OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A Johnson County judge ordered the public release of a severance agreement involving an Overland Park Police officer who shot and killed an Overland Park teen.
The district attorney found Officer Clayton Jenison justified in his use of force three years ago but he later resigned.
Sheila Albers, the teen’s mother, said she’s glad the judge ordered the release of the agreement.
While Albers believes this is an important development in transparency, the city said it was the best they could do under the circumstances.
“I feel his absence all the time, but I also do the work in his honor,” Albers said.
Jenison killed her son, John Albers, as the teen backed out of his garage. Police were at the Overland Park home after his friends reported he was threatening to hurt himself on social media.
“There was nothing ordinary about his resignation. There was nothing voluntary. It’s deception, and it’s to sweep the problem under the rug and basically make Jettison somebody else’s problem,” Albers said.
The severance agreement released by a judge lays out how Jenison left the force by resigning.
In a separate statement accompanying the agreement, the city said it approached officer Jenison to suggest a resignation. Then the city and his lawyer worked on an agreement. Part of the agreement required the police department to report to the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training that Jenison resigned under “ordinary circumstances.”
“We know there was nothing voluntary about his resignation, so it jumped out to me as a bald-faced lie, and it was a way to allow Jettison to keep his peace officer license,” Albers said.
In the supporting documents, Overland Park said it had no choice.
“The only way to guarantee that Officer Jenison did not remain an Overland Park police officer was for him to resign,” the city said.
The city said it had no grounds to fire Jenison after an internal affairs review found he violated no policies, and an independent investigation led to no criminal charges. The city believes it would have faced a lawsuit, costing taxpayers more than the $70,000 deal they made with Jenison.
“The hope is by holding government accountable, we would minimize the chances of this tragedy ever happening again. God forbid, it does happen again, we as a community would handle it differently,” Albers said.
Albers said their family did finalize a lawsuit with the city; however, she refused a confidentiality agreement.
In a statement released to FOX4, Overland Park’s mayor said the city believed the agreement was exempt from the state’s open records act because it was involved in a personnel matter. Mayor Carl Gerlach said Jenison’s departure was properly reported to KSCPOST. In fact, he said it was the only way it could be reported.
“No court finding, or release will bring John Albers back, and my heart goes out to the Albers family. It is my hope that, with this decision and release, we’ve taken another important step toward healing and moving forward as a community.” Gerlach said.