Taylor Looks Ahead to Taking Shawnee Co. DA Post

Two months of hiring a staff and holding meetings is about to pay off for Chad Taylor. He takes office Monday as Shawnee County District Attorney.

Taylor says "it's been hectic" since election night back in November. He says he's spent the most time putting together a staff. He says everyone from current DA Robert Hecht's staff was invited to reinterview. He estimates he's kept about 60-percent of those employees. He says several people opted to pursue other opportunities.

Taylor says he had said during the campaign that he didn't have all the answers himself and he'd hire people who did. He says he believes he has a good group of prosecutors who will serve the community well.

In addition to hiring a staff, Taylor has also been working to make good on his campaign promises. He's met with Topeka Police and Shawnee County Sheriff's officials, discussing ways to improve communication between law enforcement and the DA's office. Taylor says they're establishing protocols so prosecutors know what to expect from law enforcement and what law enforcement can expect from the district attorney.

Those meetings included fire officials, who informed Taylor of the millions of dollars lost to arson fires. That led him to expand what was to be a gang and drug task force to include arson. He says the task force will have prosecutors who'll be available around the clock to law enforcement, helping them build a case at the scene, get search warrants, then carry it through the judicial system - hopefully ending with a convction.

Two high-profile cases from the Hecht administration await Taylor - a lawsuit against the city over authorizing police helicopter and human resource software purchases, and criminal charges against TPD officer Jason Judd involved in an off-duty shooting.

Taylor says he hasn't seen those case files yet - it was determined he wouldn't have access until after his administration began, However, he says the city case won't proceed until a judge rules on a summary judgement motion , and the Judd case is set for preliminary hearing in March. Taylor says the same assistant DA who was handling it before will continue handling it as it moves forward.