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.
- Have you seen this man? Lawrence kitchen store catches cash-register thief on camera
- December 12, 2017
- A downtown Lawrence kitchen store is hoping clear surveillance video of a man swiping cash from its register in the middle of the afternoon will help catch the thief.
- Former KU student sentenced to probation for misdemeanor sexual battery in dorm
- Man must register as sex offender for next 15 years
- 11:36 a.m., December 12, 2017 Updated 02:14 p.m.
- A former University of Kansas student has been sentenced to a weekend in jail and a year of probation for groping a friend who was in bed with him in his dorm room.
- Retired Lawrence police captain killed in wreck on I-70
- 01:38 p.m., December 11, 2017 Updated 05:56 p.m.
- A retired Lawrence police captain who served the department for more than 26 years was killed Sunday evening in a one-vehicle crash in Topeka.
- Lawrence police use stun gun on suspect who allegedly attacked officer
- December 11, 2017
- A Lawrence police officer deployed a stun gun Sunday night, after a suspect resisted arrest and punched another officer in the face multiple times, the police department said.
- ACLU slams state’s ‘low’ felony diversion rates, including in Douglas County
- December 10, 2017
- If Douglas County granted diversions for accused felons at the national average rate, it could save $155,000 a year in incarceration costs, according to a newly released American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas report. The report, released Wednesday, concludes that Kansas county prosecutors on average use diversion at an “abysmally low” rate of 5 percent of felony cases. Douglas County’s felony diversion rate is 5.6 percent, according to the report, while the national average — which the ACLU uses as a benchmark — is 9 percent. Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson called that a “sweeping claim” that ignores the particulars of the issue. “This is a political piece written in an intentionally misleading fashion to cast an inaccurate picture of prosecution in Kansas,” Branson said.
- KU pays $395,000 to settle Title IX lawsuits by women who alleged sexual assaults by football player
- December 8, 2017
- The University of Kansas is paying $395,000 for two former female rowers to drop their Title IX lawsuits against the school, settlement agreements reveal. The out-of-court agreements ending the highly publicized lawsuits were provided to the Journal-World Friday, in response to the newspaper’s recent Kansas Open Records Act request to the university. The women sued KU after they said they had been sexually assaulted by a football player.
- Law enforcement officers become kids’ shopping assistants at annual holiday event
- December 8, 2017
- Two uniformed Douglas County Sheriff’s Office corrections officers rolled a shopping cart through the Sixth Street Walmart Friday morning, never straying far from the toy aisles.
- KU deputy police chief dies; ‘familiar face’ had been with department nearly 30 years
- December 8, 2017
- A 28-year veteran of the University of Kansas police force and the department’s second-highest ranking officer, Deputy Chief Robert J. “Bobby” Williams Jr. died on Wednesday.
- Lawrence man accused of kidnapping, sex assault convicted of lesser crime
- December 7, 2017
- A Lawrence man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman he knew has been convicted of a lesser charge in the case.