In cooperation with Mayor Larry Wolgast and City Councilmembers, City Manager Jim Colson is announcing a pilot program to address the needs and concerns of neighborhoods.
Effective September 30, Captain Darin Scott, an executive on loan from the Topeka Police Department, will serve as assistant to the City Manager for Neighborhood Relations. His duties will include overseeing neighborhood relations efforts citywide, with specific emphasis on improving efficiencies in Housing and Neighborhood Development and Code Enforcement. The pilot program is designed to provide more effective direct communication between residents, neighborhoods and city staff; increase coordination between city departments; and engage public and private resources to make measureable difference in our neighborhoods.
“Darin Scott has a unique combination of well-developed management skills and an outgoing personality that will allow him to successfully navigate the wide-ranging requirements associated with this position,” Colson said. “He has the ability to work with City departments, neighborhoods and other entities to ensure that we deliver a high level of service to our constituents by increasing access to City Hall, enhancing communication, removing redundancy and bureaucracy, and identifying volunteer resources to support continued neighborhood improvements.”
The 12- to 18-month pilot phase was created enhance the quality of life in Topeka’s neighborhoods overall. Identified areas of concern include:
Feeling safe and secure at home and in Topeka neighborhoods
- Maintaining property values through effective code compliance, creative maintenance, and enhancement programming and effective public/private partnerships
- Having equal access to economic opportunity
“I believe this is a timely opportunity to transcend traditional ideals on how neighborhood concerns and issues have been addressed within the City structure,” Scott said. “My training and experience gives me unique insight into why situations and frustrations occur. I have worked extensively with the community over these many years developing relationships. With the help of our citizens and City departments we will keep improving.”
Scott has served with the police department for 25 years, most recently overseeing professional standards. He is nationally certified in crisis negotiations, and served as a negotiator until he was promoted to Captain in 2008. From 2001 through 2005, Scott served as Crime Prevention Sergeant, which included working directly with NAs, NIAs, community groups, and businesses. Scott was also in charge of School Resource Officers and initiated the use of the Gangs Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) curriculum in the middle schools.
Launching this initiative as a pilot will give the City trial time to evaluate effectiveness before making any permanent changes within the organization, and without spending any additional money. Scott’s reassignment from the police department means no added cost for 2013 or 2014. His duties within the department will be absorbed internally.