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No action taken against Overland Park police chief

'Shameful,' says mother of fatally shot teen
overland park police
Posted at 6:43 PM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 23:49:09-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A Kansas agency that oversees police departments has decided not to take any action against Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez.

Attorney Michelle Meier, for the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training, or CPOST, told Sheila Albers Thursday morning that the agency would not discipline Donchez based on her complaint.

"Saying I'm disappointed would be an understatement. My actual response to her was that was shameful," Albers said.

The Albers complaint against Donchez stems from then-Overland Park Police Officer Clayton Jenison's fatal shooting of 17-year-old John Albers in January 2018.

Jenison was responding to a welfare check on the teen when he fatally shot the boy as he was backing the family minivan out of the garage.

As the I-Team first reported last June, the city of Overland Park paid Jenison $70,000 to resign.

But, according to the city's settlement agreement with Jenison, Donchez checked a box in the CPOST form explaining Jenison's departure from the Overland Park Police Department which reads, "Voluntary Resignation (Under Ordinary Circumstances)".

Albers said she believes Donchez should've checked another box on the CPOST form that reads "Involuntary Negotiated Resignation."

"I think that's perjury," Albers said. "That is a chief of police committing perjury."

Following the CPOST decision not to take action against Donchez, the I-Team requested an interview with Donchez.

Overland Park Spokesman Sean Reilly sent a statement instead.

"The City of Overland Park was supportive of CPOST officials taking time to review, investigate and talk with appropriate personnel in making its determination that Police Chief Frank Donchez was compliant with regard to applicable laws and policies, and remains in good standing as a CPOST certified police officer," the statement reads.

The I-Team also spoke to Meier, with CPOST, who said she could offer no comment on the matter.

Albers said Meier also offered her no explanation for the decision.

"That's ridiculous," Albers said. "I mean, they're a government entity. They're responsible to the community, and they should be obligated to provide the reasons why they chose not to take action."

Former Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison said this type of reporting on officers leaving police departments has been going on for years.

He said it means other potential employers might not know about an officer's full history.

"It's a problem, and one of the reasons it's a problem is oftentimes those officers turn up in other cities," Morrison said. "I personally know of a lot of situations where a lot small towns have hired cops that have troubled pasts. And the reason they hire them is cops that come from big cities typically have a lot of training. And sometimes they don't know about the past, and a lot of those police officers continue to engage in some of those bad behaviors in their new place of employment. That's a problem, it's always been a problem and it's still a problem."

Albers said there is "zero red flag" for officers.

"It completely allows an officer to go to another municipality, get another job and serve in another community," Albers said. "While that system is in place where we allow officers to do that, police reform won't happen."

Records the I-Team recently obtained in the Albers case also paint a different picture of the fatal shooting than the one Sheila Albers sees.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office lab report in the case lists Jenison as the victim and John Albers as the suspect.

The same form, based on Kansas statute, takes the further step of listing John Albers as the defendant, even though Albers was never posthumously charged with a crime.

And as the defendant, John Albers is charged with a $400 bill for the lab work in his case.

"It is one of the most shameful things I have ever seen because, 'A', John was not the suspect, he was the victim of police brutality," Albers said. "The fact that there is a bill that's sitting there with my son's name on it, it's so gross. It shows how broken the system is. Their purpose is to clear the officer and if that means naming a victim as a suspect in order to paint a different false narrative, that's what they'll do. It shows that the investigation was done improperly from the second John was killed."

She also said she's trying to determine if the bill was paid, and if so, who paid it.

There currently is an open federal civil rights investigation into the Albers shooting with a seated grand jury.

"I don't think they're going to go to all this trouble gathering all this information and not do anything," Albers said. "It's just sad that it takes the federal government being involved to get the government in a local setting to do the right thing."