Former Lawrence Police Officer Arrested


DOUGLAS COUNTY – Today, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) arrested a man who was formerly an officer of the Lawrence Police Department.

On Nov. 1, 2021, the Lawrence Police Department requested KBI assistance after they received a report that day from a female subject alleging that one of their officers, Jonathan, M. Gardner, 41, of Tonganoxie, had sexually assaulted her while he was on duty. The crime is suspected to have occurred on Jan. 1, 2017.

KBI agents initiated an investigation. The Lawrence Police Department cooperated fully with the case. Soon after Gardner was separated from employment with the Police Department.

On Friday, March 4, at approximately 8:15 a.m., KBI agents arrested Gardner near the intersection of Smiley Rd. and Highway 40. The Kansas Highway Patrol assisted with the arrest.

Gardner was arrested for one count of rape, 12 counts of unlawful acts concerning computers, and 12 counts of official misconduct. The charges of official misconduct and unlawful acts with computers claim Gardner committed illegal and unauthorized searches of the Kansas Criminal Justice Information System (KCJIS), as well as internal police department public safety systems between 2017 and 2020.

After his arrest, Gardner was booked into the Leavenworth County Jail. He was issued a $50,000 bond.

The investigation is ongoing. The Douglas County Attorney is expected to prosecute the case.

Nothing further will be released at this time.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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