Frequently Asked Questions
How do I report a crime?
To report a crime, vehicle accident, or suspicious activity call 9-1-1. Be prepared to give a brief description of what has occurred, location, your name, phone number, and other details. Calls of this nature made to the Police Department are connected to the 9-1-1 Center. You can save time by calling 9-1-1 first. Such reports can also be made in person at the Police department during regular business hours.
What do I do if I get stopped by a police officer?
If stopped by an Officer in your vehicle do not make any sudden maneuvers with your vehicle. Slow down and stop as far out of the traffic lane as possible. Do not make any sudden moves inside the vehicle. Keep your hands in view and be prepared to provide your driver’s license, registration, and insurance card upon request. The less time you spend engaged with the Officer the faster you will be on your way.
What do I do during stormy weather?
During stormy weather, the emergency accident reporting procedure is in effect. Parties can exchange information and report the accident at a later date. If injuries or alcohol are involved call 9-1-1 and an Officer will be dispatched. When you hear the storm sirens please take shelter immediately. Do not go outside to see the storm. The sirens are only activated when dangerous weather is in the immediate area.
Why does Great Bend have a Sheriff's Office and a Police Department?
Most states (including Kansas) divide themselves into counties. They do this because the state government knows it can't run everything from Topeka. Counties are the "arm of the state". Each county is required by the state to fulfill certain necessary functions. They have to run a courthouse, maintain records, collect taxes, prosecute violations of state law, house prisoners in a jail, provide basic roads and bridges, record deeds, and other basic government functions.
When a certain area of the county becomes especially populated, the people in that area sometimes decide they want extra services, in addition to what the county is providing them. That's when a city gets formed. Cities provide services above and beyond what the county provides. These services may include more sidewalks, more parks, better streetlights, and sometimes extra law enforcement patrol.
That's what a Police Department is typically for. The Barton County Sheriff's Office is an agency required to exist as part of the system set up by the state, and they perform a wide range of functions. Although some of their manpower is dedicated to patrolling the streets of Barton County, they also have to run the jail, transport prisoners, and perform various judicial functions like serving court papers.
In addition to doing all of the above functions, the dedicated deputies at the Barton County Sheriff's Office have a vast area of land to patrol (about 900 square miles). At some point, the citizens of Great Bend decided that they wanted more law enforcement coverage in their particular part of the county (which is now only about 10 square miles of that massive county). That's why the Great Bend Police Department exists.
The Sheriff's Office does have jurisdiction in Great Bend, and their duties sometimes overlap with those of the Police Department. However, these two agencies have very different functions and are not simply copies of one another.
Do the 911 Dispatchers work for the Police Department?
The dispatchers who answer the phone when you call for police assistance work for a totally separate entity.
Dispatch is a county department, headed by a Director who answers to the County Commission. This department acts as a central information hub for all public safety communications needs in Barton County. After they receive a call for service, they determine the appropriate agency to route that call to. In addition to dispatching for all local law enforcement agencies, they also provide these services to local Fire and EMS Departments.
Where can I find out about the laws in Great Bend?
The City Police Department chiefly enforces Kansas State Statutes and Great Bend City Ordinances. State Statutes are laws that are passed by the state legislature. They typically include all of the different crimes one might think of, such as murder and aggravated battery. You can view Kansas's statutes at kansasstatutes.lesterama.org or various other places on the internet.
In addition to state statutes, the Great Bend Police Department also enforces city ordinances. Ordinances are laws passed by a city. They typically include misdemeanor (less serious) crimes such as simple battery and traffic offenses. Ordinances also include city specific laws such as "no bicycles allowed on the sidewalks of Main Street" type laws. You can view Great Bend's City ordinances at http://municipalcodes.lexisnexis.com/codes/greatbend/