As part of its budget for 2019, the Johnson County Park Police Department has been authorized to add four additional officers.
Officials see this increase from 24 to 28 officers as a natural part of JCPRD’s recent and ongoing growth as it continues to open new parks and facilities throughout the county.
“We have pretty safe parks, and that’s been the case for many, many years,” said Superintendent of Safety, Heritage, and Outdoor Education Dan Field. “In order to keep that happening, we need to expand.”
“Adding police officers is critical for us to maintain a high level of safety and the level of service that’s expected in our parks,” added JCPRD Executive Director Jill Geller.
In 2017, JCPRD opened Lexington Lake Park and 3.5 miles of Coffee Creek Streamway Park in Olathe. Anticipated openings of the near future include Big Bull Creek Park in southwest Johnson County, and Meadowbrook Park in Prairie Village.
The first phase of Big Bull Creek Park, which opens on Sept. 22, includes a combined park maintenance building and Johnson County Park Police substation located just north of the intersection of Four Corners Road and 199th St. Field said two additional future substations are being considered for other parts of the county.
In addition to new parks, JCPRD has also opened facilities, including the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, and anticipates openings of the Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse and the Shawnee Mission School District’s future natatorium (aquatic center) in Lenexa, which JCPRD will operate.
“Our park police respond to incidents at our recreation facilities, and those are increasing as well,” Geller noted.
The executive director noted that the Johnson County Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners was very supportive of the request to authorize additional officers and actually expanded upon what was asked.
“We originally requested two new officers next year, and our board felt that with our increased acres, trail miles, and recreation facilities, we needed four,” she said. “It was really strong support that made it happen, and it is very much appreciated.”
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