed the lady at the window the paper he printed off. That part of the ticket was removed and he was free to go.

I guess you could maybe say this officer was either new and didn't know or he simply thought he may get away with adding something else to my son's ticket.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 13 years ago

Ah...the b*tching about police continues.

Carmenilla: with all due respect, you have no idea why that Officer may have been talking with that "harmless" crazy lady. You have no idea if she was a suspect in something and he happened to run across her in the street. You're like the person that catches the arse end of a conversation and then thinks they know what the whole conversation was about.

Neopolss: You said that "the problem with law enforcement is that you can't put your trust in it. You never know who you will get..." Try being a cop. Every time they talk to a person that's not in uniform they never know who they will get - a compliant citizen, or somebody that acts friendly then changes to wanting to kill them in an instant. I don't know what your business is, but I doubt you have to worry about the people you deal with killing you.

Lovely1: Again, you are like Carmenilla. Everybody seems to think that cops only have one duty to perform - catching speeders. The cops I know tell me that doing that is a side duty. They are too busy responding to people beating up their spouses, or people that can't seem to control their little 6 year old (if you can't control a 6 year old you are a pathetic parent). Maybe that cop had intended on sitting there longer but had to go save somebody who was getting beaten to a pulp by their husband. Please, learn to see farther than the tip of your nose.

Being a cop is a tough job. It's the only service industry where you can pretty much guarantee that 50% of your clients are going to leave pissed off. Quit your whining and try thanking a cop for once instead of yelling insults as you drive by.

Oh yeah - Smitty, you are nuts.

italianprincess 13 years ago

I wasn't b!tching at all. I myself have never had a problem with an officer from here.

I have had to call them on many occasions to come to the auto shop next door to my house when they had been robbed. They have always been polite and helpful.

I just thought it was funny that my son got a ticket for something that wasn't illegal to begin with.

Fangorn 13 years ago

Wichita_Reader: Do you still have relatives in Lawrence? Anyone named Dean and Kathy?

gpimpin2214 13 years ago

I think cops have too much time on their hands but when you need them they aren't ever around ad you can't get ahold of them. thats why i say we don't really need cops cuz if your that desperate, then i guess you need to really learn how to take care of yourself cuz you can't rely on a cop everytime you need them. and i guess the point of this question was to explain how a cop has helped me, but they really don't cuz all they have done for me is make matters worse.

Liberty 13 years ago

Leaveme, interesting response. Is there a place that the public can find this documention on the camera systems and the company that markets it? I do find it hard to believe that 4 cameras pointed at your face are cheaper than a switch that is already in the road... The placement of the cameras are also suspect as they appear to mostly be at entrance and exit points to the city. Thus the need for documentation. Infrared sensors or electron or sonic radar could be used instead of cameras too. Hopefully you can understand my mistrust of the explaination. :-)

remember_username 13 years ago

Liberty - how long have you had the feeling that you're being watched?

ms_canada 13 years ago

Didn't you just know when you saw the question this morning that there would be more negativity than positivity on the forum today. Just as in any aspect of our society there is good and bad. True, you never know when you will encounter a cop who got up on the wrong side of the bed or a cheery fellow. But the same is true for the police officer. I recently mentioned the magnificent funeral for the 4 RCMP officers that were murdered by an unbalanced man near my city. 15,000 police officers from across N. America attended that event. One of these murdered officers had been on the job only 2 weeks. It was so dreadfully sad to watch that memorial on TV. A policemans lot is not always a happy one. I have had a couple of bad (not too bad)experiences with the force but I most certainly don't tar them all with the same brush. quiturbelliachin guys (and gals) My mother used to say to me, 'If you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all". But then again this forum would be so dull, not?

wichita_reader 13 years ago

Fangorn: yes, many relatives still in Lawrence, and yes, Dean and Kathy are my relatives. Both wonderful people. Friends of yours? Family? Do we know one another?

whyme 13 years ago

wichita_reader,, im sorry for your loss, but did it happen with damien lewis?//// about cops, they should have asked what they should have done. i was on side of road, with a blew out tire in mid of nowhere, and he didnt even stop to see if i was ok. another story, my mom came in a public place to see her other kids, and was ok, but step dad got mad called cops, cop wouldnt even listen to me.

whyme 13 years ago

wow.. do you mind if we talk about it, i knew the guy.. email me i didnt know him long.

Fangorn 13 years ago

w_r: Dean and Kathy are my neighbors. Very good neighbors, I might add. I watched their house for them while they vacationed last summer. I wish everyone could have neighbors like them.

I'd like to make a couple of suggetions: Everyone: When you rebut another poster, re-read what you have written. Then edit out anything meant solely to insult rather than to inform or to persuade. It will improve the level of civility. [My second suggestion has been deleted due to following my own advice from my first suggestion. However, I really would like to recommend to a few posters that they try reading more books and watching less television as a way of improving grammar and other written communication skills.]

whyme 13 years ago

ok, so for my good deeds. well, they were just doing their jobs, but they did help me home when my dad got drunk and i didnt want a ride with him home from the lake. my sis later told me that, that night they almost wrecked.

allisonvisocsky 13 years ago

I would have to say that I agree that I haven't really ran into any LPD officers in the past several years that are bad.

However, in 1988 my grandparents whom lived in Baldwin kept receiving these strange phone calls from a man looking for me. He would not give his name or number. Finally, after the 20th call he left his name and number.

I tried calling the number just to find out who this person was, to see if I even knew him.

Well, a woman answered the phone and when I tried to explain the situation and gave her my number and my grandparent's number, I thought the situation was all cleared up.

Well, several hours later a LPD officer came to my door and demanded that I and my husband (boyfriend at the time) come down to the department as a complaint had been filed on us for phone harrassment.

We went down to the department, and when we tried to explain what happened, the officer yelled at me and called me a liar and said that the women said that I said I would kill her if her husband didn't leave her. I told him that I didn't even know these people, I was just trying to return the message that this person had left with my grandparents.

The officer never wrote anything down about our conversation, but gave me his card. I immediately turned in a report on him and a formal letter of apology was sent to me from the department.

So, the moral of the story is you can't always trust the officers in LPD but not all of them are bad, so long as you are not breaking the law.

whyme 13 years ago

omg, that was awefull. i kept getting calls from someone in jail. then other ppl would call me to see why our number was on their bill, this guy billed his calls to him. so it sounded like he was out. one of my exes gave him my number.

Ceallach 13 years ago

Police officers, Priests, Professors, Pastors, Neighbors, Relatives, Teachers, Doctors, Lawyers, you name the field. The human factor eliminates the possibility of always finding good ones. So, what do you say guys and gals, let's make a switch and let the good be praised and the evil interred with their bones.

Ceallach 13 years ago

smitty - which section of today's JW contains that article. I looked but couldn't find info about the review panel. Thanks.

Linda Aikins 13 years ago

I can't believe I'm going to write this. But I feel I must. May my fingers not fall off.

NICE POST Hong_Kong! You are right on the money!

I appreciate the po-lice and am darn glad I'm not one.

Carmenilla 13 years ago

Hong_Kong_Phooey, in case you didn't notice I was actually very fair about the whole police thing. And just so you know I WAS watching from before the policeman arrived to "deal" with this homeless woman. She was sitting on a bench downtown talking to herself for a good 10 minutes. She was NOT verbally harrassing, yelling at, spitting on ANYBODY!!!! What she was doing was being an unkempt and "unsightly" person. I LITERALLY watched as he walked up to her after parking nearby and asked what she was doing on that bench. He told her to move on and she started to get up and he demanded that she show him some ID. When she fumbled with her fanny sack he took it out of her hand and dumped it out on the the back of his cruiser to "help" her look. She was scared and intimidated and he should have some training in dealing with the mentally ill. If he did have any training I couldn't tell. He was very abrupt and dismissive of her. It was obviously very confusing for her. I saw all of this transpire at 8:30 in the morning as I sat outside the restaurant I was working at taking my half hour break. I literally watched the whole thing. And even if someone had complained about her does that give him the right to treat her like an animal? I don't think so.... So before you categorize me as someone who makes assumptions (much like you yourself did) take a minute and realize that I have no beef with anybody unless I see them abusing others with their perceived power. And by your tone concerning the "harmless crazy lady" I take it you'd rather see "those" kind of people dealt with in an inhumane manner. Do you think they are not worthy of equal treatment? Or am I assuming too much?

lunacydetector 13 years ago

I think in general they are a good group of guys. i don't know any of the lady police. i'm sure they are a good group of gals as well.

Ember 13 years ago

One quick question to really annoy everyone.

Would you rather have to deal with the occassional police officer that is a bit too big for his britches, or would you rather have no actual law enforcement, except that of the local mob?

Personally, I commend them for putting their lives on the line every single time they walk out of the building and go to work. Don't know about the rest of you, but I have never had to contend with being shot while working.

Stop and honestly think about it. Law enforcement or mob rules?

I vote emphatically for the former.

neopolss 13 years ago

Posted by Hong_Kong_Phooey on April 14 at 1:49 p.m

"You said that "the problem with law enforcement is that you can't put your trust in it. You never know who you will get..." Try being a cop. Every time they talk to a person that's not in uniform they never know who they will get - a compliant citizen, or somebody that acts friendly then changes to wanting to kill them in an instant. I don't know what your business is, but I doubt you have to worry about the people you deal with killing you."

The last time I checked, no one was ever forced to become a cop. Danger is an understanding when one applies and accepts the posistion. It certainly does not grant the privilage to abuse the position, as the true enforcement is the laws that the state's citizens have approved. My statement holds true from experience - I'm never sure who I'll good - good cop or bad one. That leads to distrust, which cannot be corrected with simple minded statements of "be a cop" or tasteless guilt trips.

If you believe me to be flipping the bird at every passig cop car, you are sadly mistaken. I simply state that human nature makes me distrustful, as not everyone who wears that uniform will be true to it. I shouldn't be made to look like an a$$ for stating this. I have been jerked around by cops - FACT. Being a cop doesn't make the behavior justified.

Ceallach 13 years ago

Thanks, smitty. Good points, disturbing for sure. I was not aware of the history. How does one person achieve and maintain that kind of control? In the best case scenario it would be problematic, but this appears to be much deeper than most of us knew.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 13 years ago

Neopolss: The only person that mad you "look like an a$$" was yourself. You are right, no one is forced to become a cop. That is exactly why they deserve your respect. They CHOSE to put themselves in harm's way for a mostly ungrateful public.

And yeah, it's always the other guy that is guilty, but not you. You were just "minding your own business"...

uh huh.

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