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Around a dozen people turn out for Thursday’s police-community relations meeting

About a dozen people were in the audience for Thursday afternoon's Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships meeting at the Holliday Building, 620 S.E. Madison. Members of the Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships group who spoke were, from left, Danielle Twemlow, Kenneth Nichols, Chrissy Russell and Taylor Schley.
About a dozen people were in the audience for Thursday afternoon's Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships meeting at the Holliday Building, 620 S.E. Madison. Members of the Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships group who spoke were, from left, Danielle Twemlow, Kenneth Nichols, Chrissy Russell and Taylor Schley.(Phil Anderson)
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 3:09 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - About a dozen people were in the audience Thursday afternoon for the second of two meetings that took a look at strengthening police and community relations in Topeka.

The meeting, which began at noon, was held at the city’s Holliday Building, 620 S.E. Madison.  

Both Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon’s meetings were sponsored by the Topeka Police Department and included presentations from members of the Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships, an organization sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice designed to engage law enforcement and community leaders to address issues and solve problems together.

The Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships program came to Topeka in June 2018.

The meetings were designed to give local residents a chance to voice their concerns and ask questions about police and community relations. 

"It was great, getting everybody's input," said Kenneth Nichols, of Topeka, a member of the Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships group. "We learned a lot about things that we didn't know."

Scheduled topics focused on the Topeka Police Department and included: accreditation; defunding and demilitarization; training; and strengthening of police and community partnerships.

Several individuals from the audience asked questions near the end of the meeting and expressed concerns over issues including: neighborhood problems; the needs of children in underserved areas of the capital city; and support for the Topeka Police Department.

Before attendees were allowed to ask questions, several police officials -- including Chief Bill Cochran -- and community members made presentations.

In addition to audience members, approximately 15 police and city officials were in attendance.

Attendance at both meetings was limited to 30 people because of COVID-19. All attendees were required to wear their own face masks.

Wednesday night's meeting attracted a capacity crowd of 30 people, police officials said. 

Both meetings were carried live on Cox Communications Channel 4 and the city’s Facebook page.

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