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Police and Community Committee meets to discuss use of force within the Topeka Police Department

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 7:15 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Topeka City Council’s Police and Community Committee met Monday to discuss the use of force within the Topeka Police Department (TPD).

The committee discussed items regarding several of TPD’s policies including the definition of use of force, standard interaction and bias profiling, escalation and de-escalation tactics and an officer’s duty to intervene.

District 1 Councilwoman Karen Hiller said examining TPD’s standards could improve its relationship with the public.

“There are many crossover issues whether it’s process, policy, what the chain of command is, whether there’s profiling and if so, how and is it recorded or is it not?” she said.

She said she wants to do the public justice when they raise concerns.

“Look at the policy, look at the claims, that have been made look at the facts around a situation and determine whether there are some recommendations that we suggest to the council or to the Chief,” she said.

"I’ve had a lot of experience with how law enforcement actually interfaces with folks there are good people but there have been some issues and when anybody from the public raises an issue it deserves our attention and we owe it to the integrity of the city and to the public to do that problem solving. "

District 5 Councilman Mike Padilla, a former officer himself, said to look at changes in a gradual way and to think of progress made throughout the years.

“It’s been generations and decades to get us to where we are now I think people expect that changes be made immediately and quickly that just doesn’t happen because change for change sake isn’t long-lasting unless it’s well thought out change,” he said.

Padilla said improving relations is a team effort.

“When I say ‘we’ can make improvements, I don’t mean just the police department, I think it’s the responsibility of the community as well to say that they have a responsibility, they have the ability to make change and those are the things I hope dialogue will present for us,” he said.

"It’s not just a one-sided review, it’s not just one-sided change, it has to be a holistic change community policing doesn’t work unless the community works with the police. "

The committee will meet again on November 9 at 3 pm to further discuss the topic.

Members of the public can send any questions they have for the committee to etoyne@topeka.org.

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