© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kansas Takes No Action Against Overland Park Police Chief's Certification

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3
Kansas CPOST, the agency that regulates police officers in the state, decided Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez did nothing wrong when he said the officer who shot and killed a teenager left the department under "ordinary circumstances."

The law enforcement license of Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez is no longer in jeopardy by state regulators.

After two months of investigating, the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training (CPOST) — the organization that regulates police officers' licenses in the state — has decided not to act against the certification of Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez.

The decision was in connection to a complaint filed by Sheila Albers, the mother of a 17-year-old shot to death by police in 2018.

Albers filed the complaint in March, claiming Donchez lied on a CPOST form about the circumstances surrounding the departure of former Overland Park police officer Clayton Jenison, who fired 13 bullets at John Albers as he backed the family minivan out of the garage. On the form, called a Notice of Termination or Status Change, Donchez said Jenison left the department "under ordinary circumstances."

Albers said the $70,000 severance deal that the city reached with Jenison was anything but ordinary.

Albers says the lack of any action by CPOST Thursday made her furious. "It is disheartening that the entities in charge of regulating and holding police officers accountable are so ineffective," she told KCUR. "It's an exercise in smoke and mirrors."

CPOST refused to comment. "CPOST actions are open records and posted to our website once final," Commission Counsel Michelle Meier said in an email.

The city of Overland Park went a little further, saying it was "supportive" of the CPOST investigation "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 KCPOST certified police officer," city spokesman Sean Reilly said in a statement to KCUR.

Overland Park is still facing scrutiny over Albers' killing.

The FBI has confirmed there is an ongoing civil rights investigation into the teen's death. As KCUR first reported, the city has responded to a wide-ranging federal grand jury subpoena, and at this point, it's unknown what that subpoena has uncovered.

In late April, Overland Park released a redacted and incomplete 500-page investigation done by the Johnson County Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team (OISIT). There is an ongoing lawsuit by KSHB-TV seeking additional documents the station claims the city is withholding.

Also, KCUR discovered through a Kansas Open Records Act request that the city has spent $35,486 since October 2020 defending itself against the KSHB lawsuit and one filed by the Kansas City Star seeking the release of the severance agreement with Jenison.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.