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Overland Park officers, accused of misusing police charity funds, resign

Four Overland Park officers who were the subject of an investigation into the misuse of police charity funds have resigned, a city spokesperson said on Friday.

The officers — Sgt. Brandon Faber, Officer Brad Heater, Sgt. Rachel Scattergood and Sgt. Tim Tinnin — served as board members for the Overland Park Police Officers Foundation, a charity with the stated mission of helping police officers and their families recover after cases of catastrophic injury or death.

The charity and the officers became subjects of controversy amid allegations that the officers improperly received questionable monetary benefits while in charge of its finances. All four have been on paid administrative leave since May 2022.

The resignations came Friday as the city was still investigating whether the officers had violated Overland Park employee policies, Meg Ralph, a city spokeswoman, said in a statement. No settlements or resignation agreements were made, Ralph said, and they were “not accepted in lieu of termination.”

The allegations first came to light last year after a new crop of board members took the reins of the foundation. An audit was commissioned that found unauthorized payments to the four officers, while they had previously served as board members, that were cast as theft under state law.

Alleged misconduct discovered in the audit included educational scholarships granted to board members in violation of the charity’s bylaws. Money went directly into two of the members’ pockets instead of the academic institutions, a move auditors found suspicious.

Board members received other payments, earmarked for assisting families in financial distress following “catastrophic injury or death,” and used them for dental and veterinarian bills, the audit found.

The audit, which was publicly released by the Overland Park Police Officers Foundation in October, found the officers had received $27,000 for their own benefit.

Findings of the audit were first submitted to Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe’s office in spring 2022.

Eighteen months after the officers were put on leave, Howe announced in October that his office would not pursue criminal charges. Despite clear evidence the officers violated charity’s bylaws concerning “self-dealing and self-enrichment,” Howe said he could not prove the officers knowingly collected money for unauthorized expenses or misused funds on purpose.

Howe’s investigation found the four officers, all leaders of the charity, directly received about $15,540 from the foundation.

The officers wiped their electronic devices clean of any data, according to the district attorney’s office. Howe said the four officers’ lawyers also prevented them from being interviewed by prosecutors.

“We didn’t say there wasn’t shadowy behavior, because there was,” Howe said at the time. “There was behavior that, as we indicated in our conclusion, really does not hold those officers of the foundation in a good light.”

Current board members of the Overland Park Police Officers Foundation have voiced disappointment with the outcome in the criminal investigation.

In a scathing statement in October, Vanessa Riebli, the foundation’s attorney, said the decision not to criminally charge the officers “should cause concern for all Johnson County charitable organizations and businesses if that is the new standard of review by his office for this type of crime.”

Reached by phone late Friday afternoon, Ralph, the Overland Park spokeswoman, said the city’s next step would be the submission of information to the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training.

The state commission is responsible for reviewing allegations of misconduct and making determinations on the licensure of police officers in the state.

The Star’s Katie Moore contributed to this report.