Sara Shepherd (Public safety reporter)

I'm the Journal-World's public safety reporter. I cover crime, courts, fire and related features in Lawrence and Douglas County and, sometimes, neighboring counties.

I’ve been a reporter at the Journal-World since 2012. Prior to taking over the public safety beat I covered the University of Kansas and higher education beat — including some of our local post-secondary institutions’ occasional, inevitable intersections with the law. Previously, I was the night police reporter for The Kansas City Star, where I covered untimely death or destruction most every day for a few years, everything from quadruple homicides to massive chemical fires. I’ve also covered suburban city government and schools for The Star and The Shawnee Dispatch, a suburban weekly paper just up the road in Johnson County.

I'm originally from Emporia, but I had ancestors living here in Lawrence when William Quantrill sacked the town in 1863 (they survived the massacre, probably thanks to being politically insignificant German immigrants). I’m also a fourth-generation KU grad, led by my great grandfather, who got his undergraduate and law degrees from KU. I majored in journalism, art history and French and wrote for The University Daily Kansan, where my reporting beat was campus police.

For local public safety news, see all the Journal-World’s recent stories here, and check out the Lights & Sirens blog.

To reach me, call 785-832-7187 or send email to Follow me on Twitter @saramarieshep.

Recent stories

Full story list

Recent photos

Americas Best Value Inn, 515 McDonald Drive, is pictured Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, a week after fire destroyed the building.

Emergency responders frame a fatality wreck on the South Lawrence Trafficway at Clinton Parkway Monday afternoon, Jan. 22, 2018. Snow began to fall shortly after the wreck, which involved two passenger vehicles, one heavily damaged vehicle which came to rest on its side and the other upright with heavy front end damage.

Emergency responders investigate the scene of a fatal wreck along the South Lawrence Trafficway, near the on-ramp from Clinton Parkway, on the southwest edge of Lawrence, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.

Americas Best Value Inn, 515 McDonald Drive, is pictured Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, two days after being destroyed by fire.

Firefighters battle a blaze at Americas Best Value Inn, 515 McDonald Drive, on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018.

Full photo list