Crime

Kansas officers accused of violence against women among those to have licenses revoked

KCK police officer committed sexual battery against a co-worker, prosecutor says

Steven Rios, a Kansas City, Kan., police officer has been charged with sexual battery against a co-worker. He allegedly committed the crime while on duty, said Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree during a press conference Tuesday.
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Steven Rios, a Kansas City, Kan., police officer has been charged with sexual battery against a co-worker. He allegedly committed the crime while on duty, said Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree during a press conference Tuesday.

Sixteen Kansas police officers lost their peace officer certification in July and August, at least a third of them were accused of violence against women or sex crimes, according to news reports.

Among the officers who lost their licenses were Steven Rios, a Kansas City, Kansas police officer who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery after he was accused of sexually assaulting a cadet and Eliasa Tunai who was sentenced to a year of probation after pleading guilty to domestic battery.

Gary Steed, director of the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, said each case is “fact specific” and that the commission is not focusing on any specific category of offense in their investigations.

He said he couldn’t speak to the frequency of domestic and sexual violence and misconduct cases that come before CPOST.

According to another listing of cases reviewed by the board, which posted in May, seven of 35 cases involved violence against women or sexual misconduct. This listing provides details of investigations but does not give names of officers or departments.

Officers can be disciplined for a variety of reasons, according to Kansas law, including submitting false documentation, use of biased-based policing, unprofessional conduct, failure to complete continuing education, and engaging in conduct that constitutes a felony crime or one that reflects on the officers’ integrity or competence.

Seventeen officers have faced disciplinary action by the commission since July. Thirteen were disciplined in the same period last year.

Steed, however, said it is difficult to say whether the number of officers disciplined over the summer is significant.

Timing of meetings for the commission’s investigative committee, waiting times before actions are announced and investigations that can take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years, he said, means it’s better to look at averages over a period of time then specific months.

Steed said the commission gets its cases from media reports, referrals from the Attorney General’s office, individual complaints and status change reports from police departments showing that an officer has left the department for a reason.

The commission, Steed said, has seen a notable increase in the number of status change forms they’ve received this year even though fewer investigations have been conducted.

Officers in the Kansas City area who lost their certification over the summer include:

Mario Godinez of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. Godinez was convicted of aggravated battery in May.

Eliasa Tanui of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

Sugatee Anglin of the Lawrence Police Department. Anglin was charged with domestic battery last year.

John Warczakoski of the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office. Warczakoski was charged with sexual battery last year after he was accused of assaulting a female deputy.

Steven Rios of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department.

Chad Mirr of the Prairie Village Police Department.

Eric Yahn of the Olathe Police Department.

This list includes officers disciplined in Wyandotte, Johnson and Douglas County, a full list is available on the commission’s website.

Details on the conduct that lead to Mirr and Yahn’s revocation was not immediately available. The Star has requested the summary order of revocation for each officer.

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Katie Bernard covers Kansas crime, cops and courts for the Kansas City Star. She joined the Star in May of 2019. Katie studied journalism and political science at the University of Kansas.
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