Paul D. Cramm

Driving A Car In Some Kansas Towns Makes You A Potential Criminal

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. – If an individual has never driven through Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park or Prairie Village, then he/she is lucky because the local law enforcement considers every individual on the road to be a potential criminal.

A reporter, Kathryn Watson, asked the police in Alexandria in April regarding information they had gathered about her by using automatic license plate readers. Law enforcement records tracked her vehicle home around Old Town Alexandria and even on her way to Bible study.

There is not a single method to know when and where police in Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park or Prairie Village records the movements with automatic license plate readers due to the reason that all 3 departments cite an exemption to the Kansas Open Records Act.

According to reporter Kathryn Watson, she was shocked for the 1st time when she came to know about that. She said that she has a few speeding tickets on her record, but she has not committed any criminal activity in the aforementioned municipalities.
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Wes Jordan, Prairie Village chief of police, John Knoll, Overland Park assistant city attorney, and MacKenzie Harvison, Lenexa deputy city attorney, assured her that she was not the focus of any investigation.
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She said that she was waiting for a response from the Olathe Police Department and she was expecting the same and she left with only one alternative that the law enforcement agencies consider every person to be a potential criminal driving on the road even if he/she has not committed the crime yet.

Advocacy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, Holly Weatherford said, “It seems to infer that”.
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Weatherford said that for the record, state law defines criminal investigation records as any police proof or information “compiled in the process of preventing, detecting or investigating violations of criminal law”. He added, “To me, you know, it seems like a core principle in our society that government doesn’t invade peoples’ privacy, they don’t collect information about citizens and our activities just in case they do something wrong. And refusing to disclose your personal activities or information to you claiming it’s a part of a criminal investigation seems to fly in the face of that principle”.

According to him, his colleague in Virginia was able to access her information due to the reason of the state’s Government Data Collection and Dissemination Act, which allows public entities to fulfill open record requests for personal information like that. Weatherford said, “Kansas has one of the most restrictive open record laws in the country, so we’re paying attention and we’re really interested when people are asking for information and being denied and for what reason, we’re really trying to understand how the different government agencies in Kansas use those exemptions. This is one I haven’t heard yet.”

According to Harvison, while Lenexa wouldn’t give me any actual information about me due to the reason of the cited exemption, they don’t yet have any record of my plates in the system.

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About the Author

This practice has been exclusively devoted to all levels of criminal defense from misdemeanor offenses in municipal court to felony matters in the Federal courts of Kansas and the Western District of Missouri. Paul D. Cramm is qualified to provide defense in Capital and Death Penalty cases.