Archive for Wednesday, August 22, 2001

No answers yet in police probe

August 22, 2001

The investigation of the Baldwin City Police Department will probably not be finished within the next two weeks.

At the Baldwin City Council meeting Monday night, Mayor Ken Hayes said the city wasn't for sure when the investigation would be concluded.

"I don't believe we've hit on a time frame," Hayes said. "But I believe it will be sometime after Labor Day."

The investigation, which is being conducted by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas Highway Patrol and special counsel, started in mid July as a result of allegations against former Baldwin Police Officer G.H. Rhea. It was later expanded to the entire department.

Rhea resigned shortly after the investigation began because of "stress and pressure" from the allegations. Rhea, 27, has denied all allegations, which have never been made public.

At the council meeting, Baldwin resident Tamara Starkey said she was concerned with the delay of the investigation.

"Will it be completed soon?" she said. "I think this issue has drawn a wedge between the community and the police department.

"I wanted to make it positively clear that I've always been very supportive of (Police Chief Steve) Butell and the police department as a whole," Starkey said. "I just hope the findings are positive for them and the community."

She said she thought the delay would add undo stress onto the police force, making it harder for the officers to do their jobs.

Hayes said the city wanted to conclude the investigation as soon as possible.

"We're very frustrated as to how it's going as far as expediency," he said. "But nothing will be said until the report is in our hands. It's a wait and see approach."

In other business, the city council:

Approved, 4-1, with Council Member Ken Wagner voting against, an amendment to City Ordinance 1066 raising the minimum requirement of acreage needed on lots to construct residential septic systems from three acres to 10 acres.

Building Official Jim Tarwater said the city needed to increase the acreage minimum because there have been problems with septic systems leaking to the top of the ground. He said by increasing the minimum land needed, Baldwin hoped to do away with septic systems in the city.

Approved 5-0 an agreement with Douglas County for maintaining county roads within city limits.

Utility Director Terry McKinney said as part of the agreement the county would be responsible for surface and pavement maintenance and the city would be responsible for ditches, road signs and snow removal on the county roads that are in city limits.

Approved 3-2, with Council Member George McCrary and Wagner voting against, to rezone lot 2, block 1 at the east end of Hillside Drive in Brittany Ridge from C General Commercial to R-2 Residential.

Approved 5-0 to rezone 215 N. Sixth St., C. Designs, from A-1 Agriculture to C General Commercial.

Approved 3-1-1, with Wagner voting against and McCrary abstaining, to enter into a loan agreement at a rate of 3.2 percent for 20 years with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for the construction of a new wastewater plant.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.