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Overland Park Residential Security Initiative

​At the 62nd annual ASIS Seminar in Orlando, the Law Enforcement Liaison Council (LELC) supported by the ASIS Foundation, awarded the 6th annual Matthew Simeone Award for Public Private Partnership (P3) Excellence. The award was presented to the Kansas City, MO Chapter #50 for their partnership with the Overland Park, KS Police Department.

The Kansas City Chapter in their Simeone Award application provided an extensive explanation of their program of which it in-part appears below. This summary provides a good example of what it takes to develop a strong public private partnership.

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In 1996, Overland Park, Kansas was devastated by home invasions and assaults on residents.  Extensive media coverage generated community concern and the police department responded by organizing a number of neighborhood meetings. The Overland Park Police Department (OPPD) Crime Prevention Unit (CPU) scheduled over 200 residential security surveys, which resulted in the discovery of a door-type called the "side-lighted entryway", which due to its door jamb, proved problematic to secure. Traditional security recommendations were ineffective.  OPPD felt if these doors could be better secured, burglars would abandon an attack or select less appealing options.

Simeone image 2.pngEdward Wayne Incorporated (EWI) volunteered to assist the OPPD. EWI in cooperation with the OPPD began testing door assemblies and quickly realized common security recommendations offered little to no security against unskilled opportunistic burglars. Members of the OPPD than sought assistance from outside sources. Private security professionals from ASIS International were contacted and later joined the partnership. 

   The OPPD independently researched burglary methods and effective security strategies. Using research from criminologists (Paul Cromwell at Wichita State, Scott Decker and Richard Wright at the University of Missouri-St. Louis) all security recommendations were evaluated based on fundamental security strategies promoted by ASIS International. Scrutiny of the residential security practices revealed few if any of the security recommendations addressing residential security had been thoroughly reviewed, tested or analyzed. It appeared recommendations were being made from speculation, convenience or what had been passed on by others as a "good idea."

newspapper clip 1.pngAs a result of this initiative, residential security recommendations were revised, stressing the importance of physical security. The P3 partners ensured recommendations were sound, affordable, reliable and ascetically pleasing. But more importantly with the help from EWI they were tested against common burglary attacks. The revised recommendations were incorporated into literature, surveys and presentations.

Overland Park was a leader in the Kansas City metropolitan area issuing residential building permits. Overland Park PD Officers, with the assistance of the P3 team, drafted an ordinance and submitted the idea to a City Council subcommittee. Following an extensive council debate and meetings with homebuilders and homeowners, Overland Park adopted the security ordinance in December 1999.  Three years after Overland Park implemented the ordinance, other municipalities slowly began to adopt the residential security ordinance.

newspapper clip 2.pngThe P3 member's greatest achievement was in the sharing of information and the challenging questions each asked of one another. Law enforcement dealt with the aftermath of crime daily but their relationship with ASIS International pointed out they did not have a sufficient understanding of security principles. Security professionals realized their knowledge in residential security was significantly misguided. EWI had little to no knowledge on security matters but possessed the knowledge on building methods and materials. Together they developed the most comprehensive residential security initiatives in the country. Overland Park Municipal Code; Title 16 Building and Construction; Subchapter 16.110 Residential code for One- & Two-Family Dwellings; Section R328 Physical Security.

The P3 partnership brought in law enforcement, private security, home builders and educational institutions. The intent was not to develop a single product, but to develop a program based on sound security principles, targeting a criminal's behavior and identifying those products and companies that best serve the interest of the community.

The initial steps to implement this program began in the fall of 1996. The research, implementation of the residential security ordinance and other various programs started in December of 1999. The program has been in existence for over 15 years and is still active today.

In 2011 the effectiveness of the ordinance was examined and published by United States Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Division. There are two standards cited in the ordinance to ensure quality control of products used. They are:

 ANSI Code 156.2 Grade 2 specifying the minimum quality of deadbolt

 ASTM F476 Standard Test Methods for Security of Swinging Door Assemblies.

There are primarily two obstacles in starting up this program: time and knowledge. Some police agencies do not have the sufficient resources to conduct surveys and spend the time with residents. It is crucially important for law enforcement officers to spend time with burglary victims. Although burglary is considered a property crime, it severely impacts the victim's emotional state, negatively impacting the community and their work productivity. Research clearly suggests that law enforcement officers properly trained in providing sound residential security surveys can have a very positive effect on the victim's emotional well-being. (Birzer, M.L. & Cromwell, P.F., 2007)

Implementation of a residential security ordinance is difficult for many organizations because they are not familiar with building codes. This lack of knowledge has caused many agencies to simply avoid the process. Many feel this is not an area where they should go nor do they feel comfortable with it.  Agencies that do not have the luxury of some outside help are reluctant to move forward.

Complete Analysis 

Learn more about the Overland Park program through this analysis submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice written by Michael Betten, CPP. The 50-page document explains the trigger, the prolonged process, and most importantly includes the actual Overland Park Residential Security Ordinance, which has been adopted by several other municipalities withint the Kanas City metro area.

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For additional information on the Overland Park program, ASIS members can reach out to either:

ASIS Chapter #50 – Michael D. Betten, MS, CPP at mbn@stowers.org  or

Overland Park Officer Bill Koehn at bill.koehn@opkansas.org

Note: Some material for this article was obtained directly from the ASIS web site as well as the Kansas City Chapter's Simeone Award application. The material was edited by Dwight A. Holcomb, CPP, Vice Chair of the ASIS Law Enforcement Liaison Council and Chair for the Matthew Simeone Award review committee.   Additional LELC members that were on the review and selection committee are: Tom Conley, CPP; Patrick Gibbons; John Joyce; Mitchell Kemp, CPP; Ron Rabena and Steve Somers, CPP