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Independence hires special counsel to investigate police overtime case

Posted at 12:21 PM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 19:10:18-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The investigation into alleged misuse of overtime within the Independence Police Department will now include a special counsel.

The city announced Friday that former Jackson County chief deputy prosecutor and former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Dan Nelson will oversee the city’s investigation.

Nelson, who currently works with Kansas City law firm Spencer Fane LLP, has been tasked with launching an “independent investigation” into hundreds of hours of overtime billed by members of the Independence Police Department for remodeling work since 2020.

The KSHB 41 I-Team spoke with people in the community about the overtime hours.

"I think it's a crock," Connie Mithelavage, an Independence resident said.

Mithelavage believes there should be a cap on overtime.

"Most companies do. Apparently not Independence," Mithelavage said.

The revelations into the alleged misuse were first outlined earlier this month.

"Well, then you're just looking at how much money is being spent and is it being spent wisely? Can't you find other people to do the work instead of having a lot of overtime?" Frank Smith who also lives in Independence said.

In a statement, the city said Nelson has already started his work, which will include interviews with those involved as well as reviewing documents. The city’s statement indicated that people who have information pertinent to the investigation will have a way to contact Nelson to relay their information.

KSHB 41 reached out to Nelson Friday who gave this statement:

"As special counsel, I will gather information and conduct interviews as necessary to independently evaluate the appropriateness of certain overtime practices in Independence, Missouri. The taxpayers of Independence deserve answers to questions recently raised. I would encourage any individual with relevant information to send it directly to me at"

The city's statement says they will rely on Nelson’s investigation to determine employee discipline and any changes in policy and procedures.

This is a developing story and will be updated.