TOPEKA (WIBW) -- As a collegiate kicker at Harding College in Searcy, Arkansas, Steve Block figured out he wanted some sort of career in the law. Studying political science, he learned that law enforcement would eventually be his goal. Sgt. Steve Block of TPD didn't have to give up on either one of his interests. Over this past football season, Sgt. Block worked with the Shawnee Heights T-Bird kickers on the special foot skills associated with football.
"There's such a dearth of place kicking knowledge, about punting and place-kicking and long snapping, and I kind of have that unique skill set, so Jason Swift was nice enough to kind of let me take a swing and assist there," he told Ralph Hipp.
Four of his pupils are now kicking in the college ranks.
"I've got one in Emporia, I've got one at Butler, I've got one at William Jewell College, and then another one down in Coffeyville."
While he's helped them and dozens more put their best foot forward, it's the new assignments with Topeka Police's Organized Crime and Gang Unit, that may give him an opportunity to help some of Topeka's teens stay on the right side of the law.
"I had this opportunity when it opened up, as a Sergeant, when it became available I put in for it. And I know the critical work they do, and so I jumped at the opportunity to become a Sergeant in the gang unit, also take care of organized crime. It might be anything from prostitution to human trafficking.."
Mostly with the Gang unit, there will be high expectations to find who's committing the crimes, work with Federal authorities, and steer Topeka clear from its record 29 homicides this year.
'The workload will be busy, busy, It's a task for us to try to slow this, stem that tide, to identify those individuals and to help the detectives in any way we can, when it comes to homicides that involve gang members," he told us in our interview from the Law Enforcement Center.
And it was the September 7, 2014 shooting death of his colleague and close friends, Corporal Jason Harword, that created a new interest for Sgt. Block. He chose to play Tenor Drum in the TPD Pipe and Drum Corps, which helps him be a part of memorials for his friend here and in Washington, and to honor fallen officers around the nation.
"But it's been a fantastic experience, it's allowed us to go to Washington DC for police week, it's allowed us to be involved in the local memorials here, and to kind of honor the sacrifices our officers have made in the line of duty."
Both the Gang Unit and the Bagpipe and Drum Corps were programs created by then Police Chief James Brown.. programs will continue for years here, under the direction of a new Police Chief.
And we still hope to see Coach Block out on the practice field again next season, too.