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BTK investigator is honored once again

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, March 14, 2007, at 8:24 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at 4:43 p.m.

It's turning out to be a year of awards for the man who led the successful BTK serial murder investigation over the past year.

Wichita police Lt. Ken Landwehr, who last week was named Officer of the Year by the Wichita Police Department, on Wednesday night was named Criminal Justice Professional of the Year by the Wichita Crime Commission.

The recognition came during the group's annual awards dinner at the Hilton Wichita Airport.

Landwehr thanked all the law enforcement agencies and officers who assisted on the case. "I can't tell you how much work they did," he said.

"I get a lot of credit for everybody else's work."

Landwehr, the longtime head of the homicide unit, oversaw the investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of Dennis Rader this year. Rader murdered 10 people in and around Wichita from 1974 to 1991.

Landwehr led an interagency task force that arrested Rader in February in Park City.

Over the years, Landwehr had become the police department's expert on the case. He first started investigating it in 1984.

In presenting the award, the crime commission said: "He always handled every detail professionally."

During the investigation, Landwehr was the one investigator designated to communicate with the killer.

When BTK sent taunting letters, it was Landwehr who went before cameras and read messages designed to keep the killer communicating in the hope the killer would make a mistake. The strategy worked.

The Crime Commission also presented awards to:

• Karen Raines, who supervises police school programs for Wichita public schools. She has led safety and crime prevention efforts for students, parents, police and school personnel. She was named the Willard Garvey Citizen Crime Prevention Activist.

• Sedgwick County sheriff's Deputy Shea Carpenter. She has led a number of community policing efforts. She received the Willard Garvey Law Enforcement Officer Crime Prevention Excellence Award.

• Cole Manes, a Eureka High School sophomore. On Aug 7 near Goddard, the 15-year-old rescued his 7-year-old sister from a vicious attack by two pit bulls. He received the sheriff's Silver Medal of Valor.

• Sedgwick County sheriff's Deputy Jonathan Gill. In the past nine months, his initiative led to the arrests of a number of suspects, the recovery of stolen property and the seizure of drug contraband. He was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

• David Haglund, vice chairman of Wichita/Sedgwick County Crime Stoppers and a longtime commission member. He received the Twelve Apostles of Justice Award.

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