Police chief resigns with charges looming from Kansas home search

Local

HERINGTON, Kan. (KSNT) – A Kansas town’s police chief and assistant police chief are both facing charges after the Kansas Bureau of Investigation looked into their recent forced entry into a local home, and one of them has now resigned.

John Matula (Courtesy Photo/Herington Police Department)

Herington Police Department Chief John V. Matula, 36, faces charges of criminal damage to property and criminal trespass. Assistant Police Chief Curtis M. Tyra, 43, also faces a charge of criminal trespass, according to the KBI. The two are facing misdemeanor charges, meaning they were not arrested but were each served a summons to court.

The City of Herington confirmed Friday that Matula resigned after getting his summons to court, and the city is “working internally” on Tyra. Matula and the assistant police chief’s charges stem from the two not having a search warrant before they forced their way into an area home and searched it on May 18, according to the KBI.

“Since this was a code enforcement issue at first, which led to police involvement, we just want to make sure all of our police officers understand what they are getting into when it’s property maintenance issues,” said Herington City Manager Branden Dross. “I think we have a great community, I think our police force is great, unfortunately, we’ve had some recent movement the last couple years with the chief of police.”

The Herington Police Department was at the center of national controversy previously in December 2019. An HPD officer ordered coffee at a Junction City McDonald’s, and the department later accused a store employee of writing “f***ing pig” on the officer’s cup. After the McDonald’s owner presented video showing none of their employees wrote on the cup, the officer admitted he made up the incident and resigned from the department.

The KBI said the investigation into the Matula-Tyra case is ongoing, and James Brun, an Overland Park attorney, will serve as a special prosecutor in the case. Dross said the city will announce an interim chief of police soon, who will serve until someone permanent is chosen.

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