By Blake Spurney
HALSTEAD – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation into activities at Halstead Police Department.
“Yes, I can confirm that the request to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation originated from my office asking for an outside agency case due to the nature of the case that was reported to me,” said Harvey County Attorney David Yoder on Tuesday afternoon.
Yoder declined to offer any specifics about what may be the nature of the complaint that was reported to him.
“At this point and time, I am not comfortable discussing the nature of what the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is presently investigating,” he said.
“I can’t comment on whether there would be any charges levied at this time,” he added. We’re still under an active investigation.”
Yoder said he would make an assessment after he receives reports related to the investigation.
“I am not inferring that there is any criminal activity that has occurred,” he said.
KBI agents have been at city hall, and it has not been disclosed what information they are seeking. Yoder said those working in a public office building retained their Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search or seizure.
“There are procedures for obtaining documents and interviewing persons,” he said. “You know even an agency like, for instance, Halstead City Hall, municipal court, clerks office, whomever, certainly have the right to require a warrant for the search of a public facility.”
The city of Halstead settled a federal discrimination suit in 2012 that was filed by a former employee. The complaint filed by the former employee alleged the “illegal sale of guns by the police department” and that Police Chief Steve Lewis asked her to remove citations once they had been docketed.
The former employee, who reached a settlement with Halstead within five months of filing the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Wichita, alleged that she heard an officer tell a woman in the presence of Lewis that “they would forget about her next ticket if she would show her breasts to them.”