3 Overland Park officers resign amid investigation into alleged improper ticketing

Posted at 4:11 PM, Jul 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-25 23:43:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Three Overland Park officers have resigned amid an investigation into issues with traffic tickets. 

According to Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez, Jr., the department initiated the internal investigation itself. Donchez said there was reason to believe that seatbelt tickets were issued when drivers may have been violating other traffic ordinances, such as speeding, but were wearing their seatbelts. 

The internal investigation revealed their actions started on May 20th, during a seatbelt grant initiative by the Kansas Department of Transportation. The program gives police departments extra funding for patrol officers to enforce seatbelt violations. 

"Officers have discretion. They have the discretion to issue the ticket or not to issue the ticket. They do not have the discretion to issue a ticket for something the person has not been in violation of," said Donchez.

The internal investigation began mid-June after an officer within the department became aware of the activity. 

More than 200 pending tickets in Overland Park Municipal Court have since been dismissed. More than $4,000 have also been refunded to drivers who had paid the tickets. 

“We believe this is an isolated incident," Donchez said in a statement. "We apologize to the community for the actions of a few. This department prides itself on integrity and the public’s trust is a priority.”

Donchez said he does not believe the three officers were conspiring. He also said the department "found nothing that would identify that there were certain people selected."

Overland Park Police Department is not releasing the names of the officers because it is a personnel matter.