The next meeting of the Leawood Arts Council is scheduled for January 26, 2021 at 4:30 PM.
The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for January 26, 2021 at 6:00 PM.
To reduce the likelihood of the spread of COVID-19 and to comply with social distancing recommendations, this meeting of the Leawood Planning Commission will be conducted using the Zoom media format, with some of the commissioners appearing remotely. The meeting will be livestreamed on YouTube and the public can access the livestream by going to the City of Leawood’s YouTube channel for the live link, just before the 6:00 p.m. start time. The public is strongly encouraged to access this meeting electronically; however, if you wish to comment on a public hearing item, please contact the Community Development Department at 913-339-6700 to make arrangements.
Public comments will only be accepted during the public hearing portion of each agenda item where a public hearing is required. The City encourages the public to submit comments in writing prior to the public hearing by emailing comments to email@example.com. Written public comments received at least 24 hours prior to the meeting will be distributed to members of the Planning Commission. Individuals who contacted the Planning Department in advance to provide public comments will be called upon by name.
News & Events
Following Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s announcement that the state is now advancing to Phase 2 in the COVID-19 vaccination process, Johnson County’s Director of Health and Environment Dr. Sanmi Areola will hold a virtual press conference today at 5:30 p.m. on Facebook Live to discuss what this means for Johnson County and what the process will be for following the state’s distribution guidelines.
The press conference can be viewed at facebook.com/jocogov.
EVENT: “Leawood’s Got Talent” a virtual competition presented by Leawood Stage Company, Leawood Cultural Arts and Parks & Recreation
DATES: Video submissions are due by January 25, 2021
COST: No Charge
“LEAWOOD’S GOT TALENT”
Have you been brushing up on your performance skills while in quarantine? Leawood Stage Company in cooperation with Leawood Parks and Recreation and Cultural Arts departments are excited to present our first virtual talent competition Leawood’s Got Talent!
This talent show is open to anyone with any talent. There is no age limit, or restriction on what type of talent, or no restriction on where you live. Groups are welcome to participate, but will share the prize as one act. The winning act will receive a $150 gift card. The top four runner ups will receive $75 gift cards.
Performers must submit an audition video by January 25th. Since we are limited by COVID restrictions each performer will need to make these videos in their own surroundings. To see how to submit a three minute entry video, go to the Leawood Stage Company’s website at www.leawoodstageco.org.
The LSC talent panel board members will select the top acts. The selected acts’ video will then be posted for viewing and voting by the public through the www.leawoodstageco.org website. The public competition will be held in two rounds plus a final round.
Performers that advance will be asked to present a new video for each competition round.
Viewers from home will be able to vote for their favorite act by going to the Leawood Stage Company’s website at www.leawoodstageco.org. One vote per person, per round will be counted. The acts with the most votes will advance to the next round.
Round One will be posted for viewing on January 29th and will available to watch for one week. Voting will close for Round One on February 7th.
Round Two will be posted for viewing on February 19th and will available to watch for one week. Voting will close for Round Two on February 28th.
Final Round will be posted for viewing on March 12th and will available to watch for one week. Voting will close for the Final Round on March 21th.
The Awards Ceremony will take place on Facebook Live, Friday, March 26th at 7:00 pm.
Get ready to shine at Leawood’s Got Talent! Submit your 3 minute audition video by January 25th.
The Arts in Public Places Initiative (APPI) committee of the Leawood Arts Council (LAC) of Leawood, Kansas is seeking an artist to design, fabricate and install artwork as part of a new pool house building at the Leawood Aquatic Center.
The construction on 135th Street is complete and the road is now open to traffic.
The Historic Oxford Schoolhouse at Ironwoods Park is having the porch repaired and will be closed until further notice. Please check back for an opening date soon.
The City of Leawood is still accepting and reviewing applications received for all open posted positions. Due to COVID-19, the City of Leawood’s recruitment and hiring process may be delayed or altered. We encourage all interested applicants to continue to apply to any posted position(s).
In light of recent events in our country, the Leawood Police Department has received many different requests for information and has established many lines of communication with our public. After conversations with the Johnson County NAACP, we’d like share our responses to their Call to Action.
So that we can continue this open dialogue with our citizens, we also have this compilation of responses to frequently asked questions:
What is done to ensure officers are doing their jobs correctly?
Employees of the Leawood Police Department are held to a high level of conduct set by both city and department guidelines. Supervisors regularly review video of officers’ interactions with the public and take corrective action if they observe a violation.
The department also has a public complaint process, including the acceptance of anonymous complaints for investigation. Once received, a complaint is investigated by the department’s Professional Standards Officer. The Professional Standards Officer will then interview the complainant (if known), the officer(s) involved and review body worn, in-car and any other video of the incident before forwarding the investigation to the Chief of Police.
Do Leawood officers have body-worn cameras?
Thanks to the support of our city council five years ago we were able to provide body cameras to all of our front line, non-administrative personnel. These systems are linked to their in-car systems. The cameras are activated by several automatic triggers such as turning on their patrol car’s emergency lights. Officers are required to ensure their camera systems are activated a) during all enforcement and investigative contacts; b) on traffic stops; c) any self-initiated activity involving the public; d) any other contact that could become adversarial.
These videos are automatically downloaded and saved to department servers that only allow officers to review the videos, but not to copy, edit or otherwise manipulate the video.
What is a Use of Force?
The Leawood Police Department defines a use of force as “the application of physical techniques or tactics, chemical agents or weapons to another person.” Our agency instructs a variety of use of force techniques ranging from hand-to-hand judo-based movements to the use of oleoresin capsicum (OC/pepper spray), energy conducted weapons up to lethal force. We do not teach choke holds or any type of hold or restraint involving a person’s neck.
What determines the ‘force’ used?
Our officers are vested with the authority to use objectively reasonable force in carrying out their duties and may only use the amount of force necessary to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose. This force should cease once the unstable situation or threat has been mitigated. Additionally, our policy includes the duty to intercede if other officers on scene see an unreasonable use of force. Any complaint of injury necessitates that a supervisor respond to the scene of the event.
Does your department have a Use of Force Continuum?
We discontinued the use of a use-of-force-continuum in the early 2000s. Such a document, which in generalities states that ‘if faced with this, do this,’ because it is not practical to have one guiding document to guide 62 police officers of varying ages, genders and physical ability. Instead, we rely on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Graham v. Conner (490 U.S. 386 – 1989) which set a standard of ‘balancing the nature and quality of the intrusion of the individual’s Fourth Amendment interests.’ To be more succinct, we look at the individual officer’s age, gender, physical ability and past training in reviewing each use of force rather than a formal matrix. We have different expectations on the amount of force an officer who is a six-foot-three, 260 pound former football player would use in a given situation compared to a five-foot-three, 130-pound officer.
Are chokeholds or strangleholds part of your use of force policy?
The Leawood Police Department does not include the use of chokeholds or strangleholds in any part of our Use of Force policy nor do we teach these to our officers.
Are officers banned from shooting at moving vehicles?
Our current policy states “shots fired at a moving vehicle are rarely effective. Officers should attempt to move out of the path of an approaching vehicle instead of discharging their firearm at the vehicle or any of its occupants. An officer should only discharge a firearm at a moving vehicle or its occupants when the officer reasonably believes there are no other reasonable means available to avert the threat of the vehicle.” We have chosen this language, rather than a ban on shooting at vehicles, after reviewing the use of vehicles as weapons.
Are officers trained to de-escalate instead of use force?
Every police officer has received and continues to receive de-escalation training. Officers are trained to use these skills, when possible, but we don’t require something be considered given the dynamic nature of each use of force incident.
Do officers have to give warnings before using force?
Just as with de-escalation, this would certainly be encouraged, but the vast number of police shootings are measured in seconds. LPD’s Use of Force policy states “a verbal warning should precede the use of deadly force, where feasible.”
Do officers have to use other means of force before shooting someone?
Our agency’s Use of Force policy explicitly states “Officers shall use only that amount of force that reasonably appears necessary given the facts and circumstances perceived by the officer at the time of the event to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose.” We provide officers and train them in the use of hand-to-hand skills, pepper spray, conducted energy weapons, batons as levels of force before resorting to the use of deadly force.
Are the uses of force documented and reviewed?
Once the event is complete, officers are required to document every use of force, including the pointing of a firearm at a person. Each of these uses of force is reviewed by the officers’ supervisor, a division commander and the Chief of Police to determine a) were the officer’s actions lawful; b) were they within the procedures of the Leawood Police Department; c) were they within common practices of our agency; d) were any training issues identified in reviewing this incident?
Officer involved shootings are first investigated by outside investigators coordinated through the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office before any internal investigation is begun.
Do officers have a duty to stop excessive force by others?
Our department’s policies require ‘any officer present and observing another officer using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstance shall intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force. An officer who observes another employee use force that exceeds the degree of force permitted by law should promptly report these to a supervisor.’
What type of training do police officers receive?
Every police officer in the State of Kansas is required to complete an initial course of instruction of more than 600 hours that is designed and administered by the Kansas Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. Each subsequent year the State of Kansas requires an officer to complete a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education including training in bias based policing. Officers who have specialties, such as instructors and training officers, will often exceed the state-mandated minimum hours.
Are officers trained to deal with the mentally ill?
With the steady increase in mental health related calls the last few years, the Leawood Police Department in 2018 joined the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s One Mind Campaign. To date, more than half of our officers and more than a third of our civilian staff have completed the 40-hour national Crisis Intervention Team training program. Ten others have completed the eight-hour Mental Health First Aid program. We have also entered into a program with the Johnson County Mental Health Center in which a trained mental health co-responder is available to respond with officers to assist citizens in mental distress. Finally, we have adopted specific policies on how our officers are to respond to persons affected by mental illness.
What is the department doing to communicate with the citizens it serves?
Our agency is proud of the relationships we have developed with the citizens we serve. We regularly participate in a variety of events around the metropolitan area sponsored by the NAACP of Overland Park, Olathe and Leawood; the NAACP of Johnson County and the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault to maintain open lines of communication.
Residents of Leawood are invited to join the NextDoor app so that we can provide safety alerts as well as informational announcements to our citizens. Feedback is also sought through an on-line survey in which citizens who’ve had contact with our officers are asked to provide anonymous input on their interaction.
Finally, for more than a quarter century we have offered a 10-week Citizens Police Academy. This program invites residents and those who work in Leawood into our Justice Center to learn more about our agency and, more importantly, the people who make up our agency. Through this program we answer questions and have formed lasting bonds with hundreds of past participants in this free program.
Leawood citizens have done a great job with the state’s ‘stay-at-home’ order, but there comes a time when you just have to escape and the recent spring weather has made walking/running outside a popular escape. With this in mind, here are some safety tips with so many walking/running outdoors:
- Pedestrians have the right of way: when they are on sidewalks, when they are crossing a street in a marked crosswalk or at a corner.
- Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way if they are crossing in the middle of a block.
- Pedestrians must obey traffic control devices (lights) – use the crosswalk signals at signal controlled intersections for your safety.
- Pedestrians should be using a sidewalk/trail if it is available. If you have to walk in the street, walk FACING traffic – see for yourself that oncoming drivers see you and aren’t on their cell phone.
- Don’t forget to wear bright colors – it will brighten up your day and help insure drivers see you.
Take care and stay healthy!
The city of Leawood was recently ranked as the second safest city in Kansas. Alarms.org looked at 2018 statistics as part of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report statistics and noted the city’s low crime rates, including the lowest rate of violent crime in the state and a property crime rate below the state and national levels. For a full accounting of the ratings, please visit https://www.alarms.org/safest-cities-in-kansas/.
JoCo Quarterly, the county’s external e-newsletter is now moving to a monthly format. This change reflects feedback recently received from residents. The first edition of JoCo Monthly was distributed Wednesday, July 31. Look for future editions at the end of each month.
The Leawood Police Department has free cable gun locks available for residents at
the Justice Center, 4201 Town Center Drive. The locks (limit one per household)
are available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you own a firearm, please be a responsible gun owner and make sure it is