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Honoring fallen officers, looking to future with Lenexa police during National Police Week

National Police Week in Lenexa
Posted at 7:54 AM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 10:49:39-04

LENEXA, Kan. — Communities across the country, including in the Kansas City area, are honoring fallen police officers for National Police Week.

In Lenexa, police said they’re lucky none of their officers have been killed in the line of duty, but this week still hits close to home.

Just last year, Fairway Ofc. Jonah Oswald was killed in the line of duty after the theft of a vehicle from Lenexa ultimately led to a shootout inside a Mission QuikTrip.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reported that in 2023, 136 officers died in the line of duty. The leading cause of death was firearms, which took the lives of 47 officers.

Of those 47, nine were trying to make an arrest, seven were on domestic disturbance calls, six were investigating suspicious persons, and five were killed during traffic stops.

Danny Chavez, public information officer with the Lenexa Police Department, said statistics like these make the week very somber.

“It doesn't matter whether or not we have lost somebody here at our department, whenever we see that a fellow officer —whether in the Kansas City metro area or even throughout the nation — has been killed in line of duty, it hits very close to home," Chavez said. "We know that that could have been one of us answering a call right here in our community. And we're thankful that it wasn't, but we want to remember those officers."

As part of the department's efforts to remember fallen officers, Lenexa police will hold a wreath-laying ceremony on Wednesday. The community can pay their respects, too.

The ceremony will also celebrate officers’ hard work while looking forward to the future of the department, including the new justice center.

Over the summer, Lenexa's police department and municipal court will pack up their current building near 87th and Quivira and head west to the new Lenexa Justice Center.

The $73 million public safety complex will hold police headquarters, municipal court and a police training facility.

Chavez said the department hopes the new facility helps with recruiting.

“It's like moving into a new home. We have greater spaces for training, greater storage for equipment and the latest technologies in terms of booking arrestees, larger workout facility," Chavez said. "We think it will help us in recruiting, and, in fact, even right now, we have numerous positions that are open here in anticipation of that move."

With police headquarters moving west, Chavez said the current location, on the far eastern edge of Lenexa, is closer to State Line than to the western Lenexa residents. The move to Prairie Star and Renner will be closer to the center of the community.