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JerryLHarper (Jerry Harper)

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Lawrence group expects to oppose sales tax proposal for police headquarters

Jake, here are just a few questions that come to mind:

Can you really expect an independent, objective evaluation of law enforcement needs from an entity that has a built-in bias toward specific conclusions?

Shouldn’t the city, county and KU thoroughly explore, as has been suggested by the chief of police and others, housing all three in one building before building anything? And logically consolidating them into one agency?

Is there a need for a public building advisory board to take the long view on capital needs (as opposed to wants) of the community?

How large are the police facilities (excluding jail space since that isn’t part of the project) in other cities with good law enforcement?

Should the apparent need for and cost of additional jail facilities be determined before building a police station on the other side of town? It doesn’t do any good to convict the bad guys if you don’t have jail space for them.

What role does widespread plea bargaining by prosecutors play in our crime problem? 99% of these cases would never go to trial anyway.

Does it make sense to leave the Municipal Court downtown when the police department is going to be on one outskirt of the city and the jail on another? What about emergency communications, emergency management, animal control, parking control? Will they be housed with the police as recommended by the chief of police in-2011? (3-29-2011)

Why does the city have citizen boards (29 at last count) advising it on almost everything except law enforcement (arguably its most important responsibility) ?

Is Overland Park’s much better policing record due to its having a headquarters and 3 neighborhood sub-stations for a population of about 175,000? (That’s one station for about every 44,000 residents) As long ago as 1990, then Chief of Police Olin was calling for a West Lawrence sub-station. The City even purchased land for it.

Given the fact that Lawrence has as many police officers (and in most cases more) per capita than other area cities with much poorer results, does it make sense to look for a different administrative department structure and changed leadership? Under these circumstances, just asking for more officers may not be the right answer.

Or is it a matter of better officer training? Perhaps we should be sending our officers to Hutchinson for training like virtually everyone else in the state does instead of training them in house.

With all the technological advances in and money spent on communications equipment, can one seriously argue that our crime problem stems from officers’ inability to work together unless they are face to face?

Does it make sense to build a police station using 20th century IACP standards (most promulgated in the 1970s and updated only marginally since them) instead of designing for 21st century policing (e.g., biometrics, analytics)?

September 17, 2014 at 9:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence group expects to oppose sales tax proposal for police headquarters


Wilson Estes is an architectural firm that makes its living designing police stations. How surprising that it would conclude that Lawrence needs a new one. It did not, and was not hired, to do a top-to-bottom review of law enforcement in this community. That is what is needed.

The list of unanswered questions that have not been addressed is amazingly long.

They need to be carefully studied before spending $28 million.

I assume you are still president of the Lawrence police foundation and appreciate your loyal advocacy.

September 17, 2014 at 1:44 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence group expects to oppose sales tax proposal for police headquarters

As presently structured, Town Hall meetings do not provide objective information. They provide an opportunity for a presentation by the police department and no one else. Nothing wrong with that, but it is one-sided.

What is needed is an objective top-to-bottom review of law enforcement in order to determine what are the best ways to improve it.

The data doesn't lie. There is a problem.

September 17, 2014 at 10:51 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence group expects to oppose sales tax proposal for police headquarters

Since joining the Benchmark Cities Survey in 2010 (see quote below), Lawrence has consistently ranked among the worst in per capita occurrence of, and clearance rate for, violent person crimes and serious property crimes. This is true despite the fact that Lawrence has more officers per 1000 citizens than 22 of the 30 BCS cities including, e.g., nearby Olathe and Overland Park and the college towns of Columbia, Lincoln and Norman.

CDC ranks Lawrence a more dangerous place to live than all but two of the 30 BCS cities. Here are some comparisons:

LAWRENCE 317.9
Lincoln (Nebraska) 314.0
Columbia (Missouri) 301.2
Roeland Park 275.3
Mission 267.5
Stillwater (OSU) 232.1
Norman (OU) 194.5
Boulder (Colorado) 189.4
Morgantown (W. Va.) 187.6
Ames (ISU) 170.4
Overland Park 160.2
Olathe 146.8
Shawnee 121.7
Leawood 96.3
Prairie Village 75.2
Fairway 63.3
Mission Hills 44.3

Not one penny should be spent on a new police station until we’ve done an objective, top-to-bottom review of law enforcement in this community and come up with a rational, practical, affordable plan to fix a system that gives every indication of needing a major overhaul.
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“…Lawrence’s 2009 violent crime index … and property crime index … were the highest when compared to Olathe …, Overland Park …, and Lenexa … which are often utilized as Kansas comparables for Lawrence in terms of economic development and quality of life. Lawrence’s crime indices are closer to the more urbanized cities of Topeka … and Wichita… Demographics can be somewhat factored out by comparing Lawrence … to similar sized university towns such as Norman, Oklahoma …; Columbia, Missouri …; and Boulder, Colorado … In those instances, Lawrence’s 2009 crime indices were still higher.”

Source: Tarik, Khatib, Chief of Police
March 29, 2011 Memorandum To David L. Corliss, City, Manager

September 16, 2014 at 9:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Bullwinkles bar gets new owners, complete renovation

Finally, something about which I actually know something. I and two friends actually opened the Bierstube back in 1962 (or was in 1963). German slogans on the booths, dark beer on tap, German beer mugs, German drinking songs on the jukebox.

The name and its diminutive, i.e the Stube, lasted for close to 20 years. For most of that time, it was owned by, and helped pay the tuition of, a bunch of KU students. And kept a bunch more in 3.2 beer and pretzels.

We rented the building for $70 per month. It had been a Pizza Hut, but closed. A lot of skinned knuckles went into that remodeling job. It was about to collapse back then. Surprised its is still standing.

August 2, 2013 at 2:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Advance voter turnout at highest level since 2005; update about which PACs have to report their spending for local races

The PAC and candidate reports covering receipts and expenditures through March 21st disclosed that three entities gave $5000 contributions to the Lawrence United PAC (apparently started by the President of the Local Chamber - although not (?) a Chamber PAC)). It has raised nearly $20,000.

In the past 35 years, I can't recall any group formed for city elections that received anywhere close to $5000 in individual contributions or had available anywhere close to $20,000 to influence city races. (The amount may be much higher since contributions after March 21st won't be known until after the election. )

How much did each candidate raise and spend through the 21st? How much did the high dollar PAC raise and spend?

You'd think that would be newsworthy. But the powers that be at the Journal-World apparently decided otherwise.

Not a single word made it into print about these crucial financial reports (far more important than the ones that were filed back at the start of the year).

Chad Lawhon posted a short online story, but it never made it into print.

Strange behavior for an award-winning newspaper?

April 2, 2013 at 5:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Advance voter turnout at highest level since 2005; update about which PACs have to report their spending for local races

The PAC and candidate reports covering receipts and expenditures through March 21st disclosed that three entities gave $5000 contributions to the Lawrence United PAC (apparently started by the President of the Local Chamber - although not (?) a Chamber PAC)). Itt has raised nearly $20,000. In the past 35 years, I can't recall any group formed for city elections that received anywhere close to $5000 individual contributions or had available anywhere close to $20,000 to influence city races. (The amount may be much higher since contributions after March 21st won't be known until after the election.

How much did each candidate raise and spend through the 21st? How much did the high dollar PAC raise and spend?

You'd think that would be newsworthy. But the powers that be at the Journal-World apparently decided otherwise.

Not a single word made it into print about these crucial financial reports (far more important than the ones that were filed back at the start of the year).

Chad Lawhon posted a short online story, but it never made it into print.

April 2, 2013 at 5:13 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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