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June 2024 Newsletter

The Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. Eleventh St., was built in 1974 and the last addition was completed 24 years ago in 2000. The county is planning an approximately $74 million construction project that will improve operational efficiency and security for all users.

Community invited to Open House on July 1 to learn about Judicial & Law Enforcement Center project

Douglas County and Treanor will host an open house from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 1, about the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center (JLEC) renovation and addition project. The community event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a brief presentation on the second floor of the JLEC, 111 E. Eleventh St., in the Division 4 courtroom.

After the presentation, Douglas County and District Court staff along with Treanor representatives will be available to visit with the public and answer questions about the project. There will be renderings and models of the proposed project for the public to view.

The approximately $74 million project will:

  • Improve security by providing separate paths of travel for the public, people in custody and staff to meet best practices for modern courthouses.
  • Improve public access to court services such as the Clerk of the District Court and Douglas County Law Library by locating them closer to the main entry.
  • Enhance public safety by relocating emergency services to a storm-hardened structure.
  • Provide for future expansion of the courts system within the proposed footprint.

The building was constructed in 1974 and the last addition was completed 24 years ago in 2000. It houses the Seventh Judicial District, District Attorney’s Office, Emergency Communications, Emergency Management, Sheriff’s Office, Information Technology, and Building and Maintenance staff.

Courtesy of Treanor

A rendering of the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center addition.

Courtesy of Treanor

A model of the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center addition was shown during a Board of County Commissioners meeting in May.

Fireworks information for Douglas County

Fireworks can be legally discharged in the unincorporated areas of Douglas County if the property owner has given permission and provides supervision. Fireworks are allowed at the following times:

  • Monday, July 1 - 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 2 - 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 3 - 7 a.m. to midnight
  • Thursday, July 4 - 7 a.m. to midnight

Fireworks should not be discharged on a public street or roadway.

At Lone Star Lake, fireworks are allowed in the upper parking lot east of the campground during the above allowed times July 1-July 4. Fireworks are allowed on the point of land southwest of the maintenance buildings and also between the maintenance buildings and community building from 6 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. on July 4. Fireworks are permitted only in signed designated areas. Fireworks are not permitted on any other Lone Star Park lands, including the campground and beach areas. 

The Douglas County Zoning & Codes Department regulates the retail sale of fireworks at firework stands and issues permits for them. This year they issued 15 permits. Use and sale of fireworks is July 1-4.

The community is invited to attend the City of Lawrence’s “Summer Fest,” a free Independence Day event, on Wednesday, July 3, at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper Street. There will be a crafts festival from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Building 21. Food trucks, children’s activities and live music will begin at 4 p.m., followed by a Drone Show at 9:45 p.m. Viewing will be available from the derby arena. More info:

Douglas County government offices will be closed Thursday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. There will be no County Commission meeting on Wednesday, July 3.

Here’s information about fireworks regulations in Douglas County cities:

Douglas County encourages residents to be mindful about the possible dangers associated with fireworks. Here are some tips from the National Safety Council. We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!

About your Board of County Commissioners

Chair Karen Willey

Vice Chair Shannon Reid

Patrick Kelly

Douglas County Commission meetings are at 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Public Works/Zoning and Codes Building, 3755 E. 25th St, in the training room. Meetings are also available on Zoom. Commission meetings are taking place in the Public Works/Zoning and Codes Building due to renovation of the Commission meeting room in the historic Courthouse.

County Commissioners took the following action on regular business agenda items in June. They unanimously approved:

  • redirecting up to $27,500 in existing funds from HeadQuarters Kansas to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health to offset the position costs of a Zero Suicide Coordinator in 2024.
  • a revised Lived Experience Compensation policy.
  • new bylaws for the Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
  • redirecting mobile response deployment from HeadQuarters Kansas to the Douglas County Emergency Communications Center.
  • redirecting up to $45,00 from existing funds in the Douglas County Crisis Line budget to purchase communication and geolocation tools for mobile response.
  • a contract with BG Consultants Inc. for engineering services at a not-to-exceed cost of $91,652 for the Wakarusa Drive extension project.

** Recordings of the meetings can be found on the Douglas County YouTube channel.

* Note: There will be no County Commission meeting on Wednesday, July 3.

Hearings about the proposed 2025 County budget are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Monday, July 8.

Commission meeting information and agendas

Photo courtesy of Jeff Burkhead/Bert Nash Center

Jeremy, a Behavioral Health Court graduate, is pictured with his mom. They are grateful for Douglas County's specialty court program and described it as life-changing.

Behavioral Health Court graduate grateful for second chance

Jeremy had his 25th birthday in March. He had a lot to celebrate.

One month earlier, Jeremy had graduated from the Douglas County Behavioral Health Court. The court was established to address the needs of defendants with serious mental illness more effectively, connecting them with community support services. 

Jeremy was charged with second-degree attempted murder after driving a car into Lone Star Lake in February 2021. His mom was a passenger in the car.

“I was struggling with my mental health, and I didn’t know how to handle it,” Jeremy said. “My mom took the full force of what I was going through. That led me to getting arrested and going through the process.”

The process included considerable jail time and being admitted to Larned State Hospital. Jeremy was a patient at the state hospital for about three months.

While there, he had a turning point.

To hear Jeremy’s mom and others talk about the impact of Douglas County's specialty court programs, watch this video.

The Douglas County Elections Office is located at 711 W. 23rd St., Suite 1. It's in the shopping center at the southwest corner of 23rd and Louisiana streets.

Deadline to register to vote in primary is July 16

The primary election will be Tuesday, Aug. 6. The ballot will include nominations for federal, state and local positions.

Key dates to know:

  • July 16 - Last day to register to vote or update your voter registration information for the primary.
  • July 17 – First day of in-person advance voting. Advance ballots are mailed.
  • July 30 – Last day to apply for an advance voting mail ballot.
  • Aug. 5 – In-person advance voting ends at noon.
  • Aug. 6 - Polling locations open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. All advance ballots by mail must be postmarked by Election Day and received by Friday, Aug. 9.

Sheriff Armbrister recently met with residents at Pioneer Ridge Assisted Living to talk about online and phone scams and cybercrimes. He is scheduled to speak July 18 at Lawrence Public Library.

Sheriff to speak July 18 at Lawrence Public Library about how to avoid scams, cybercrimes

Sheriff Jay Armbrister in recent months has spoken at several senior living communities in Douglas County to spread awareness about online and phone scams and cybercrimes. He is scheduled to give a presentation at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, July 18, at the Lawrence Public Library Auditorium, 707 Vermont St. To reserve a seat, visit the library's webpage.

Any senior living community that would like to request a presentation can contact the Sheriff’s Office at 785-841-0007 or email

"We want to get the word out to everyone in Douglas County, especially the senior population who are so often targets of scams," Armbrister said. "It's important to be skeptical of any emails, texts or calls you receive because scam artists are so sophisticated. There is no harm in hanging up on someone and calling the Sheriff's Office, your bank or another organization at its verified phone number to make sure everything is legit. We would advise people also to not answer any phone number they don't recognize."

On June 7, Douglas County District Court published a warning about a potential phone scam where the caller claims to be District Court and then says the person needs to pay a fine or they will be arrested because they missed jury duty. Douglas County District Court will never seek payment or have someone arrested for missing jury duty.

Sheriff's Office offers tips for summer safety

The arrival of summer brings the opportunity for outdoor activities and travel.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office offers the following tips:

  • Heat in car – Make sure children and pets are not left unattended in vehicles. Don’t leave them in your vehicle and keep vehicles locked and store your keys and fobs out of reach. This National Highway Transportation Safety Association video shows how quickly a vehicle heats up.
  • Life jackets – Wear your life jackets on the water. Lt. Deb Porter of the Douglas County Underwater Search and Recovery Team shows how to properly fit a life jacket for kids.
  • Outdoor tips – Stay hydrated and weather aware. Wear safety equipment, including helmets on vehicles. Know your surroundings and location in case you need help. Have your phone with you and keep it dry.

District Court's Legal Self-Help Office offers assistance at Lawrence Public Library on Tuesdays

The Douglas County District Court Legal Self-Help Office offers its services at Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St., on Tuesdays, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Legal Self-Help Office can assist residents with finding legal forms as well as providing information about court processes and available resources.

Legal Self-Help Director Brandy Nichols-Brajkovic hopes to reach more people by partnering with the library and offering services after business hours. “Access to the justice system is essential for a thriving community,” Nichols-Brajkovic said. “We’re excited to expand our reach beyond traditional courthouse hours and locations, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to participate in the justice system and be heard.”

Assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis for those needing assistance with civil legal issues. There is no cost. During the meetings, staff can offer help with:

  • Answering questions about legal information and processes
  • Family law and/or eviction education and resources
  • Technical assistance with finding legal forms
  • Resources and information to guide you through a court case

The Legal Self-Help Office opened in May 2023, and it is located on the first floor of the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. Eleventh Street. The office is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. The program is funded by Douglas County.

For more information, visit:

Residents have more options for open burn logging and burn ban notifications

As a part of the ongoing effort to increase the safety of open burning in the unincorporated area, Douglas County has increased the options for residents to log their burns and receive burn ban notifications.

A new form is available to log the start and completion of an approved burn online in addition to the option of logging a burn by calling the burn hotline (785-832-5394). The online form requires a valid address in the unincorporated area of Douglas County. The form will display as “closed” when there is a burn ban.


Both methods require the following information:

  • Location of the burn
  • Name, address and telephone number of the individual responsible
  • Duration and schedule of the burning
  • Description of the proposed burn (size/acreage, material and reason for burn)

A new subscription is available for individuals who want to receive a notification when a burn ban is issued in addition to calling the burn hotline. Individuals who receive weather alerts through the Northeast Kansas Notification System (Everbridge) can log in to their account and add Douglas County Burn Ban Notifications to their subscriptions. To create an account, visit

The Open Burning resolution requires open burning to be reported to the Douglas County Dispatch Center except for those defined as recreational burning. Recreational burning is allowed during a burn ban and never needs to be registered.

Open Burning Regulations Safety

Our website is now located at

We’ve completed our transition to DOTGOV!

Our website is and Douglas County employee email addresses have been converted to DOTGOV improves security, and it helps users identify us as an official government entity.

Special thanks to our IT Department staff for their work in migrating our services to the new domain.

Judicial and Law Enforcement Center:

111 East 11th Street

Lawrence, KS 66044

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