February 12, 2016

Gardner welcomes new police chief

Danedri Thompson


There’s a new chief in town, or at least there will be one soon.

Gardner City Council members approved the hiring Gerald C. Cullumber as chief of police at a June 17 council meeting.

Cullumber will replace Ken Francis, who died last August.

Cullumber has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience. He began his career with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office in 1979. From 1987 to 2010, he worked for the Lenexa Police Department.

Council Larry Fotovich expressed concerns that a panel of outside consultants that assisted in the hiring process included law enforcement staff from the Lenexa department and from the sheriff’s office.

“I guess I’m questioning the validity of the search,” Fotovich said.

He also inquired about the use of outside assistance in a city search. He noted that consultants weren’t used when the city hired other director level employees, including the recent hiring of Mike Hall as community development director.

City administrator Cheryl Harrison-Lee said the city used best practices of a city manager’s association to draft the police chief hiring process.

City managers don’t typically hire chiefs of police, she explained, because police chiefs tend to serve for long periods of time. For example, former Chief Francis served as Gardner’s police chief for 25 years until his death 10 months ago.

Other communities have hired consulting firms that cost between $25,000 and $50,000 to assist in hiring a new police chief. Harrison-Lee said Johnson County area law enforcement assisted the city of Gardner for free.

Cullumber most recently served as the assistant chief of police for the city of Edwardsville, Kan., population 4,500. He left that job in June of 2012 and has worked as an adjunct professor at Baker University in the meantime.


  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Why did this person leave his law enforcement position in 2012? What positions in law enforcement has he held and what were the responsibilities of each position? Is Cullumber required to be a Gardner, Ks. resident? Where does Mr. Cullumber presently live? What educational background does Mr. Cullumber have?

    These are all questions that would be asked of Mr. Cullumber and I believe the citizens, who are paying his salary, should have answers to these questions.

  2. StatusQuo says:

    Judith – most all of these questions and others were asked by Larry. Gerald C. Cullumber’s address Info as provided on the the resume included with this appointment:

    1419 8th Street
    Baldwin City, KS

    The residency requirements for Gardner staff positions was removed from the city code at some point in time. Many decades ago, all city staff use to be required to reside within the city limits. The last version of the code provision before it was changed only required the City Administrator and Chief of Police to reside within the city limits.

    The motion approved by the council for this appointment was done incorrectly. The appointment of the Chief of Police per adopted city code should be a Mayor appointment, not a City Administrator appointment per the motion made, voted on and passed at the June 17th meeting.

    2.20.030 Appointment of the Chief of Police.
    Considering the recommendation of the City Administrator, the Mayor shall appoint, with the consent of the Governing Body, a Chief of Police. (Ord. 2413 passed Oct – 2012)

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    It was my understanding that the Police Chief had to reside within Gardner city limits and that is why I asked the question. When will he be required to move here?

    I have now received more information on Mr. Cullumber’s police experience. Myself I do question whether he has the experience I would like to see for a police chief. I also, just like Councilman Fotovich PERHAPS felt, that cronyism was involved in his appointment since Denning and the Lenexa Police Chief were involved in the hiring evaluation process. And again I would like to know the reason he left his employment with the Edwardsville police dept.

    Hope he serves the citizens well – time will tell. In the meantime, he better be getting with the Elwood, Ill. and Alliance, Tx. police chiefs since both of these locations have BNSF intermodals and he better be fully informed as to the fun that will be coming his way. Every time our country is put on a terrorist alert those intermodals/inland ports are immediately notified to step up the security. Just this past week I saw a program on TV where billions of dollars of drugs were found in containers – lots of lots of crime exposures coming your way and you should know who to thank for all that you will be living with in the coming years. I don’t know that handling warrants and being in charge of police patrols in Lenexa is going to cut the mustard with what lies ahead. One thing is for sure – the citizens are going to be paying up the gut for all of the mess you will be living with.

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    Here is an article that will tell you about some of what you will be dealing with 24/7 in this area. http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.jocolibrary.org/ehost/detail?vid=2&sid=491703ec-16ab-4361-89d4-c68ef622c2fe%40sessionmgr15&hid=18&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=f5h&AN=83191710

    Willow Springs does 500,000 lifts per year (you could have probably at least 3 times that number of trucks when you count the trucks coming and going from the warehouses). The intermodal here will be up to that number very, very quickly since several years ago BNSF told me they handled close to 400,000 lifts then down in Argentine and they are moving here to increase their capacity.

    I hope all citizens pick up the part of the article that says: “United Parcel accounts for 40 percent of the 500,000 lifts per year at Willow Springs. Now, during the UPS sunrise sort, you get your chance to see what goes on inside this humungous facility. In a few words, it is hot, muggy, noisy beyond imagination, and endless almost beyond understanding. Your guide, Tracy Koblich, says its outside circumference is 3.1 miles. Were you to stand the building on its end, she says, it would be twice the height of Willis Tower (formerly called Sears Tower), the tallest building in North America. Inside are 65 miles of conveyors and rollers that guide roughly 1.4 million packages a day to their designated outbound truck bay (for large parcels) or delivery sack (small parcels). Amazingly, once an arriving package is deposited on a belt, it takes as little as 10 minutes to go through the building to an outbound truck bay.”

    “hot, muggy, noisy beyond imagination, and endless almost beyond understanding.” Sound fun to you? Doesn’t to me.

    Get your ole wallet out because you are going to be paying thru the nose and every other orifice you have on your body while living in a hellhole. How often do you think you will be paying for roads, resurfacing them, maintaining them, etc., etc. and how your safety will be jeopardized by dealing with all of the trucks and trains. And just think your local worthless politicians are ready to make a another deal to bring all of this crap to you – right up your streets, highways, byways and beyond.

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