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Group calls for termination of Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez amid 'multiple scandals'

shelia alber more2 conference
Posted at 11:43 AM, Apr 26, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Community leaders are demanding “the immediate termination” of Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez.

Organizers with MORE2 said Monday at a press conference that Donchez has repeatedly broken the public’s trust and will continue to do so if he remains employed.

In an open letter, they wrote Donchez has misled the public and protected bad policing in reference to the 2018 killing of John Albers.

Albers was shot and killed by OPPD Officer Clayton Jenison in his own driveway.

Albers’ mother, Shelia Albers, was in attendance Monday and said the true measure of a leader is how they handle tragedy.

She and the clergy members gathered there said Donchez did the public a disservice when he allowed it to appear Jenison's resignation was voluntary and “under ordinary circumstances.”

“We cannot accept the killing of John Albers as ‘ordinary circumstances,’” the group wrote in its letter.

Last June, 41 Action News first reported Jenison was paid a $70,000 severance agreement.

The group also lodged complaints about the chief’s handling of protests last year following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

They allege while he cracked down on protesters against social injustices, he failed to stand up to threats from white nationalists.

MORE2 also noted a discrimination lawsuit filed against the department this month, in which two officers claim Donchez discriminated against them based on age, gender and race for promotions.

“We cannot accept the shadow of multiple scandals hanging over Overland Park Police in a time that calls for bold moral leadership,” the group wrote.

Speaking to the press Monday, they said “sunlight and transparency” are the best disinfectants.

The group also noted they are not anti-police, rather they want accountability and trustworthiness in their police force.

"There is definitely a need for a change in direction here at the Overland Park Police Department," said Rev. Bobby Love, MORE2 co-chair.

Not everyone who attended the announcement at City Hall supports Donchez's removal.

Pastor Mary Brown, who said she's worked as a volunteer chaplain for Overland Park Police, carried a sign which said "I support police."

"I do not believe that police chief did anything wrong. I'm going to say it was an unfortunate accident," Brown said.

The demand for Donchez's firing came the same day Overland Park City Manager Bill Ebel's performance review by the city council was scheduled for that evening.

According to Sheila Albers, the MORE2 announcement was held on Monday in part, to coincide with Ebel's performance review.

"I am hoping the Overland Park City Council looks at Bill Ebel and calls him out on the gross decisions he has made," she said.

The MORE2 letter was sent to Overland Park City Council President Curt Skoog and the rest of the city council.

Skoog, reached by phone, said there was no evidence or lack of public confidence for Ebel to remove Donchez from his job.

He also said the city has changed policies and procedures in the wake of the Albers shooting.

Skoog also defended Ebel's decision to negotiate a buyout for Jenison.

He said Ebel didn't want Jenison to be an Overland Park police officer after the Albers shooting, but had no grounds to fire him because Jenison didn't violate policy and was not charged with a crime.