Friday, April 19, 2013

Remembering the Way a Tough Cop Helped Make Kansas Speedway Safer (

Kansas Speedway (Getty Photos)

BY JERRY BONKOWSKI (Featured Columnist)

Kansas Speedway will be one of the safest venues in the U.S. this weekend, and it won’t be just because of the tragic Boston Marathon bombings on Monday.

While there may be a slight upgrade because of what happened in Boston, a large law enforcement presence involving a number of local, state and federal agencies and a high level of safety has been paramount at Kansas since Oct. 1, 2006.

It was on that day, about two hours after Tony Stewart won the Banquet 400, that several unthinkable events came together to shake NASCAR, the larger sports world and Kansas and Missouri law enforcement to their core.

Kansas City (Ks.) police officer Susan Brown was working a special security detail, just trying to make a few extra bucks to help support her family, deep within the bowels of the race track. She was guarding roughly $1 million in cash in the track’s vault room, proceeds taken in from the day from concession stand and souvenir stand sale.

Susan Brown
What should have been a routine day turned into life-changing day for Brown, a well-respected veteran detective of the KCKPD. As the door to the vault room was closing after yet another dropoff of the days receipts, two masked men burst in and shot Brown several times—at point-blank range, leaving her for dead.

Brown was able to shepherd several track workers into the vault while exchanging fire with the robbers. Even as several bullets tore through her frame, Brown was more concerned at making sure the employees were safe than worrying about her own safety and well being.

The men, who it would later be learned once worked as volunteers at the track, tried to get to the cash but Brown’s return fire caused them to make a quick exit and leave the vault empty-handed. But not before they had shot Brown six times in her face, chest, arm and leg, leaving her to die.

"There were many, many shots fired," KCK police captain James Brown said at the time. "It's pretty bold for anyone to walk up to an officer in any community and shoot 'em down in cold blood like that."

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