Kansas Police Chief put on paid leave amid city’s overtime investigation

Ken Jarnagin, acting Independence, Kansas Police Chief, was recently put on paid administrative leave while the city is currently investigating a case in which an officer made an additional $160,000 in overtime pay. The officer was given the pay to complete construction work that was not authorized. 

City Manager Zach Walker announced on Monday without naming Jarnagin that “one police officer” would be suspended for two weeks at least as city leaders prepared to have a regularly-scheduled meeting at Independence City Hall.

Walker noted in a statement that the decision was made as a display of integrity. “The decision has been made to maintain the integrity of the investigation and the parties involved,” Walker said in the prepared statement, adding the city would “continue to provide updates as appropriate.” 

The possible misuse of overtime, the scope of which has not yet been made clear, has brought on backlash from other city leaders in recent days.

Monday night, Walker caught the majority of the criticism from elected officials who were questioning why the spending was ever approved.

Walker did not identify Jarnagin as the officer placed on suspension in response to media request, but an email obtained from Walker to members of the police department said Capt. Adam Dustman will be taking over as the acting interim chief. 

The city is currently hiring an outside firm to investigate the circumstances that allowed an officer to lay claim to what seems to be the highest annual pay given to any person in city government in the year 2021. The issue had been brought to city leaders’ attention by a whistleblower while employee W2s were being distributed this year.

“I think at best we’ve got gross misconduct and very poor judgement from management within the police department and at worst we may have fraudulent activity,” Walker noted regarding the situation.




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