KCPD’s “secret weapon” retires after helping crack countless cases

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City has seen it's fair share of high-profile crime stories over the past 30 years. Everything from serial killers to crimes that made you cringe. Many of the suspects were caught and convicted.

What you didn't know is that there was a common denominator, a civilian employee with the police department who retired on Friday.

For 34 years, Sandy Lentz walked into police headquarters with one goal: help detectives find the worst of the worst and anyone else they were looking for. For decades she was the go-to-gal. She got little to no public recognition - until Friday.

"I said, 'oh, absolutely I will be there, I'd be honored to be there and honor the woman who worked so tirelessly behind the scenes to bring my mothers killer to justice,'" explained Latricia Davis-Smith.

Davis-Smith said she had to be at Lentz's retirement ceremony. Her mother was one of serial killer Terry Blair's victims.

"It made me feel wonderful to know that this room full of prosecutors, officers, detectives, so highly spoke so highly of her and the work that she's done," Davis-Smith said.

Lentz worked in the PIC, Perpetrator Information Center for three decades. There wasn't one tough, tedious or high-profile case detectives didn't come to her for help with. It started with Bob Berdella, and over the years the list grew to included Lorenzo Gilyard and the Waldo rapist, Bernard Jackson.

She worked the Precious Doe case, Terry Blair and in 2013 on Derek Richardson, a man police were convinced was a potential serial killer. Each one she dug her heels into until, it was solved.

"I took their cases as personal as they did," said Lentz.

The case that affected her the most. March 22, 1989. Fifteen-year-old Ann Harrison was kidnapped, raped and murdered.

She was found in the trunk of a car. Lentz said she often got invested in cases for the victims' families. One after another, colleagues sang Sandy's praises with words like "irreplaceable," "tenacious," and "secret weapon."

"I don't know if I would ever say those things about myself, I just know I loved coming to work every day and I just worked until I got what they needed, and sometimes it was quite a challenge," said Lentz.

It's those challenges she thrived on. Detectives knew it and did everything to get her involved in a case, whether her supervisor knew it or not. She didn't say no or not now, she said okay.

Sooner than later, the case would be solved.

But after 34 years of service, it was two words at this retirement ceremony Lentz said meant the most, "thank you" from Davis-Smith.

"Just getting the thank you, just to know I helped bring that family to some closure, that was probably the most memorable things about today for me," said Lentz.

Lentz says it's time to stop chasing the bad guys and start chasing her grandkids. She also wants to travel and volunteer.
And yes, there are a couple of cases she still wants to see closed, so she will definitely keep in touch with her friends and now former colleagues.



More News