LAWRENCE - Lawrence police officials are remaining tight-lipped about an internal investigation involving allegations of misconduct by two officers. Now, some believe a citizen review board might help prevent future problems.
Last week, 6News was the first to report on the story. Since that time, the city has refused to release the names of two officers placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation. This week, some are wondering if citizens should be involved in overseeing police conduct.
Back in 2006, hen Lawrence Mayor Mike Rundle was pushing for a citizens review board for the Lawrence Police Department. But the idea never really caught on. Some are questioning once again if such a group is necessary.
On Thursday, city officials announced an anonymous tip came in last year that police officers were accepting KU basketball tickets in exchange for dismissing speeding tickets. The investigation was turned over to the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office, who found no crime was committed.
But the officers may have violated department policy pertaining to gratuity. If the officers did break any rules, they could lose their jobs.
The city says it will not disclose names of the officers or their employment status. That's where a citizens review board might increase accountability. Five years ago, Topeka police instituted a law enforcement partnership panel and a citizens advisory board. Although they don't help with discipline or internal investigations, they do have a say in policy. "It does help build trust with citizens," says Captain Jerry Stanley. "The key part is the makeup of the board. You have to show that you're inviting people of every community in Topeka on the board, so it's not just business owners or people from one particular part of town."
We attempted to reach Mayor Aron Cromwell for this story. He says today, he's unavailable for comment.