Transparency and trust on the mind of new Independent Police Auditor

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The City of Topeka will soon have its first independent police auditor on the job.

The City Manager announced Ed Collazo's hiring Tuesday.

Collazo has a history as a member of the military, a police officer and a defense attorney.

Those are just a few of the hats he felt made him a great fit to be a liaison between the public and the police department.

He said the position is about building trust between police and citizens.

"Inevitably, when you have thousands of contacts between law enforcement and the community, there's going to be some folks who are not going to be happy and they're going to complain,” Collazo said. “When those complaints are filed and launched, for an independent set of eyes to review that, in addition to internal eyes from the police department, that shows that there is more credibility to the process."

Given his background. Collazo believes in transparency and said a level of trust is needed from the community.

"Trust in your government that the city leaders are doing the right thing,” Collazo said. “I'll have full access to review any media or any reports or anything i need to review in order to make a recommendation to the city manager."

City Manager Brent Trout said Collazo's being bilingual is an added bonus for the new role.

Collazo agrees.

“The purpose of this position is for when a person, a citizen, has a complaint about a police office, they can communicate with me and I can talk to them about that complaint,” Collazo said in Spanish. “I am not directly affiliated with the police. I will be an independent person who will report to the City Manager away from the police department.”

Collazo is scheduled to start his new role on October 21st and he will be scheduling opportunities to introduce himself to the community and to law enforcement.