Chief Explains Administrative Review Of TPD Officer Killings

Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Topeka Police Department hopes to learn from what unfolded the night two Topeka Police officers were killed.

With the incident investigation complete, Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller says an administrative review is underway.

Miller says it is impossible to predict everything that might happen, but, if it does, lessons from December 16th could help authorities better respond.

December 16, 2012, was the night officer Jeff Atherly, Corporal David Gogian and a third officer went to the Dillons store parking lot at Huntoon and Lane to check a suspicious vehicle. Within seconds of them approaching a vehicle, a man identified as David Tiscareno got out of the back seat and opened fire. Gogian and Atherly were killed.

Tiscareno was killed the next morning, following a standoff with authorities.

The Shawnee County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney's Office completed their review of the incident in early May. It found the two Topeka Police officers and the KBI agents who fired shots at Tiscareno during the course of the night and morning acted lawfully.

Miller's administrative review looks at other questions. He says they'll take a critical review of the how the incident unfolded, from how the call came in, to how the officers arrived at the positions they were in, to how additional supervisors and crews were called in and notified, what to do when the incident involves searches at multiple locations and just what policies and procedures are in place for these scenerios.

Miller says there is no presumption anyone did anything wrong - and it might be nothing could prepare officers for such an encounter. But, if there is a gap, Miller says, he owes it to the families, the officers and the community to find it.

Miller says "action beats reaction," so officials must identify how to develop training guides and protocols to teach how to anticipate potential actions.

"Life is precious and these officers are our most valuable commodity," he said "We need to take care of them."

Miller says the findings of the administrative review could be helpful in the event of any large-scale incident involving multiple agencies, such as a natural disaster like a tornado.