TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawnee County prosecutors could soon turn up the heat on cold cases.
At their meeting Monday morning, Shawnee County Commissioners approved a request from District Attorney Chad Taylor for $75,000. It would fund a new Cold Case Homicide Unit for his office through the end of the year.
Taylor says Topeka and Shawnee County have about 69 unsolved homicide cases. He hopes the unit could help bring those responsible to justice.
Taylor also requested that, for the fiscal years moving forward, the minimum commitment be $150,000.
Taylor says the crime pattern in Shawnee County has changed. For example, he says his office is currently handling two death penalty cases.
Current Crime Stoppers program coordinator for the Topeka Police Dept. Doug Searcy says it's time to get the ball rolling on trying to solve these older cases.
"We need to not wait because, with all cases, the older they get, the more difficult they get to prosecute," Searcy said. "There's no better time than the present to take active consideration to make this happen."
The commission approved the $75,000 on a 2 to 1 vote. Commissioner Bob Archer dissented, saying he felt it more appropriate to consider the request during the regular budget process for 2014, rather than mid-year.
Commissioners will look at the $150,000 request for 2014 during upcoming budget discussions.