Former Lawrence police officer’s certification revoked after charge of official misconduct

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A former Lawrence police officer has lost his law enforcement certification after he accessed criminal history information for his own gain, according to official documents.

The Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training issued a summary order of revocation for David Shane Williams on Oct. 24, and it became final Tuesday.

Williams, 35, was accused of using his police officer credentials to seek out information about the driving records of the mother of his child amid a custody case.

“Respondent willfully disclosed criminal history record information or other information designated as confidential by statute or regulation,” the order from KSCPOST states. “His disclosure was not related to a legitimate law enforcement purpose, but for his own gain in a custody matter and to potentially cause harm to” the woman.

The allegation resulted in a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct and a felony charge of unlawful acts concerning computers, filed in January. The complaint, filed by then-Assistant Douglas County District Attorney Nick Vrana, alleged that Williams “did … exceed the limits of authorization and damage, modify, alter, destroy, copy, disclose or take possession of a computer, computer system, computer network or any other property.”

A separate case had been filed against Williams in December 2019, but his attorney, Michael Riling, wrote in a motion to continue a jury trial that his client intended to challenge the official misconduct statute “because the phrase ‘confidential information’ is defined only by reference to the Kansas Open Records Act. That definition is vague and arbitrary for the purposes of a criminal statute.” The next day, Vrana filed a motion to dismiss the case “out of necessity,” and the judge granted it.

In the new case — though Riling again filed a motion to declare the statute (K.S.A. 21-6002(a)(3)) unconstitutional — online court records indicate that Williams entered into a diversion agreement with the DA’s office in October. He can avoid a conviction if he successfully completes his diversion requirements.

However, KSCPOST revoked Williams’ certification based on law enforcement conduct standards in state statutes and administrative regulations — and regardless of whether the conduct resulted in a conviction, according to the order.

“Respondent’s conduct constitutes a misdemeanor crime that the Commission determines reflects on the honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, or competence of the applicant as defined by rules and regulations of the Commission,” the document states. “Respondent’s conduct constitutes official misconduct.”

Williams was a patrol officer for the Lawrence Police Department from June 2015 through December 2019, when the first criminal case was filed, department records show.

Riling did not respond to an email seeking comment from him or Williams Tuesday afternoon, nor did Laura McCabe, a spokesperson for LPD.

According to online records dating back to 1998, Williams is the 10th Lawrence police officer to lose his certification for non-medical reasons.

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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