OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Public tax records reveal the Overland Park Police Officers Foundation received over $1 million in contributions and grants from 2016-2019.
On Tuesday, the KSHB 41 I-Team revealed that four police officers from the Overland Park Police Department were on paid administrative leave as the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office conducts a financial audit of the foundation.
The KSHB I-Team also learned that the off-duty officers were once trustees of the foundation, which is linked to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 21.
The most recent public tax record available for the foundation is from 2019. It shows the charity raised $353,454 and spent $248,435.
It is not immediately clear which period is under investigation. It is also not known what the money in question was spent on or how much.
The purpose of the charitable foundation is to raise funds for the families of deceased officers, injured officers, education and community awareness.
According to the foundation’s website, which was offline as of Tuesday, the charity also offers scholarships, equipment and training to officer members.
An audit of the foundation
Dianna Johnson, president of the OP Fraternal Order of Police, said the union approached the foundation in January and March last year with questions about distributions and expenses.
It wasn’t until a year later, when new trustees took over the foundation, that the audit was ordered.
The findings of the audit were recently the subject of private discussions with members of the police union.
The FOP president sent an email to all union members on May 7 detailing the agenda for the meeting.
The email, which was then sent to the I-Team, outlined the rules:
1. Current members only. No exceptions.
2. This is an opportunity to review the results of the Overland Park Police Officers Foundation audit. This is the only subject of the meeting.
3. There will be no discussion, voting, speculation, conversation or debate on this subject during the meeting.
4. There will be no photos or recordings allowed during the meeting, other than official recording by the lodge.
The Foundation receives a failing grade from the monitoring group
Charity Navigator is a nonprofit monitoring website that partly rates charities based on their financial health, accountability, and transparency.
Overland Park Police Officers Foundation has a score of 45 out of 100 which is a failing grade. The score is based on financial health and responsibility related to 2019 tax records.
Charity Navigator notes that the score could be different based on more current years that are not yet available due to a backlog of IRS filings.
FOP suspends the foundation
The I-Team first began reviewing questionable spending on Monday.
Just hours after asking questions of the OPPD and the police union, the union sent an email to its members saying it was suspending the foundation from any further activity.
The email, sent to the I-Team, writes: “We have decided at this time to suspend all new activity involving the Foundation, which means that the FOP Lodge will be the source of all events, charitable donations , etc., at this time.. We have previous commitments with Foundation funds, such as lodge rent, which we will continue to meet, but from this point forward we will no longer distribute funds from the account. of the Foundation for anything new. Due to potential legal issues related to the actions of the previous Foundation Board, we believe it is prudent and responsible to halt any new activity until all legal issues have been resolved. have been resolved.”
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe confirms he is investigating the case but declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
FOP President Johnson also declined to comment on the matter, citing the inquiry.
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