Bill would allow Kan. officers to cross state lines
The new measure which includes non-border counties throughout the state received sweeping support from law enforcement
By Melissa Hellman
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas law enforcement officers would be permitted to help officers across state lines during emergency situations under a bill approved by a House committee.
Law enforcement officers in Kansas now are only able to help other departments in the state, though officers in border counties are also able to provide assistance across state lines during drug investigations or terrorist activities.
The bill passed in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee on Tuesday would allow all Kansas law enforcement agencies to request help from police departments outside of the state. Police officers working in other areas would also receive workers' compensation and protection from their local police department.
A Kansas City police association introduced a similar bill to the House committee last year that only focused on Kansas City and was never passed. "We had a unique problem in the Kansas City area," Fred Farris, president of the association, told The Associated Press on Tuesday, adding that the city spans across Missouri and Kansas.
The new measure which includes non-border counties throughout the state received sweeping support from law enforcement agencies during a hearing last week.
"Due to the many critical incidents that have occurred in this nation from both domestic and foreign instigators, law enforcement agencies are working collaboratively to improve our preparedness and response to critical incidents," Lenexa Police Chief Thomas Hongslo said in prepared testimony for the committee. "In a time of crisis, the geographical location of a community should not be a factor in receiving needed manpower and resources."
Missouri passed a similar bill signed into law last year that allows law enforcement agencies to enter in mutual-aid assistance to other states.
Farris noted in written testimony for the hearing that resources are not always readily available at critical times. He mentioned a foiled suicide attack on the military base at Fort Riley, Kansas last April that required a lot of assistance.
"Having the ability to call on our neighboring agencies, no matter where in Kansas the incident happens, is critical to the outcome of these incidents," Farris said.
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