Shawnee County Commissioners look to make changes due to public safety concerns

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 6:17 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Two resolutions concerning camping and leash laws were presented Thursday morning for their first readings.

The first deals with camping on county property and what is and is not acceptable.

Shawnee County Counselor, Jim Crowl, said if passed, the county will provide a seven day notice to anyone who is caught storing personal property on county property.

However, he stressed that court rulings are specific about criminalizing acts such as sleeping and eating in places like parks, during park hours.

“I think it is part of the larger issue,” said Crowl. “I think that what I want to stress through this resolution is this is a very narrow resolution to give our staff and law enforcement additional tools to address specific issues.”

The second proposed resolution would require all dogs to be on leashes on county property, except in designated areas such as a bark park.

A local bicycle club recently declared a local trail to be unsafe, in part because of previous dog attacks.

Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Director, Tim Laurent, said it is important that people understand the rules.

“We want to remind folks that when you get to the park and you are going into the dog park that it is important that you have your dog on a leash as you enter the park,” said Laurent.

Shawnee County Commissioner, Kevin Cook, said that everyone’s safety is key.

“We also don’t want you to be outside of our rules and again, we want the rules are well known so everybody is able to follow the rules,” said Cook.

Shawnee County Commissioners will reconvene Thursday, August 24 to further discuss the two resolutions.