Archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Investigation complete on department

September 19, 2001

At long last, the investigation into the Baldwin City Police Department which was started in July has been completed. The City Council is to receive the report from special counsel Ken Bennett tonight in an executive session scheduled for 5 p.m. at City Hall.

The investigation was launched in July as the result of allegations against G.H. Rhea, a Baldwin police officer, who resigned. The probe was broadened to cover the entire department, including policies and procedures. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas Highway Patrol also took part in the investigation.

Originally, City Administrator Larry Paine and the council had hoped the probe would be completed within 30 days. It's now been more than 60 days.

"I've been promoting as quick a turn around as possible," said Councilman George McCrary. "I'm just as anxious as everyone else."

To this point, Paine and the council have not been informed of any of the findings from the investigation. They'll be hearing results and, possibly, recommendations on what to do tonight.

"I don't know what the report will show," said Councilman Ken Wagner. "I think we've got a problem there."

Although the council will hear the entire report, it's doubtful any decisions will be made.

"We're a foolish council if we try to make a decision right on the spot," said McCrary. "This is a decision you need to sleep on."

Information made public after Wednesday's executive session will be posted on the Signal's Website at www.baldwincity.com. A press conference is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Baldwin City Library.

Regardless of the report's findings, Paine has taken steps to help the department with communication.

"I have hired consultants to work with existing members of the police department," said Paine. "Their purpose is to assist with reestablishing communication relationships that have been stressed as a result of this investigation. It is my expectation, whatever the results are, working relationships and communication procedures will have to be fortified. The consultants are experienced police executives with the experience to accomplish this task."

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