Archive for Thursday, July 14, 2005

Taking a bite out of crime

Basehor police chief names city’s first case investigator

July 14, 2005

Just the facts.

On the Fourth of July, a female Basehor resident reported to police that her 27-year-old boyfriend, a Kansas City, Kan., man, abused her and doused her with gasoline. A few days later, a woman reported to police that she was the victim of rape.

The officer pegged with uncovering the truth, with discerning fact from fiction in the cases, is a familiar face at the police department.

Last week, Basehor Police Chief Terry Horner named Lloyd Martley, a distinguished, 10-year police department veteran, as the city's first-ever investigator.

"The city deserves an investigator for special cases," Horner said. "Victims deserve someone that will give the care and attention these complex cases deserve. Serious crimes will be investigated thoroughly and this (hiring) will advance us in that cause."

In June, Horner received city council permission to hire a full-time detective. The police chief then opened an area-wide search for qualified candidates. He found his man in-house.

"I felt we had individuals in the department that could be groomed and that deserved a chance before going outside," Horner said. "(Martley) is a good fit. He's a familiar face in the area, he communicates well with people and seems to adjust pretty well with the philosophy I've tried to instill."

The Basehor Police Department now joins the ranks of cities such as Bonner Springs, Lansing, Leavenworth and Tonganoxie as area law enforcement agencies employing a full-time investigator. Since proposing the position months ago, Horner has maintained the addition was the logical next step in handling an increased case load.

"We're probably the last of the agencies to add one, but it was a good addition," he said. "It was the right thing to do."

This year has been quite a successful one for Martley. Earlier this year, he was named Basehor police officer of the year during the annual Police and Fireman's Banquet. Martley won the award based on his work in removing drunken drivers from city streets while he worked the night shift.

For 15 years, Martley worked as an executive banker for three separate branches, but bypassed a more lucrative career for one more personally satisfying in law enforcement. He joined the Basehor Police Department as a part-time officer in 1995 and began work full time in 2001.

"It's a great opportunity for me," Martley said of his promotion. "I made a commitment to stay in law enforcement. It's a positive step for me in my career and I feel like I'm a good fit for this position."

Martley has had opportunities to join larger police departments that offer better salaries, but chose to remain in Basehor, he said, as a sign of loyalty to the department and community that gave him his first break in law enforcement.

Since his appointment, Martley has been busy. In addition to the abuse and rape cases, he's also been doing internal work, making evidence runs to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, conducting background checks on applicants for Basehor city jobs and probing cases such as identity thefts.

Both he and Horner said the police department is "still working out the kinks" for the position, but that Martley's role as investigator has already produced results. The investigation into the man who allegedly drenched his girlfriend in gasoline, for instance, has already been completed and findings have been turned over to the Leavenworth County attorney's office for review of possible charges.

Completing investigations in a timely manner hasn't always been the case for the police department, Horner said. During probes, uniformed officers were taken off the streets to conduct inquiries, which limited their time patrolling.

"A lot of cases weren't being investigated on a timely basis," Horner said. "They needed more follow-up, which delayed arrests or prosecution."

Martley won't be handed each and every case requiring investigation, the police chief said, but merely the most complex. He'll also have the flexibility to look into past, unsolved crimes, he added.

"We can pick and choose what is a priority and assign the investigator to them," Horner said. "There are a few cases that have occurred as far as cold cases we might probe into."

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